Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The Latke Lady
She Who Must Be Obeyed whips up a batch of her fabulous potato latkes while a pot of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo simmers on the back burner of Darth Stover.

Leave it to the Elisson clan to come up with bizarre holiday menus.

Last night we had friends over for dinner, providing She Who Must Be Obeyed an opportunity to introduce them to the wonderful world of potato latkes, a dish that they had never tried previously.

Personally, I think it’s tragic that someone can walk the planet for some forty-odd years without ever tasting the savory, crispy goodness of a properly prepared potato pancake. But who knows? Perhaps somewhere in Pennsylvania Dutch country, there is a morose Mennonite lamenting my never having tasted scrapple. (Feh.)

There is nothing unusual or weird about us having latkes this time of year. Owing to their being fried in oil, they are a traditional Chanukah food. (Ya gotta love a holiday that encourages the eating of fried dishes - latkes, doughnuts, et alia - because everyone knows that everything tastes better fried.) But the main course - gumbo - was decidedly not a Jewish holiday tradition.

Yes, gumbo.

I loves me some gumbo, especially on a cold winter night. Okay, even though last night was not technically winter - the solstice is today - and the temperature was unseasonably close to 70°F, I still felt the stirring of my Gumbo Jones. There’s something about the aroma of a pot of gumbo on the stove that makes me want to put some Professor Longhair and Dr. John on the box and mix up a brace of Sazeracs.

Being that it was a Jewish holiday meal, I decided to avoid using any obvious treif in the gumbo - shrimp, crawfish, although tasty, are proscribed by the Laws of Moses and avoided by the observant - and instead built it upon a base of chicken andouille sausage and drumsticks. To accompany it, I prepared a somewhat nontraditional brown rice, and for lagniappe, dirty rice with minced chicken hearts and gizzards.

SWMBO’s latkes were as good as ever. Maybe better than ever. Crisp and potatoey, with just the right amount of onion and garlic, there’s no finer introduction to the planet of potato pancakes. Our friends are now officially spoiled: Any other latke they eat will be a bitter disappointment by comparison.

Gumbo, gizzards, and a flock of latkes! Typical Chanukah fare - not.

But, dayum, was it tasty.


InsomniacSeeker said...

This former Mennonite in Oklahoma has never even heard of scrapple. Looked it up online and wasn't impressed to run right and get some or make it. I haven't had Latkes either. I think I am more apt to have the latkes than the scrapple.


Amy (Minimally Invasive) said...

As a Cajun Mennonite with a Jewish husband, I have to say that menu sounds perfect to me. (And I know it's a small sample set, but who knew you had so many Mennonite readers?) Wishing you all the best in the new year!