Friday, 7 December 2012

Tis The Season of Thankschrismakah

I love this time of the year. I enjoy crisp, fresh wintery days. I love the lights and the crowds shopping for holidays gifts, mostly with smiling faces. I can't wait for the family to be all together, eating, drinking, opening masses of presents and playing lots of games. I especially love winning those games. As I tell my kids, I am a good loser, but I am an even better winner.

This is my second marriage, so I have what some may call a blended family.  Mr Yummy celebrates Christmas and I celebrate Chanukah.  I also celebrate Thanksgiving, we all do now! Thanksgiving is a holiday having nothing to do with religion, just a celebration with family, good friends and lots of food. A feast in every sense of the word.  Every year on the last Saturday of November, I make a Thanksgiving to remember. Even though Thanksgiving is really on the last Thursday of November, we do it on Saturday, allowing everyone to enjoy themselves to the max and not having to work the next day. This year we had 21 adults and 3 little ones and after an intervention from my girls, I was organised enough to sit down and eat when everyone else did!  It was perfect! I love Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2012 Yummy Yank Style

Before Mr. Yummy, I never had a Christmas tree except for one at my father's pharmacy.  I loved decorating that tree. When my girls were young, we never had a tree either, but every Christmas Eve, we went Christmas viewing to see the incredible decorations in various areas around Baltimore. We also went carolling with good friends every year around their neighbourhood, ending up at their house having eggnog and cookies. Such magical times.

Mr Yummy and his girls aren't religious but they love the magic of Christmas, so we now have a tree and stockings and the sparkle that goes along with it. I admit I go overboard, but we have so much fun. I love a big, full tree and enjoy going to the nursery to pick out a tall and perfect one. The smell of a live tree brings with it the vision of warm fires and happy faces.  I can't wait to pick out this year's tree, if I ever have a day off  to do it.  It signifies the continuation to the mayhem that is Thankschrismakah in our home.

And so it begins!

But before Christmas this year, it's Chanukah. This year, we light the first candle on the menorah (a candlelabra) tomorrow evening. Chanukah isn't a religious holiday, it is a festival to celebrate the miracle of light. A celebration back in the days of the Maccabees where the oil burned in the temple for eight days when there was only supposed to be enough to burn for one. We light a candle for each of those 8 days and give a gift on each of those days as well. However, since the family are spread out, we do it over the Christmas break when everyone is off of work. It takes a full day to go through the ritual of stockings and gifts.

It's customary to eat something fried in oil over Chanukah. Some make donuts, some make potato latkes, also known as potato pancakes. I do the latter.  In fact, I made my latkes today because my youngest daughter wanted my recipe. Actually, it's my father's recipe. Nobody made latkes like him! He is one of the namesakes of The Yummy Yank. My dad's nickname was Yummy! And his latkes are just that!  I made the latkes today because I don't measure my ingredients and in order to give my daughter a proper recipe, I had to make them, measuring everything out. I then had to eat them because they are delicious and they bring back such happy memories with my wonderful father!

Here is the recipe. You don't need to be Jewish to enjoy these.  They can be eaten on their own or even with a roast dinner. Enjoy!

Potato Latkes

Makes 6 large latkes.

Pour a large amount of vegetable oil into a deep sided pan, these need to be deep fried. Preheat the oil over medium heat.

3 large baking potatoes
2 eggs (in photo, it looks like 3, one had double yolk)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 Tablespoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoon salt

Grate the potatoes by hand on the smallest holes of the grater. A food processor just doesn't work as well.

Add eggs and mix well. Add flour, pepper and salt. It may seem like a lot of salt, but potatoes soak up salt and they need it.

Test the oil by dropping a small drop of water in the oil. If it bubbles, it is ready.

Drop by very large spoonfuls, adding another spoonful of mixture on top of the first, into the hot oil.  Fry until they puff and turn golden brown. Flip the latke and do the same on the other side. They will become golden and crispy. Don't rush this step, it they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

When completed, drain the latkes on paper towels, plate up and serve with soured cream and/or applesauce.  So delicious!  Enjoy!

Happy Everything Everybody! You all have made my 2012 an absolute blast and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As always, thanks for reading and y'all have a nice day!

Lisa aka The Yummy Yank

1 comment:

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