Did you know that latkes were originally made with cheese? Legend has it that in the 16th century, a young widow, Judith, fed the Assyrian general Holofernes salty cheese latkes so he would thirst for more wine and become intoxicated. It worked and she beheaded him in his stupor, which allowed the Jews to defeat the leaderless Assyrians. It wasn't until the mid-19th century when potatoes began to be farmed that latkes were made from potatoes. However, the most important element is the oil that is used to fry the latkes, which symbolizes the holiday miracle in which one day's worth of oil illuminated the Holy Temple for eight days when the Jews recaptured it in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.
"Latke" is the Jewish name for potato pancake and other cultures and countries have their own versions of this traditional favorite. Latkes are crispy classics that have not only stood the test of time but have become popular year round in different flavors and sizes. Maybe the latke is becoming the new bagel?!
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