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Posted by on Dec 11, 2009 in Commentary | 5 comments

Inspiration behind the ‘Korean latkes’ video

Inspiration behind the ‘Korean latkes’ video

Today is the first anniversary of the posting of this video, and this year tonight is the start of the eight-day celebration of Chanukah. Because traditional foods for the celebration involve cooking or frying in oil, this time of year reminds me of potato pancakes.

I took some criticism on the YouTube comments section because I spent a couple of minutes (2:42 to be exact) discussing the history of Chanukah before starting the actual cooking portion of the video. I usually discuss the history of a particular dish before I make it. This video was no different than the prior or subsequent videos in that respect. I don’t remember viewers of my other videos asking, “Is this is a history video or a cooking video?”

This is the first — and only video so far — that doubled as a religious video. I used this video to fulfill the mitzvot (Hebrew for “instructions”) of pirsumei nisah, or “revealing or divulging the miracle” of Chanukah.

Rabbi Julian Sinclair said,

The central religious purpose of Hanukkah is to let as many people as possible know the miracles of the festival, the miracle of Jewish survival in general and the miracles of God’s hidden presence in the world.

A couple of the Jewish viewers let me know by e-mailed they appreciated being able to fulfill their Chanukah mitzvah (requirement) of recalling the history of the holiday and the miracles that occurred at that time.

The viewer will also notice the copious use of the hand grater. I grated the potatoes, the ginger and the onion by hand rather than using a food processor. There are Jewish grandmothers (and Korean grandmothers as well) who claim that the only authentic potato pancake is one made totally by hand, and they eschew food processors and other such modern shortcuts. In honor of them, I made mine the same way.

My mother-in-law asked me why hubby didn’t film a shot of my face while grating the onion. Well, I told her that onions (even so-called “mild” onions, like green onions or scallions) make me cry like a big baby. There’s a scientific explanation for the process, but let’s suffice it to say that I didn’t want to the whole world to see me crying and sniffling as though I had just lost my whole world.


  1. Tamar,<br />I think its a great video. I loved the history. Happy Hannukah to you.

  2. You are a woman after my own heart! I can not think of anything better than a Korean Latke!

  3. Thanks Shirley and Janice! There is one caveat to all this latke loving. 8 days of latkes can put 8 pounds on your hips and then you won&#39;t fit into your jeans until you work out for at least 8 weeks! LOL!

  4. A great video and I love your Korean version of Latkes! Will definitely be trying this week!

  5. Happy Hanukkah! We use the hand grater, too, and have the bloody knuckles to prove it. I love that you tell the story of Hanukkah in your video, especially (at least in my mind) since judaism and food are so closely connected. What&#39;s a Jewish holiday or get-together without food?!!

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