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Food and Family

Oma's Potato Pancakes

One of my fondest memories growing up in a rural area of Eastern Long Island is of losing power during winter snowstorms. My relatives would all walk over to my grandmother's house for a potato pancake party. "Oma" was the only one with a gas stove, so we depended on her to make the beloved pancakes when the electricity went out. My cousin Christopher would usually run over and eat much more than his share of the pancakes. We still tease him about his appetite to this day!

Although Oma is no longer with us to host her delicious potato pancake parties, we celebrate her favorite recipe each year with a family get-together during warmer weather. This gathering has an interesting twist—the recipe is now multiplied tenfold, requiring 50 pounds of fresh, local potatoes and the men do the work, while the women sit back and relax.

If only Oma were here to enjoy this modern day version of her party. Towards the end of her life, my grandmother's arthritis made it difficult for her to grate the potatoes for the pancakes, but she never complained. She knew the joy that her potato pancakes brought to others and got a great deal of pleasure from bringing the family together around the table.

We now hold the much-anticipated event on our deck, which overlooks Hashammomock Pond, an inlet of the Peconic Bay. Here, we gather with family and friends to enjoy the annual party. With this location, all the prep work and cooking can be done outside, allowing for an easy cleanup. The menu consists of the famous pancakes, roast pork loin, applesauce and usually a salad of local greens. My cousin Christopher still never misses a party. This year he even flew his Cessna plane from New Jersey, just in time for the first batch of pancakes to come off the griddle.

—Susan Amiaga Oliveira

Oma's Potato Pancake Party Menu

Potato Pancakes
Roast Pork Loin
Traditional Applesauce
Red and Green Leaf Salad

 

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