A few short lifetimes ago, before corona was anything but the name of a beer, my family had the good fortune of spending a vacation in the beautiful town of Hollywood, Florida. We found a lovely little shul not far from the house, aptly called the SHshteeble. (The name infers that they don’t like talking in their shul.) On Shabbos, Mr. Ephraim Sobol, the founder and benefactor of this welcoming minyan, was selling aliyos, and loudly announced that he was auctioning off the opportunity to be the beneficiary of the world’s best latkes, namely his own. My husband bid. He won, of course.
A few months later, on Chanukah, we got a phone call from the creator of the world’s best latkes himself. They were fried. Ready to go. The only thing was, logistically speaking, shipping latkes over a border could be a bit challenging. Have no fear! He would freeze them and keep them for us until our next trip to the sunny skies.
We decided this (and a few blizzards) definitely warranted a second trip during winter vacation. Fast-forward to mid-February, it was Erev Shabbos, and there was a knock at the door. Mr. Sobol himself came bearing individually shrinkwrapped large-sized latkes. I unwrapped them and placed them in an open foil pan in the oven and let them warm that way, uncovered.
It was sort of like serving Pesach cake on Shavuos, but hey, families of recipe developers are used to eating holiday foods at all the wrong times of year. No one blinked an eye when I brought out a tray of crispy hot latkes with just a hint of that spicy kick that all teenagers love. Well, we all agreed that they just might very well be the world’s best latkes.
So here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, with sunny Florida skies but a dream, but Mr. Sobol was gracious enough to share his recipe, so we can enjoy them while the snow falls around us too.