Sunday, April 23, 2006

Potato pancakes and All Quiet on the Western Front

Last week's visit home for Easter yielded a healthy supply of leftovers. They kept me fed most of the week. The last dish contained mashed potatoes. I'm not much for reheated potatoes so I fried up three nice potato pancakes.

Everytime I come across potato pancakes, I remember "All Quiet on the Western Front." Almost everytime Paul Baumer received a package from home, his mother included potato pancakes. As Germany ran out of spuds, she managed to slip in her son's favorite dish. They seemed to be his last connection to the innocence and naivete of his boyhood. While not usually pointed out in studies of the novel, it stands out to me.

I can't say my latest batch matched the literary symbolism of those made by Paul Baumer's mother. I added a little sweet onion, celery salt and black pepper. I poured some olive oil in an iron skillet and fried them up. I made sure to cook them slow to keep them somewhat firm. Topped off with hot salsa, they made an entire meal.

That's enough for this guide to literary dining.

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