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Jewish Journal

Gimme gourmet latkes!

by Danielle Berrin

December 5, 2007 | 12:23 pm


Jewish holidays are famously all about the food. This Chanukah, a big-city super chef is nixing the brisket in favor of something more sexy.

Eric Greenspan, head chef of the Foundry on Melrose, made the cover of the L.A. Times’ food section today because he’s got the recipe for haute-cuisine Chanukah: doughnuts with a persimmon, sugar and spice filling, glazed short-ribs with mustard-Cognac sauce, beet potato latkes with horseradish-caraway creme fraiche—-all in a day’s work for this mama’s boy.

Amy Scattergood writes:

Mother and son are in the kitchen of her immaculate two-story apartment, banging dishes and arguing happily about whether to use the food processor to grate the root vegetables for the latkes. “Use a box grater, Ma,” says Greenspan. “That’s what they did in Roman times!”

            “The Maccabees didn’t have electricity,” says Marilyn Springer as she assembles the machine.

“They had God on their side!” yells Greenspan, deftly reorganizing his mother’s counters as he calibrates the ingredients for the three-course meal.

Greenspan is a charismatic man, with a big, low-slung presence and a loud personality that can distract you (is it a diversionary tactic?) from his considerable intelligence. His high decibels (“Too many Slayer concerts as a kid”) come in handy in the Foundry’s clattering, cramped kitchen. And even in his mother’s serene place, the bluster seems part of a familiar routine.

As Springer stirs the bowl of grated root vegetables—the carrots, russet potatoes, red onions and roasted beets turning a gorgeous deep mauve in her bowl—she adds a little egg, a little flour. “I don’t know what your recipe is,” she says, reaching for more flour.

“Ma, it’s a latke!” Greenspan shouts.

(photo by Ken Hively, Los Angeles Times)

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