Saturday, December 17, 2011
When I was a youngster growing up in the depression era Chanukah was celebrated with special foods, not gifts.

What I remember about the holiday was the lighting of the Menorah and the delicious potato latkes my mother made. In my adult life I have tried, time after to time to make potato latkes like she did but have never been successful. I gave up trying a few years ago!!

I think I finally figured out her secret!

Use a lot of oil in the fry pan.

Here's my recipe for Potato Latkes:
Millie's Potato Latkes
6 Russet potatoes
1 onion
2 eggs, beaten

1/4 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp flour or matzo meal

lemon juice

Peanut oil for frying

Peel and grate potatoes (I use the food processor) saves the fingers.

Pour off some of the water. Grate in the onion. Add beaten eggs and remaining ingredients. Add a little lemon juice to keep the potatoes from turning black.

Drop by tablespoon onto a preheated frying pan with about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan.

Turn and brown each side.

The secret of making latkes in advance is to fry them and remove them onto paper towels to drain, just for a few seconds. I then place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them.

When ready to serve, defrost the latkes, set oven at 400 degrees and heat until hot.

Serve immediately to the anxious guests.
Over the years the observation of the holiday has become a combination of a family dinner and gift giving.

I would have the family over for dinner and we would exchange gifts. Each person would give and get eight gifts for each night of Chanukah!!

As soon as the holiday was over I would start thinking about next year and keep my eyes open for some unusual gifts, some funny, or some practical.

The goal was to keep the cost down and at the same time give something that the recipient would enjoy.

Once I started wrapping the gifts I had another goal in mind. How could I wrap the gift up so that my son Steve could not guess what was in the package!! He was darn good at guessing!!! In all the years that we "played that game" I can only think of one hilarious time that he could not guess what the gift was, it was fireworks!!

We don't celebrate the holiday the way we used to but Steve and Carol still surprise me with some wonderful and thoughtful gifts - and mother tries to guess what's in the package!!!!!

Steve and Carol were here last week and I had the best time with them, and had the best time trying to guess what was in the package. I came close but "no cigar."

I guessed "a calender."

Yes, right!! but what kind of calender?

@milliegarfield and her Mad Men 2012 Calendar

MAD MEN 2012. It's hanging in my kitchen right now.

I guessed "a book."

Yes, right!! but kind of book?

@milliegarfield with the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

THE UNOFFICIAL MAD MEN COOKBOOK. Each recipe comes from a specific season and episode.

It's really interesting to read about the episode and what was served at the time.

I guessed "a bottle."

Yes, right!! but what was in it?

A bottle of gin for my gin and raisin arthritis remedy.

I guessed "something soft"

Yes, right!! but what was it?

@milliegarfield and her scarf from India

A beautiful fringed scarf from India. Carol had recently returned from a trip to India!!

We all had the greatest time. And as far as the latkes go - we went out and had them at a restaurant.

Kasha Varnishkas, Salmon Croquettes and Potato Pancakes at 3 G's
Image: Kasha Varnishkas, Salmon Croquettes and Potato Pancakes at 3 G's

That's the way it is today!!

Here are two bonus videos from 2008:

Steve Wrapping Gifts

Millie Unwrapping Gifts

Looks like you had a happy Hanukkah! You also made me hungry.
Happy Chanukah Millie!!!! I love latkes!!!!!
Hi Millie, it's because of you talking about it that I got into Mad Men. Really looking forward to the new series in 2012
I think you're a good guesser!!

We went to a new deli tonight and mr. kenju had matzo ball soup, and I had pastrami on rye. Next time, I'm having the soup too!!

Happy Chanukkah!

If you get to that deli again - order a HOT pastrami sandwich. Delicious!!
Looks like you had a blast. And, I can tell you like those Mad Men. Dianne
Hi Millie, Glad you are having a nice Hanukah and are enjoying your time in Florida. Mark L
A happy Hanukkah wish to you. I share your fun in watching "Mad Men" -- the first year's episodes remind me of the TV world I worked in at that time -- crazy.
You always make me hungry when you share about the food. The food that my Jewish soninlaws mother
brought me when I lived in the big city. Now everyone tells me - you moved to the country - so this food not near :)
am encouraged by your blog because i am thinking that i will have to downsize in the near future from the home that I designed and moved into in 1976 when I was in my 40's, single, independent, and gainfully employed with an interesting career. I will miss my home but hopefully I will "start anew", meet new friends and be happy and enjoy the years that are yet to come.
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