Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Food To Celebrate A Jewish Heritage

It is the time of year where I am cold and I want something comforting. We have been on a potato kick lately eating sweet, white, and yellow potatoes. Since white potatoes are on the Dirty Dozen list we buy them organic. If we can also get them from a local farmer, it is a major plus!

My Dad's side of the family is Jewish and while I was not raised religiously Jewish, I still consider it an important part of my heritage. I spent years trying to hide this because I went to an extremely bigoted school as a child. For many years, I cringed at the sound of my last name-
Newman. I was so afraid the kids in my school would find out and I would be teased like the other "different kids."

If you were not anglo or catholic white, you were made fun of. While I was picked on non-stop in middle school, I seemed to escaped the Jewish ribbing- probably because my classmates saw me in church each Sunday. It didn't stop with religion, it also went to race. This blog, however, is not to talk about the racist classmates I went to school with, but to point out that I am proud of my heritage. It was one of the reasons I kept my birth last name when I got married and why I named my blog Newman Improved.

One of the traditionally Jewish foods that I loved as a child was latkes and homemade applesauce. John and I don't celebrate Hanukkah, but thought it would be a nice way to honor the holiday season. I came across a post by Hannah at
BitterSweet and decided to try her recipe for latkes. Her recipe was for baked latkes and since we don't fry anything, we thought this was a much better option for a favorite comfort food.

Along with the latkes, we made homemade applesauce. We like to make foods like this from scratch because it is so much healthier and not processed! Unlike many store brands, we made ours without sugar and used organic apples. Here is my recipe.

  • 4 granny smith, organic apples
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • splash of lemon juice

Wash the apples. Peel two of the apples and leave the skin on the other two. Cut all of the apples into one inch cubes. Place the apples and remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce can be left as it is or mashed. We served the applesauce with the latkes and a side of sauteed kale.

Here is to celebrating and being proud of your heritage! I am proud to be an Italian and Jewish American!


Dilip said...

It looks good! I am sorry that you faced discrimination just being you. But it sounds like you put your positive attitude into it and ended up strong and proud! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

The applesauce and baked latkes look so good -- I can't wait to try them, myself! I especially love the smell of baking apples and cinnamon, in the winter. Also, so happy to see this baked version of a traditionally-fried dish (latkes). Thanks so much for your post! Lucy

Hannah said...

A perfect Hannukah feast! So glad you tried my latke recipe, hope you enjoyed them. :)

VeggieAmanda said...

Thanks, all!
Hannah- your recipe was awesome! We really loved the addition of ginger!