The Potato Pancakes Incident

After blasting back in time looking for June Cleaver pictures, I happened upon a website that runs full episodes of Leave it to Beaver.  What a hoot!  Does anybody remember that boat that Ward drove and what was it?

57 ford – ward cleaver

Anyway, the 50’s reminded me of my mother who, like June without the pearls,  was a stay at home Mom until I was in high school.  Most of her cooking was basic without recipes although I do remember her referring to her Betty Crocker and Fanny Farmer cookbooks from time to time especially when the natives got restless and complained about eating “the same old thing”.  Not my father though, he was smart enough to keep his head down and eat whatever was served as long as it didn’t have pineapple.  Having been stationed in Hawaii during the war, I guess he had his lifetime limit of pineapple.  There was a routine to my mother’s menu planning – chicken dinner on Sunday, spaghetti & meatballs on Wednesday although I don’t think that was the official Prince Spaghetti “Anthony” day, and of course fish on Friday.  I guess we complained enough so that she started to go through her Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal magazines for new ideas.

One inspiration was potato pancakes.  My mother was a good cook so I don’t think the problem was that she didn’t follow the recipe, just that we perhaps hadn’t developed a taste for potato pancakes or maybe it was the recipe.  Even my father had a hard time choking down those pancakes although he was smart enough to shut up about it.  My 2 sisters and I however were obnoxiously vocal about them to the point where my mother grabbed everyone’s plates & tossed the food into the garbage and went storming out of the kitchen.  Not given to histrionics, this gave us the big eyeballs.

Later that night we heard the garbage can rattling.  Taking a peak out there we saw that a couple of raccoons had pried off the lid and pulled out the potato pancakes.

Harry's masked moochers

ok, I tried to add a Frisbee - it's not really his

They were so cute so we were all crowded around watching through the window when one of them sat up with a pancake in his little humanoid hands and took a bite.  One bite.  Then he took that potato pancake and sent it about 20′ down the driveway like a frisbee.  Well of course that just cracked all of up saying “see – even the raccoon won’t eat those things!”  Funny that is until my mother went storming back to the bedroom slamming the door.

I obviously don’t have pictures of the potato pancake/frisbee incident but my good friend Harry was able to provide me with photos of his regular masked moochers.  The first photo is a family photo enjoying cat food and since he hasn’t put out any potato pancakes for them, they come back year after year with their new babies.

Since I’ve matured a lot in the food trying department, I would really like to hear from any of you who have a good potato pancake recipe (or link to one they know is the real deal) to try out.  Anyone?  Potato pancake recipes?  And what do you use for garnishes – maybe that was the problem, we didn’t have anything to put on them.

14 thoughts on “The Potato Pancakes Incident

  1. SO funny! My mom made potato pancakes, too. I think a LOT of chopped onion is important, as well as enough milk in the mashed potatos to combat dryness. Having said that, we dunked them in ketchup to eat them — willing them to become french fries!


  2. What a great story! I have had some incredible potato pancakes, made by a good friend with a strong Jewish heritage. We used to fry them up on special occasions and have them with lots of sour cream and (trout) caviar. They were incredible. She makes the recipe up as she goes along though, so I can’t help you there. They really can be incredible, I promise. -kate


    • Thank you, the old Leave it to Beaver somehow triggered that old memory (my mother used to wear those June Cleaver dresses). But I’d really like to give a try if someone has a proven recipe – now if you notice, Justa also has been looking for a good recipe too. Sour cream & the caviar sound wonderful with them & I know my mother didn’t have that available. You have to track your friend down & shake this recipe out of her though. Do you know if she makes it with mashed potatoes or shaved?


  3. I LOVE reading your posts! You have The Best stories!! My mother used to make the best-ever potato pancakes using leftover mashed potatoes. I have spent years trying to duplicate them but I haven’t found the “right” recipe/technique yet. This is one of those things that’s on my Recipe Bucket List. I hope someone comes along and shares an awesome recipe so I can check this one off my list.


    • Thank you Justa & I guess that makes 2 of us hoping someone – anyone? will save the day and come up with a recipe for us both. I’d really like to give them a try & have a different potato recipe to use that’s been tested. Really, really hoping that no one gives me my mother’s recipe though:) Even Harry’s raccoons wouldn’t like those.


      • Justa I’m almost tempted to give it a try & bring them up to see what Harry’s raccoons do with them. You know though, you’re giving me ideas about some April Fools posts we could do… let’s think on that one.


  4. That is SO funny to picture that! How embarassing for Mom…and the pour frisbee toss moment..what talented raccoons you had then 🙂

    I have a zucchini pancake recipe that is divine, especially when you add a bit of goat cheese and smoked salmon on top while the pancakes are still warm! Great way to use that spring veggie. Will feature it soon on the Blog, so you’ll have to give it a try. Super easy.


    • Any good recipes for them? I’m still trying to find a tried & true recipe – love potatoes. Never thought about having them with cheese though, although I probably could have even eaten my mother’s if they had cheese on them.


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