(Nate the) Great Potato Pancakes

110Truth:  when I was vacationing at the cottage last week, I did not remember that this week’s 4Mothers topic would revolve around books and recipes.  But by happy coincidence, the boys and I actually did exactly that.  Since reading and cooking are two major pastimes around here, I suppose it is not so very great a happenstance, but still, I’m impressed.

Before leaving for the cottage, we looked around at our wildly growing garden and pulled haphazardly at a few potato plants that were blocking the light for the cabbages.  We have a lot of potato plants – they seem to have reproduced themselves throughout the garden somehow from last year.   But gardeners of our ilk know well that plants doesn’t necessarily mean vegetables, so we were charged when we got a bowl full of red and white potatoes and threw these in the car.

We’ve been reading a bunch of Nate the Great books, which feature a boy detective whose detection powers sharpen when he’s fortified with pancakes.  At the end of one of these books (this one?), there were recipes for regular pancakes but also recipes for potato pancakes, and when we read that, my son asked that we make them.  I put it on my radar for “someday soon”, which quickly became “how about today?” with the extra time and space that cottage living seems to inspire.

I didn’t have Nate’s recipe with me, but there lives old The Joy of Cooking at the cottage.  At first I was disappointed to see nothing listed under latkes.  Luckily, my mind didn’t slip into neutral right away, and I realized that maybe this older book might simply call potato pancakes potato pancakes.  I flipped to P in the index, and lo! there was the recipe.

My five year old grated the pancakes, and watched me fry.  I didn’t stinge with the oil.  We had both sour cream and apple sauce for toppings.  I tripled the recipe for two adults and three boys (7, 5, and 2) –  there wasn’t a scrap left.  We don’t often fry with such abandon; this wasn’t an everyday lunch.  But it’s going to be a very popular choice for the fattening potatoes in the backyard.  So. Yummy.  (And easy too.)

Potato Pancakes (adapted from The Joy of Cooking (1964), inspired by Nate the Great)


2 cups grated potato (use a thin towel to extract as much moisture from the potato as possible (I used paper towel, all I had))

2 eggs

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp onion


Blend all ingredients well.  Pour  3 inch patties into 1/4 inch of hot cooking oil (I used sunflower oil).   Brown both sides.  Drain off excess fat.

Serve immediately, with sour cream, apple sauce, or just enjoy in their own simple glory.