Disclosure: I’m a paid public relations consultant for my work with Entrée to Judaism for Families, but I was not compensated for this post. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ask any adult what their favorite holiday memory is and odds are they’ll mention something about Grandma Eleanor’s cranberry relish, Aunt Jo Jo’s cornbread stuffing, Bubbie’s potato latkes or Mom’s noodle kugel. Food is our history, our heritage and we look to it for comfort, for connection and for family. Food memories begin when we’re small-in kitchen and around the table-and they are passed on from generation to generation.
When the opportunity to work on the publicity for Entrée to Judaism for Families: Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children, arose, I jumped at the chance. Why? Not only is author Tina Wasserman one of the foremost authorities on Jewish cooking and Jewish food history, but because this book is truly an intergenerational cookbook with tips on how to teach cooking and Jewish history to kids through whimsical story telling. And, it uses recipes and ingredients that are realistic for children (and for those who want to learn to cook better) all while incorporating smart accessories like Tina’s Tidbits and Kitchen Conversations. Both serve easy ways to enhance the history, nutrition and culinary chatter with kids.
What I really love most about this book is the interactive digital cookbook option. On the site, if you click on the green word for WHISK , up pops a photo of assorted whisks. Kids can then be directed to find the utensil in the kitchen drawer=child development skills at work. Click on the red word for GREASING a pan and up pops a minute long video on how to pull back the paper halfway on a stick of butter to grease the pan. Over 40 utensil photos and 30 videos accompany the beautiful full-color photos of the food in this book. Kitchen terminology training even in the back seat of a car on a digital device! And there you have it-old traditions mixed with new. And you don’t have to be Jewish to teach...or to be taught.
Sweet Potato and Carrot Latkes
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
½ pound carrots, peeled
1 small onion, cut into eighths
1 large clove garlic, cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
15 grindings of black pepper
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon dried oregano, or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil-or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 large eggs
¼ to 1/3 cup teff or ground flaxseed
Canola or peanut oil for frying
Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream for garnish-optional
1. Cut the sweet potatoes and carrots into 1 ½ inch chunks and grate them using the fine grating disk on a processor or using the larger holes on a hand grater. Set aside.
2. Place onion and garlic pieces in a processor workbowl with the metal blade. Pulse the machine on and off until the onions are finely chopped. Return ½ of the potato/carrot mixture to the processor workbowl and pulse on and off about 5 times to combine the ingredients. Empty mixture into a 3 quart bowl. (NOTE: if you don’t have a processor, grate the onion and chop some of the potato carrot mixture into a fine chop.)
3. Add the spices and the eggs and ¼ cup of the teff or ground flaxseed to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add a little more grain if mixture seems too loose and watery. Do not make the mixture too firm or finished product will be dry and heavy.
4. Heat a large skillet or griddle for 20 seconds. Add enough oil to totally cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil for 10 seconds.
5. Each time before you scoop up some of the mixture, mix contents of bowl. Drop 2 tablespoons of potato/carrots into the hot pan. Repeat with more mixture to fill pan but do not over crowd.
6. When bottoms of pancakes are golden, gently turn them over using two slotted spatulas. When golden on the second side remove to a plate that is covered with crumpled paper towels.
7. Proceed with the remaining mixture.
8. Serve plain or with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.