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Things in Common

For several years when our boys were little we celebrated Hanukah with a family in our neighborhood. One year we'd be at their house and the next year they'd be at ours. We had a lot of things in common. Their son from his first marriage was a friend of Ben's. They bonded together in second grade. They were also a mixed marriage. The wives were Jewish, the husbands were not. So it was the women who kept the traditions.

 One year she brought the Hanukah Latkes to our house and with the first bite, I knew these were the best Latkes I had ever tasted. I had experienced my mother's, the making of which caused her knuckles to bleed from all the hand grating. That my friend's recipe called for making them with a Cuisinart and suggested they could be made ahead and reheated later made me like them all the more. With that I got her to promise to write out the recipe for me.

 I still have the recipe card with her printing on it. But alas our friendship has gone by the wayside. I suspect they thought that we were to old for them and their circle of friends. And though our sons roomed together for a time during college, they too are now out of touch.

Unfortunately we have another thing in common. Both of our families suffered the loss of a son. I had hoped that our mutual grief would bring us back together, but that didn't happen. I make those delicious Latkes year after year and always get raves from family and friends. And I think of those long-gone friends with every bite.

Here's the recipe (Gourmet Magazine):

Lacy Potato Pancakes

2 large eggs

1/3 cup beer

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon Salt

Fresh pepper to taste

1 onion halved lengthwise and sliced thin

2 large russet (baking) potatoes (1-1/4 lb) peeled

Vegetable oil for frying

1.     In large bowl whisk together eggs, beer, flour, salt and pepper. Add onion

2.     Julienne potatoes in Cuisinart (use grating blade)

3.     Drain potatoes well. Add to batter and toss well to combine

4.     Heat ½ inch oil in heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Working over the bowl, form a handful of the mixture into a loose patty and add it to the oil

5.     Fry in batches, turning them once until they are golden (4-5 min.) and drain on paper towels

6.     May be made in advance and reheated on cookie sheet. 350 deg for 10-15 min or until hot

Makes 12 pancakes serving 4-6 people

Prep time: 45 minutes