Potato pancakes & fish fry day


I grew up in Wisconsin in the southeastern part of the state, an hour outside of Milwaukee. Friday is fish fry day. Every restaurant worth their salt has fish on the menu, usually fried, but grilled, baked, and steamed can also be found. The sidedishes are as traditional, coleslaw for sure, and a choice of French fries, or potato pancakes. Trust me, there’s an art to coleslaw and most certainly potato pancakes, and they can make or break a good Fish Fry!

Most people go out for fish. It’s a treat at the end of the long work week, and it keeps the smell of fried food/fish somewhere else. Of course every Catholic home used to abstain from meat on Friday, but fish fries cross the denomination lines. And, we just think that’s they way the whole country thinks…Fridays are for fish fries and potato pancakes. I am sad to say we have come to realize that’s not the case in all the other places we have lived . So, I make our own Friday fish fry.

When we were first married I bought a set of terrific pots and pans from a door to door guy I happened to be related to. They really have been great pots and pans and I’m sure they will get passed down for generations. The cook book that came with them has been a gem. It’s where my favorite potato pancake recipe comes from. It’s pictured above with assorted stains on the pages. It’s called EHP Cook Book, Nutritious Cooking the Waterless Way. There’s a June Cleaver type mom drawn on the cover in a shirtwaist dress with full skirt, and an apron. She looks very happy. Supposedly, the seal of the lids makes it possible to cook without a lot of water, thereby not draining vegetables and meats of their nutrients. That part I never got into really. Hey, I do okay, we appear to have gotten plenty of nutrition.

Here the recipe:

Potato Pancakes

3 medium potatoes, peeled or washed, grated or shredded-I shred
1 small onion, chopped fine, or grated
2 T melted shortening or veg oil
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup flour-tried it with spelt flour and it’s ok
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 T milk-I use my lactose free milk

Mix everything together quickly so potatoes don’t discolor. Drop by spoonfuls onto griddle or hot frying pan, kind of spread out the potato mixture, flip when brown. They are best served right away but I do make them ahead and save in a warmer. These are great with applesauce, cottage cheese, or sour cream, or plain! The orginal recipe says it serves six. We have only ever served three!

Fish note:
Our favorite fish to fry is ocean perch but catfish will do. We usually select the cheapest we can find. I like cornmeal with some cajun spice added to the mix to coat the fish before putting into the pan. I don’t really make a big production out of the fish. Most of the time I just pan saute with butter and lemon.

What are your food traditions? Have you moved somewhere and miss back home stuff? We are still trying to figure out what Northern Virginia is known for. In our immediate neighborhood it appears the pupusa is the dish in demand. I haven’t had one yet, but I will.

***

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About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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