Tomorrow I will make potato latkes.
I will be a renegade and use sweet potatoes,
not the white potatoes I grew up with,
the white potatoes that were always
used in the pancakes. The white potatoes
that my mother never questioned,
that she placed on the table in many
different disguises—mashed, baked,
boiled and cold in salad with mayo stuck
on everything, obscuring what lay beneath
the slick white coat.
I will use sweet potatoes when I make
my latkes. I will use minced scallions
instead of yellow onions cut in chunks.
I will even use the green leaves that
arc out from the white bulb like a dancer
extending a leg. I will cut off the roots.
Of course I will do that.
I will grate the potatoes in a processor,
something my mother never had. I will
not feel guilt for doing this. My latkes
will not be less authentic because the potatoes
were whirled around and chopped into many
small bits. I will invite friends over
to eat the small round cakes with a
tinge of orange. They cannot be mistaken
for white potato latkes. I’ve made sure of that.
Karen Loeb writes and teaches in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Recent publications have been a story in Thema, poems in The Main Street Rag, Bloodroot and Hanging Loose.