This week we celebrated both Irish and Jewish cultures by taking a staple of the Irish diet, potatoes, and transforming them into latkes, a treat traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. Students watched two videos - the first was about the Great Famine in Ireland around the mid-nineteenth century and the second told the story of Hanukkah and explained why fried foods are eaten to honor the miracle of the oil. The kids were excited to learn about the Jewish priest Judah Maccabee, who has two namesakes in the third grade at Harvey Milk.
We enjoyed hearing from many students who took great pride in sharing about their Irish or Jewish roots, and laughed at how some kids know their ancestry down to the exact percentage point. It was also fun to discover that Miss Lizzie is both Irish and Jewish.
Back in the kitchen, students carefully grated potatoes and onions, minced parsley, and measured out dry ingredients for the pancake batter. They took turns ringing out all of the liquid from the grated potatoes and onions to make sure the latkes would be nice and crispy. Then, we quickly put together the batter and fried the latkes in olive oil. Once they sizzled and turned golden brown on both sides, we ate the latkes topped with applesauce HMCRA students had made at a recent garden workday. A few chefs mentioned our meal tasted like hash browns and the inside of an apple pie. Many thanks to our friends at Bi-Rite Market for donating the beautiful apples to our program!