The varieties of latke in today's food scene are as numerous as the people who eat them with variations inspired by the Jewish Diaspora (traditional Sephardic influences) and more recently, the emergence of the Brooklyn food culture blending tradition with contemporary interpretations.
Rich in tradition, memories and taste, the beloved potato latke is certainly cherished. This year, as Hanukkah nears, I challenge you to dig a bit deeper and explore the vibrant underworld of the potato's fellow subterranean dweller: the root vegetable.
It became very clear, very early on, that my friends had a way better gig going, holiday-wise, than the Zevin boys did. But now that I've evolved into a mature adult, I am pleased to report that December is no longer the cruelest month.
The very best latkes that I have ever had are the sweet potato latkes by the famous Brass Sisters from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is their grammas' recipe and they pronounce them LOT-keys, as did their Russian and Polish grandmothers.
The absolute most perfect use of potatoes is to turn them into potato pancakes, which have crunchy mahogany edges, crispy golden midsections, and tender, rich, meaty interiors. They are hash browns on steroids.