Tell us about yourself.

Whistler is fortunate to be part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver’s community connectors program. The goal of this program is exactly as the name would suggest, to connect people. More than 50% of the Vancouver Jewish community lives outside the city in emerging communities like Whistler. This program allows us to connect with both members of the Whistler Jewish community as well as with the broader community. Canada is fortunate to have a wonderfully multicultural environment. Thanks to initiatives like the Whistler Multicultural Society, members of the Whistler community have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and traditions. Many Jewish traditions and rituals surround foods such as challah (egg bread), Chicken soup with Matza balls, Potato latkes and many more. We are thrilled to be able to share a little taste of these foods with you.

Why is it important? Is there any story behind that dish?

As with many cultures and religions Hanukkah is a holiday of light during the winter season when we need light the most since the days are short. The story of Hanukkah is one of victories and miracle. It takes place in 164 BCE when the Maccabees defeated the Greeks who has taken over the Jewish temple. As the story goes, there was always a candle lit in the temple but when the Maccabees reclaimed the temple there was only enough oil for one night. Since this was long before the invention of the car, it took 8 nights for them to travel to get more oil for the temple. Despite the small amount of remaining oil it lasted for the entire 8 days until they returned with more oil. In memory of this miracle we light candles for 8 nights and eat foods fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil.

Why do you want to share that dish with us?

We are excited to share our potato latkes with you simply because they are such a delicious treat. People eat them in many different ways. Some people use sour cream and / or applesauce. Others use the latke as a base and will put something more substantial like cream cheese and lox (smoked salmon) on it. 

What kind of memories do you have when cooking this dish?

Growing up we all have fond memories of making and enjoying latkes with our families and our communities. Making latkes is a truly wonderful sensory experience. Listening to the latkes sizzle as they fry in the oil. The smell of fried deliciousness wafting through the air. Knowing that soon you will get to bite into the delicious latka, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. No Hanukkah party is complete with out some deliciously fried treats.