food · holidays · Jewish · slice of life

Applesauce and Sour Cream on Latkes

This Chanukah and last, I overheard some EITHER/OR debates about what’s a better latke topping: applesauce or sour cream. Last year, I rolled my eyes. Maybe I didn’t care because I had bigger things (e.g., Covid, remote instruction) to worry about. After all, wasn’t debating the merits of applesauce or sour cream being the better latke topping better than worrying about whether or not you’d catch COVID? Yes, yes it was.

This year, I’m hearing this debate in multiple circles of my Jewish life. I’ve had enough of this mishegas! I spent last night’s Chanukah dinner lamenting to my parents about this. They rolled their eyes. They don’t understand the #teamapplesauce/#teamsourcream debate any more than I do. But maybe that’s because all three of us eat our latkes the same way with — WAIT. FOR. IT. — applesauce and sour cream.

A little applesauce and a little sour cream on one of the potato latkes I made last night.

That’s right. I am #TEAMBOTH. (Do we really need a team? After all, aren’t we supposed to be part of the same team who rose up against the Assyrian Greeks many years ago since our people wanted to practice Judaism alone.) This faux debate is a bunch of malarkey! Why would anyone limit themselves to one topping on a potato pancake fried in oil?!!?!

Oh, you’re watching your weight and you think sour cream is too fattening? Applesauce isn’t the answer. After all, latkes are COOKED IN OIL!

Oh, you want something savory to place atop your latke? Sour cream, alone, won’t cut it. Maybe a little crème fraîche, smoked salmon, and capers would be a better choice.

I am unapologetically an applesauce and sour cream latke eater. Why? It’s delicious!


This evening, I made cheese latkes for dinner. I offered Marc and the kids a variety of toppings (e.g., raspberry preserves, strawberry preserves, yogurt, honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar) to place on their cheese latkes. Any topping was allowed. Marc decided to grab some sour cream from the fridge to bring over to the table. I wondered how it would taste with the raspberry preserves I was using. I placed a dollop atop my cheese latke, which was already schmeared with raspberry. It. Was. Delightful. Therefore, I topped the rest of my cheese latkes with raspberry preserves and sour cream.

Yet again, I’m #TEAMBOTH.

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14 thoughts on “Applesauce and Sour Cream on Latkes

  1. Having no experience to speak of with latkes, those things look like pancakes to me. In which case, I’m all about the varied toppings. Sadly, I’m not much of a savory person, so I’m always going to lean toward applesauce and raspberry preserves. As I wrote today though, I’m often willing to try something new… what other topping might be grand? I might have to go home tonight and teach myself to make latkes.

  2. Such a fun holiday slice! I totally heard your voice in this one. And now…..I need latkes!!!!

  3. I love latkes! Despite growing up Lutheran, my mom made latkes for dinner several times a year. We had applesauce and bacon as sides. I am sure my mom would be a TEAM both, as I also I think I would be now! Hmmm! I’ll have to make some latkes now! But, tonight, it’s fish tacos!

  4. I”m going to try that recipe! I love latkes, but I’ve never succeeded in making a good batch. The only way I eat applesauce is on latkes. The sour cream is ok, I guess. ;). Yesterday I was showing my class a video about Hanukkah and the narrator said the real Hanukkah miracle is that everyone can eat latkes and not have a heart attack. But indulging in good food is such a delight!

  5. I’m only partially Jewish, so I may not rate a vote, but I’m with you on TeamBoth. I like the variety. I don’t want every bite tasting the same. And really, this slice is about more than latkes. I think it’s urging us to get away from this binary thinking that is plaguing our world. People aren’t either good or evil. People aren’t either good people or racist. We all have biases, but we can all work toward recognizing them and maybe overcoming them. It’s all about common ground, not choosing a side. That’s what I was thinking about as you described this debate. I’m with the inclusive team.

    1. Thanks for picking up on this, Peter. I appreciate you seeing this. The binary choice is ridiculous to me since it reflects the B&W thinking that doesn’t move us forward as a society. Nearly eerything has shades of gray.

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