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Sheila Muller demonstrated how to make latkes for the Jamesport Homemakers Club on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

When Sheila Muller of Aquebogue makes her potato latkes during Hanukkah, she does so using a potato grater that’s nearly as old as the recipe.

Both were handed down by her grandmother, Sarah Cohen, decades ago.

“It’s been in the family for many, many years,” she said of both the recipe and the antique tool, which is still functional. “I used my grandmother’s grater. I didn’t think I could ever find another one like — I was able to find one that is like it. But I’m still using hers.”

She demonstrates her recipe for members of the Jamepsort Homemakers Club year after year.

She recounts the story of Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil that was only enough to light a temple menorah for one night, but somehow burned for eight. The frying oil is symbolic of the miraclulous menorah.

When Muller makes her latkes for neighbors or family, there are rarely leftovers.

“Every time my mother made them, from the time they came out of the frying pan they went so quick,” she recalled. “They were gobbled up by my brother and me.”

This year, Hanukkah begins Dec. 24 and ends Jan. 1. That gives you plenty of time to try Muller’s recipe, which appears below.


4 or 5 big Idaho potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and grated. (Muller grates hers by hand, but you can use a food processor.)

1 medium onion, grated

2 eggs, beaten well

2 tablespoons matzo meal or flour (to get a good consistency)

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable or canola oil for frying (Note: Some choose coconut oil, but do NOT use olive oil.)


Peel and grate potatoes. Try to squeeze some of the water out, either with a paper towel or by hand, to ensure dryness. Leave the starch that settles at the bottom of the bowl. Add the grated onion.

Mix the eggs together and add to the potato-onion mix. Slowly add some matzo meal — not a lot — until you get a consistency that holds together. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Mix with a fork or your hands.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add a very small amount of the mixture — about the size of a small pancake. When it starts to sizzle, add two additional tablespoons of the mixture for each latke.

As edges get brown, turn over slowly so you don’t burn yourself. Turn latkes over again until browned to the desired color. Don’t burn the next batch, as oil has become hotter.

Place latkes on paper towels to drain and cool for a couple of minutes.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Sheila Muller of Aquebogue demonstrates how to make latkes in 2015. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
Sheila Muller of Aquebogue demonstrates how to make latkes in 2015. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)