When I was a kid my parents would have an annual Chanukah party. It started off as mostly old friends from graduate school and the civil rights movement and couples really were Jewish. There were many parts of the party. Gifts for the kids, which consisted of Gelt, and then "bubbles". Bubbles were made from some kind of petroleum product. It was a goo that you put on the end of a tube and blew up into balloon-like objects. The fumes were something and they definitely gave you a nasty high. There was also my father's telling of the Chanukah story, which was always related to some progressive cause of the day.

Then came the food. It was pseudo pot-luck, my uncle Steve would bring a huge bottle of Grand Marnier, Lois-ann would bring chocolate covered cornflakes and jello salad. My parents would serve brisket. But the star of the show was my grandmother's recipe for Latkes

This party always seemed to be large and as years went by it got so big that it could no longer be in my parents' house and about 15 years ago they had the ultimate one and it ended.

In college my housemates and I used to make some version of Latkes occasionally, but after my parents party ended I started to try to make them every year. Now we have our own much smaller party. No couple consists of two Jews, although most but not all have at least one. We keep it much simpler, we serve only Latkes and Rugelach.

As a kid the grating of the potatoes and onions was an incredible chore. The potatoes were grated by hand on a wire mesh grater, that gave them a certain texture and also involved a fair amount of human blood. Grating the onions was even more onerous, for it involved both blood and tears.

A food processor will save you at least the blood, but the technique is important to reproduce the texture of the wire grater. You want the potatoes small, but in bits, not mush. I use a two step process. First peel the potatoes and grate them with the disk with small holes. This will give you long strings. After you finish with that, then use the metal blade. Work in small batches and pulse the blade until the potatoes are in bits but not mush. Set aside.

Peel the onions and chop them coarsely with a knife. The onions don't need the texture of the potatoes, so they can all just be done with the metal blade to a fine texture of not quite mush.

Mix potatoes and onions together. I use the crisper drawer from the refrigerator to hold the batter. Add the salt, flour, and eggs. Heat peanut oil in a frying pan and test the batter, if it doesn't hold together well add more eggs and flour.

This year for 10 people I used 10 pounds of potatoes and 9 pounds of onions

The potatoes after 2 gratings

The potatoes after 2 gratings

The onions ready for the food
				   processor

The onions ready for the food processor

Juggling 3 pans

Fry in peanut or canola oil. Do not crowd.

Fannie Droppkin Levin's Latkes