Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thursday Trivia - a day early

As Chanukah begins tonight - the first time it's landed this early since 1888! - we decided to swap days and offer up a special Chanukah Trivia:

The origin of the tradition of latkes

It might surprise very few to hear that latkes weren't eaten at the first Chanukah celebration. But it may surprise you to hear how youthful the tradition is!

Photo: Lynn Gardner via Creative Commons
We actually have Catherine the Great to thank for these yummy fried treasures. Catherine...and a famine.

Back in 1825, food was so scarce in Russia that she ordered farmers to plant potatoes instead of grains.

This was because potatoes could withstand harsher winters, had greater nutritional value and higher yields.

The farmers initially weren't very happy with this decree, as potatoes didn't have a terribly good reputation at the time.

According to Carol Green Ungar, the first potatoes to be planted in Europe were watery and bitter. But of course, when your ruler tells you to plant plant potatoes!

By 1850, the potato was firmly entrenched in the diets of all Russians - and ubiquitous enough to make their way into a Yiddish children's song: "Monday, potatoes; Tuesday, potatoes; Wednesday, potatoes... Shabbos, potato kugel!"

So it was a natural progression for these golden tubers to find their way into holiday celebrations. By the time the first American Jewish cookbook was published in 1889, they were here to stay.

And now you know: Chanukah: 2,178 years old. The latke: a youthful 163!

Chag Orim Sameach - Happy Festival of Lights!


Yiddish Potato Folk Song
"The Little Known Story Behind the Latke," by Carol Green Ungar. Jewish Action, Winter 5774. Page 60.

Gratuitous shot of our latest accomplishment: Chocolate Dreidels - YUM!


  1. Happy Hannukah to you. We hope it is a good one and Happy Thanksgiving too if we don't see you tomorrow. Hope all your preparations are going well.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Happy Hannukah and Happy Thanksgiving! Those chocolate dreidels are too cute. And who doesn't love a latke?

  3. The peep says that latkes are yummy! I have so gotta try 'em.

    HAPPY HANNUKAH to everyone in your home and HAPPY THANKSGIVING, too.


  4. OMC, the chocolate dreidels are adorable! Happy Hanukkah!

  5. What a fun celebration filled weekend! I hope you have a wonderful time and get your fill of Latkes..

  6. My human loves latkes, although she has not had them in years. Happy Chanukah to you kitties, and humans!

  7. Mmmmm ... latkes. And your choco-dreidels are awesome. :)

    Wishing you a happy Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, dear friends.

    Chag orim sameach!

  8. Mom loves latkes! I hope all of you and your entire family have a pawsome Chanukah. I'm so happy and thankful to have you as friends.

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  9. chocolate dreidels = YUMM!! They do look so good. I have never actually had a latke.

  10. How about a recipe for those delicious looking latkes. Our dad's Jewish family used to fix rice and roasted potatoes as one dish. We are sure there's someway to make that tasty, but Mom says that it never was. She's glad that is a tradition he has not insisted on. Happy Chanukah and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  11. We are with Kitties Blue's..where'z the recipe'z..Have a super Chanukah.. Big hugs xxoxxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  12. Happy Chanukah and Happy Thanksgiving to you! Love the Chanukah picture with the kitties and theese latkes look so delish!

  13. chocolate dreidels…yummy! Happy 2,178th Chanukah. I annied in the Czech Republic and traveled in Europe and have had latke.
    My WW entry is #95. Come by and vote for us?

  14. Happy Chanukah! Mommy loves anything potato. ;)


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