Kneads and Cravings: Popping potato pancakes

Let’s talk about potatoes, the greatest starch to bless a table since the dawn of time. While potatoes aren’t much to look at, they are capable of culinary greatness and certainly please picky eaters everywhere.

I’ll be honest, I don’t trust people who don’t like potatoes. The humble potato can be served in such a variety of ways, appearing in any meal at any time of day. Hash browns at breakfast, potato soup at lunch, chips for snacking and, of course, as gnocchi for dinner. We mash, fry, grate, boil, purée, bake and roast spuds for any and all occasions. With winter just around the corner, mashed potatoes will soon be gracing plates up and down the coast as a hearty side dish.

In a recent attempt to combat the November chill (I’m not one for the cold, at this point in the year I’m essentially a walking bundle of sweaters and blankets), I gave my grandmother a ring to get her recipe for potato pancakes/latkes. Grandma’s recipe is nice and simple and something that even the laziest cooks can easily make. Go forth and bask in the starchy joy of these pancakes.

Grandma’s Potato Pancakes/Latkes

5 pounds of potatoes

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 onion (optional)

milk (enough to thin)


vegetable oil

Wash and peel the potatoes before grating them. Drain the excess moisture from the potatoes and place in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Mix the potatoes with the egg, flour and onion (optional). Add milk as needed to thin out the mixture. Scoop spoonfuls of the mix into a frying pan with oil until crispy. Remove the pancake and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve the pancakes with applesauce or sour cream.