📷 MICHAEL D. WILSON
A WHOLE LATKE LOVE
Without a local Hanukkah celebration in Gardiner for her young family to enjoy, Susan Montell decided to start one. “The synagogue in Augusta is a short drive, but I wanted something right here that I could take my kids to,” she recalled recently, whipping up latkes in her kitchen. Now, she’s organizing a community latke party for the 10th consecutive year, this time at Two Gramps Brewing, where kitchen staff will probably plate a couple hundred potato pancakes. As many gentiles as Jews turn out, because latkes are irresistible. “My mother wasn’t a big eater,” Montell said, “but for latkes she had a truck driver’s appetite.” Before Montell’s son, Aaron, started at UMaine Farmington this fall, she made a big batch to send him off. “I’ve had ones that have the wrong consistency or ones where the flavor isn’t quite right,” Aaron said. “I like them like these, thin and crispy, so you can eat a lot of them.”
Dec. 2, 12–7 p.m. 266 Water St., Gardiner.
SUSAN MONTELL'S LATKE RECIPE
YIELD: About 3 dozen latkes
5 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
2 teaspoons potato starch
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
olive or canola oil
1 dash love (it makes all the difference)
Grate potatoes using a box grater or kitchen mandolin (grating fine produces a smooth pancake, and grating coarse produces a pancake with more texture — when grating coarse, be sure to drain excess liquid). Mix grated potatoes with eggs, potato starch, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-low heat. Fry latkes in batches, until golden brown, and serve hot. Top with sour cream (with or without freshly chopped scallions) or homemade applesauce.