Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Time is Not for Dieting

Dieters and health fanatics, beware. This is not a post for you.

An acquaintance passed on to me what she felt was a fantastic new recipe: Fat Free Potato Latkes.

If you know that Hanukkah is about celebrating the miracle of sacred oil, which was to last only a day but lasted for eight days and kept the temple’s sacred light glowing, you would not be cheering fat-free. I pointed to her that the holiday is not a celebration of the potato.

“But fat-free is so healthy,” she said.

What’s health got to do with it? This is where the health-nuts will leave me, I know.

Because The Miracle of the Oil (not the Miracle of the Potato, which could make an interesting holiday) is nourishment of the spirit, and fat-free, forgive me, isn’t.

Imagine Thanksgiving without stuffing. Then you’ll get the gist of this holiday robbing Grinch who’s roaming around to steal the meat of celebrations.

Celebrating is not fasting, and it isn’t dieting. That we can do during times of penance, and every great tradition has those.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should eat eighty-three latkes, full fat with sour cream on the side. (I might, though I’ve not committed to it yet.) But spare me your fat-free and let go of my Latkes, yearning to breath free.

Here’s the recipe I use, something I got from my mother who got it from hers. Enjoy!

Full-fat Latkes

4 cups grated, drained (squeeze hard and then squeeze some more) potatoes

I cup grated drained onion
3 eggs, beaten

½ cup matzo meal (I prefer to use breadcrumbs, but I’m not supposed to say it)
1 t. salt

½ t. pepper

Mix all the above. Shape with your hand about half cup of mixture at a time, and fry in LOTS* of good vegetable oil.

*Lots and lots = at least half an inch deep

My friend’s kids endorse them in South Korea. Go Latkes!


  1. I love your post and your enthusiasm and your knowing what celebrations are all about! Amen!

  2. And the thing is, we'll probably be satisfied more quickly with real holiday food than we would be with "diet" versions and we'll eat less anyway! :)

  3. So true! I'm so tired of the way the world is trying to demonize celebrating with food. Bring on the latkes!

  4. Amen! It is the miracle of the OIL! A very blessed Hannukah to you and yours.

  5. It's like fat free pie or sugar free cookies-- blechh!

  6. Enjoy your latkes fried in plenty of oil, Mirka! Hopefully, we can make some again this weekend! Happy Hanukkah! Cute kids!!

  7. LATKES! hahaha fat-free latkes is like saying sugar-free fruit. Your friend is a little behind on the times if she still believes the now completely unsupported idea that fat-free is the way to be if health is your goal. And yeah, how does one celebrate the miracle of the oil without oil?

    Happy Hanukkah!

  8. I try to eat healthy, but that goes out the window during the holidays. Someone mentioned sweet potato and apple latkes on FB the other day--I'll have to test them out!

  9. I've never had Latkes, but I'm all for full-fat, full-sugar, full-flavor celebrating. Happy Hanukkah, Mirka!

  10. Those latkes are making my mouth water! I love the the Hanukkah story and I think we'll be frying up a batch of those at our house. Thanks for the recipe and the reminder that it's okay to celebrate and not feel guilty. =)