I had delicious potato and fennel cakes for dinner today. I wanna teach you how to make them, and also share some thoughts on political implications of such dishes and how you too can be on the right side of history.
I didn't come up with the recipe as I was merely the sous chef, but they were known to the head chef as latke that Jews make for Hanukkah, and to me as placki ziemniaczane, except we've also had fennel we wanted to use up.
If you're a fan of Thoreau I bet you enjoyed lists of items and their prices he quoted to make a point (like what his house had cost), and I wanna do that too, except some of my friends found Thoreau unbearable so I'll be quick with it. It took a bit of time to prepare but we had fun. The fennel was a gift from a friend, and we've also used up three large jacket potatoes ( 1 GBP ) and spring onions from my garden. Remaining ingredients: two spoonfuls of flour, a bit of peanut oil, salt, and pepper.
They looked like this, brown on each side, warm and with a bit of a crunch, with a lot of sharp tastes from spring onion and fennel.
Peel the potatoes and shred them on a grater, then add quite a bit of salt. Wait for the salt to suck the liquid out - if you ever cook with aubergine, the same trick is used to remove the relatively bitter liquid.
Squeeze the pulp out, some recipes call for placing the potatoes in clever arrangements of kitchen towels but this blog recommends squeezing them by the handful over the sink.
Cut up whatever you like your potatoes with.
Add a bit of flour. BTW this is wholemeal: my flatmate has good taste in flour.
Heat up the pan with a bit of oil. Make little balls, then squeeze each one into a flat cake. Fry on low heat until they're nice, and don't toss the cakes over to the other side too quickly until they fry on one side first - they might fall apart if you try to flip them too fast!
The result, again
Brown on each side, warm and with a bit of a crunch, with a lot of sharp tastes from spring onion and fennel.
The woke part
Aren't these potato cakes a lot like French fries, except made from scratch? If you're a UK reader, you've literally had hashbrowns described to you, except you might have only seen them made on industrial scale from cheap ingredients, cut into shapes, frozen, and sold to you wrapped in plastic, or dumped into a large vat of cheap oils and served with a bunch of other foods that are similarly easy to prepare in large quantities.
Thanks to wonders of the modern world, you can try different versions of dishes our ancestors came up with recipes for, choosing from hundreds of ingredients at a fraction of price and effort. You can also have a diet of very few dishes that were initially drawn from the same idea pool and then got optimized for large scale production and availability. It's up to you to choose, but I hope for the choices you make to be intentional and satisfying, and I hope you don't pay too much. Cost of a thing, says Thoreau, "is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." As a condiment, I recommend Greek yogurt, and LOL I have no idea how to make that.