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Latke chefs cook up some tradition

Congregation holds potato pancake contest

Posted: December 28, 2008 8:12 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2008 4:55 a.m.

David Gold shows off his spatula trophy for the best latke at the Latke Throwdown at Congregation Beth Shalom Sunday.

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Are you a flour chef or a matzo meal chef?

It was Valencia resident David Gold - the traditional matzo meal chef - who made the tastiest potato pancakes Sunday at Congregation Beth Shalom's Latke Throwdown.

Dozens of latke sizzled on the grills as the sun set on the eighth and final day of Hanukkah.

"There's some fierce competition," said Arleen Gold, who served on the panel of judges.

"That girl over there is serious. She brought a sous chef," said Gary Jacobs, a member of the Board of Trustees.

"We figured it's a good way to cap off the holiday," Jacobs said.

A latke, served with sour cream or apple sauce, is a traditional Hanukkah treat, Jacobs said.

Some of the chefs stirred together traditional ingredients that include matzo meal and onion. Others used flour or tossed some vegetables into the mix.

Canyon Country resident Eylat Poliner used zucchini and sprinkled in some paprika.

"I thought outside the box," she said. "I didn't realize I was supposed to be traditional. Maybe next year I'll win."

Not all latke pancakes are alike, Arleen Gold said. And your taste buds might judge latke based on what they're used to, she said.

"I tasted my girlfriend's latke the other day and thought it was inedible," she said. "But she and her family loved it."

The Gold family used about 30 pounds of russet potatoes to make more than 100 latke cakes last week.

They're fun to make, but can be time-consuming if you peel all the potatoes by hand, she said.

"In the days before (food processors), there were bloody hands," Arleen Gold said.

Fourteen-year-old Ian Lipman, of Saugus, said David Gold's recipe was the best.

"It wasn't very crunchy," he said. "I don't like latkes when they're too crunchy."

He eats latke throughout Hanukkah every year, he said. And he never gets sick of it.

"It's always good," he said.

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