Appalachia and Food: Potato Pancakes


Friday Fare to Appalachia

The Appalachian culture is all about food. Appalachian farmers and truck gardeners worked the land to grow the basics for their family. They had a hard-scrabble existence. Some of the basics among the vegetables were corn, squash, and potatoes. Not much rice was eaten in Central Appalachia even though rice was a daily dish in the south. In the mountain territory, the land was not suitable to grow rice. The people substituted potatoes for rice.

A dish I learned to fix from my mother, and one that everyone loved, is the potato dish featured today. We called them Potato Cakes. Some called them Potato Pancakes. My mother sometimes fixed them for breakfast, sometimes for dinner. They were a favorite. Very filling and somewhat nutritious for people working hard physical labor later in the day. This is a very plain dish enjoyed by plain people. One thing you will notice about many of the Appalachian recipes is that measurements are often either non-existent or approximate. You have to experiment until it tastes the way you want. It isn’t hard, I promise!

Potato Cakes

Leftover Mashed Potatoes – as many as you have!

1 -2 eggs depending on how many potatoes you are using

Skim milk – enough to just wet the potatoes and allow you to stir them

Stir together the first three ingredients. Make sure the consistency is medium thick but stirable.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Regular Flour – Add enough regular flour, a tbsp at a time, to make the potato mixture stick together and to enable you to pat it into cakes.

Pat the mixture into pancake-size cakes.

Prepare a skillet by melting several tbsps of butter (or margarine) in it. Melt it slowly and don’t let it burn.

When the butter/margarine is melted, add as many potato cakes as the skillet will hold. Fry them until they bubble on top. Then turn them with a spatula. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Remove and place on paper towel-covered plate.

Serve and enjoy!

Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2016

Image by sylvar Flickr 2016






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