Winter Blogfest: Hanukkah—The Festival of Lights by Marilyn Baron

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of the author’s historical romantic thriller, Under the Moon Gate.

Hanukkah—The Festival of Lights
By Marilyn Baron
What do I remember most about Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights? During this time of the year, our family used to drive around Miami, where I was born, and look at the beautiful display of Christmas lights.

The Hanukkah tradition is to light the menorah, a 9-candle ceremonial lamp with space for eight candles, representing one for each night of the holiday, and one candle to light the rest. Hanukkah is a festive holiday. Families sing songs, play a game called dreidel, a spinning top and exchange gifts. The holiday lasts eight days.
When I had younger children, we would give them one gift each night. Now that they’re grown and out of the house, we typically give them one big gift. In the old days, I remember my grandparents lining up the grandchildren and handing out a dollar each. Now the money comes in the form of chocolate coins—Hanukkah Gelt—you can buy at the grocery store.

The thing I love most about Hanukkah is eating the traditional potato pancakes or latkes. You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy potato latkes. My sister Elaine makes great latkes. They require a lot of effort, but when done right, they are crispy and delicious. My mother made great latkes when we were growing up. Today, I just buy them out of a box in the grocery freezer section. They’re not nearly as good. It is traditional to top the latkes with a little sour cream and some applesauce. I prefer applesauce and I also like mine sprinkled with sugar.

Here is my sister’s recipe. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Potato Latkes
1 onion
4-5 Idaho potatoes
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup matzoh meal
Salt: 1 teaspoon, then sprinkle more on as they fry
Pepper, freshly ground, several twists

Mix the salt, pepper and baking powder together with the matzoh meal.
Peel the potatoes and drop them right away into a large bowl of icy water.
Chop onion: Use a food processor. Decide how fine to chop.
Do not drain liquid from the onion.
In a large bowl, crack the eggs and beat (not too much).
Heat large skillets: Cast iron or any good pan. Use more than one to speed up the cooking. Start low, and when almost ready with the completed mixture, raise the heat. During frying, constantly monitor the heat level, starting on medium high, then adding the mixture, and then turning down to about medium. Then back up to medium high with the next batch, and so on.
Cut the potatoes lengthwise, and in a food processor, using the shred attachment, shred a few at a time. Then, take out the shredded potatoes into a big bowl, put the chop attachment on and put the shredded potatoes back into the processor, then give just a few pulses (5-10), until a nice chopped consistency (not too big, but not too finely chopped, either).
Then put the potatoes into a cheesecloth (in the sink), and squeeze as much liquid starch as you can! Then put the squeezed potatoes right into the eggs, and mix around with your hands to absorb the potato mixture.
Then repeat this process until all the potatoes are in the egg mixture.
Add the onions and dry mixture to the egg and potato mixture, and mix: Use your hands.
Add oil to the fry pan(s) and wait until the oil is hot (but not burning). Add mixture by tablespoons, not too thick. Fry in hot oil. Turn when golden. Keep adding oil to pan before each new batch. The more oil, the better it tastes. The first batch never tastes as good as the rest.

Landlocked_w10128_750Romance, A Decades-old Mystery and a Serial Killer on the Loose…

Amelia Rushing is an inexperienced South Florida realtor with weather issues, and a loser in love. Her grandmother asks her to sell some property on an isolated North Carolina mountaintop, and upon investigation, Amelia finds the tract is landlocked. Determined to make her first sale and right the injustice to her grandmother, Amelia travels to the town of Confrontation and enlists the help of local real estate attorney, Alec Brady, who thwarts her at every turn.

Sparks fly when Amelia announces her plans to move into her grandmother’s cabin until she can sell the property. It is Alec’s current home, and he’s not giving it up. When Amelia discovers that thirty years ago a prominent landscape artist disappeared in the town of Confrontation, she is anxious to solve the decades-old mystery, but there’s a serial killer on the loose, one nobody wants to turn in, despite the number of people missing. What is the community hiding, and does Alec know where the bodies are buried?

About the Author: Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and the recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. Marilyn writes humorous women’s coming-of-middle-age fiction, historical romantic thrillers, suspense, paranormal and fantasy. She has won or finaled in writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance and Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. She’s a member of the 2016 Roswell Reads steering committee. Visit her Web site at to find out more about her other books and stories and upcoming releases. Landlocked is her 10th book with The Wild Rose Press. A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband. Marilyn graduated from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a B.S. in Journalism [Public Relations sequence] and a minor in Creative Writing. She met her husband at UF and both of her daughters graduated from UF. Go Gators!

Website | Facebook | Twitter
Buy the book at Amazon.


  1. I grew up on Long Island where Hanukkah was as popular as Christmas. I didn’t run into the culture shock of being different until I left home and started my own family. My kids grew up in the bible belt. Their friends were jealous of 8 nights and my kids were jealous of Christmas lights.

    • Donna,
      I had the same experience coming from Miami and moving to Atlanta. Other kIds liked the idea of getting presents eight nights and my kids love the Christmas traditions which they got to experience with their babysitter’s family and they love listening to Christmas music this time of year. Thanks for commenting.

  2. The recipe sounds delicious! Your book sounds exciting- nothing like a good serial killer mystery.

  3. We love real Jewish deli food–any time of the year. Love your town of Confrontation…a conflict all its own! Happy holidays and best wishes for continued success.

  4. We love real Jewish deli food–any time of the year. Love your town of Confrontation…a conflict all its own! Best of luck with all your projects.

  5. Yum! Loves this walk through your memories!

  6. Love reading about your Hanukkah traditions. My mom used to make potato pancakes, but not anywhere near as complicated as your sister’s recipe. I can see why you would buy them frozen. LOL

    I loved Landlocked. Such intrigue. Best wishes and Happy Hanukkah!

  7. Oh cool, A recipe!!! You have no idea just how many cookbooks I have on my NOOK – it might even rival my collection of hardcover cookbooks! LOL Thank you for sharing!!

  8. I love potato pancakes and really love the shredded potatoes type ones the best, especially with sour cream.

  9. These sound delicious, but I’m not an adventurous cook so I’ll follow you to the grocery freezer. Landlocked is a must read.

  10. Question to the author: What was the last book you read without skipping through anything?

    • Mai,
      Probably Before I Go To Sleep. I do notice that even in books I like I will speed read through some paragraphs or sections. I read so many books. But until you asked the question, I didn’t think about it. I also just read and loved
      the sequel to Me Before You. Thanks for commenting.

  11. Yummy sounding recipe, but I think I will be at the grocery freezer too.
    Landlocked sounds like my favorite type of story to read, putting it on my to buy list!

  12. kim amundsen says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

  13. Now I’m very curious about these potato latkes. (My husband says I’m a marketer’s dream because I have to try out anything new. Hey, it might be the best thing ever.) Thanks for sharing your family traditions!

    • MJ, They are delicious when made right. This year, I tasted a couple of different ones and none lived up to my mothers or sisters and both were homemade. You’ll have to try them. Thanks for commenting. I have an iron skillet but not a food processor so the whole thing seems daunting to try.

  14. tasty looking recipe

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  15. JeanMP is the winner of a digital copy of Under the Moon Gate. Thank you everyone for commenting. JeanMP, please send me your email and I will send you a Kindle copy. My email is

    Thank you.

Speak Your Mind