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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

30 December 2005

a Hanukkah Miracle, also Ladino Hip-Hop, also pancakes, latkes, waffles

Gouache by Richard Scarry (1919 - 1994), unknown book.
(Vleeptron has substituted can of Vermont maple syrup
on table for original jar of honey.)

Ladino is to Spanish and Portuguese what Yiddish is to German -- a frozen dialect from many centuries past for Jews. Ladino has flourished in North Africa, Turkey and modern Israel, as well as in some diaspora communities in the Caribbean and South America. It's the language of Sephardi Jews, those of a Spanish and North African origin, many of whose community and family customs are heavily flavored by the customs of their Muslim/Arab hosts.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled all Jews and Muslims from the newly united Spain in 1492 (a busy year for Isabella). I don't know when or if Jews were also expelled from Portugal. Maybe somebody can make me hip.

Latkes are pancakes, usually of shredded potato. (This is Ashkenazi or Deutschim Mitteleuropean or Eastern Euro Jewish cuisine.) Quite yum. And apparently they go swell with Vermont Maple Syrup (dark amber).


hey hi hi shabbat shalom

please send me your complete snail-mail address.



Carissima [despicableteacher],

Okay, have you been a Naughty Girl this year, or have you been a Nice Girl? Because this may be the factor that determines whether you get your Gift From Santa

1. within 1 week
2. within 2 months
3. never

(If 3., some Postal or Customs/Douanes Employee somewhere between Northampton and [extremely fancy and romantic-sounding street address in Lisboa] is going to have a very delicious Christmas, and then burn in Hell forever.)

Or possibly the package will be X-rayed and mistaken for a Terror Thing, and oh what a mess that will be when the Bomb Squad detonates it in a big open field.

Prayer, in Ivrit, Portugues, English and other lingos probably will also assist the successful voyage of your Gift. But after all the multi-national paperwork and the Sticker Shock of the Slow Boat (actually they promised a Slow Airplane) to Lisboa, from now on I am going back to the wonderful world of Cyberspace, where you click [SEND] and 20 seconds later your friend in Kuala Lumpur gets his letter or image or rap music, and almost never any Bureaucrats in the middle.

Meanwhile I advise you to practice this.

America still believes the Metric System is a conspiracy from the Kremlin (actually it's worse, it's a conspiracy from France), so I have assisted your EuroKitchen by converting, but this gentleman insists these are the Finest Pancakes in the Land.

I've added a few comments; I know you lived in the USA, but I don't know if you ever did much American cooking. (It all came from Europe, but we gave a lot of it English names and pretended we invented it here. Well -- we did invent the maize, the Aztecs anyway.)

Plain Griddle Cakes
(pancakes from scratch)


1 cup (250 ml) flour

He means ordinary white (bleached) American durham wheat flour, but if you do 2/3 white flour with 1/3 unbleached (brown) wheat flower, you'll get a more rustic, earthy "peasant" pancake, tastier, too.

A pancake is not supposed to be light and dainty like a crepe -- but essentially you're making a heavy Grandma crepe or round cake. I don't think semolina flour is good for this recipe.

For Advanced Pancakes -- still just an honest American pancake, but the kind a restaurant would charge you $1.50 each because of their "special secret old-fashioned recipe," you could also put some coarse-ground maize/corn flour into it.

2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
one-quarter teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt (not needed)

beat and add:

one egg (optional)


1 "scant" cup (240 ml) milk

stir gradually to make a smooth batter


1 teaspoon (5 ml) melted butter or oil

Grease a large frying pan with butter, or with an oil with a light taste -- peanut oil rather than olive oil. Olive oil is delicious but might put a strong unwanted taste to the pancakes.

Ladle/scoop small or medium circles of the batter into a hot frying pan. When they bubble, flip the pancakes with a metal flipper to brown the other side. (Diner cooks love to show off and flip each pancake in the air.)

Serve with butter (the heat of the pancakes will melt it) and Vermont maple syrup.

These pancakes are sure to be tasty -- if you're watching your sodium intake, you can make them without salt and baking powder, which also contains sodium (as does milk), and they'll probably still be pretty good. We never add salt to anything, but when we omitted the baking powder the pancakes came out a little bit on the glue-ey side.

Special note: At the time of writing, this recipe was the most searched-for page on this entire site. For some people, using this recipe is the first time they have ever cooked anything from scratch. These pancakes are delicious!

Copyright © 1997-2005 George D. Girton, All Rights Reserved


Oh I'm so anxious to get my parcel. Maybe if Santa brought it , it would have been in safer hands, one can never really trust Postal services. LOL.

Amazingly enough I do make pancakes, it's a huge success in the neighborhood together with waffles.

This year I decided to bake gingerbread men for my students, they are around 50, so I'm still recovering from all the time spent in the kitchen, but they loved it.

It's the nice thing about teaching a language because you can make it so varied, grammar, culture etc, etc.

So last class we had the gingerbread men, Xmas carols, I brought my chanukiah and 6 dreidels and they adored it.

We sang along Rudolph, of course, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, as well as I Have a Little Dreidel, and Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah. I also played some Ladino Chanukah songs whch for them were easy to understand as it's so similar to Portuguese.

Don't you have Skype or Messenger? After so may yrs of knowing each other I'd really lke to hear your voice. And if you have a cam you could show me your pets and I'd show you mine.LOL.



Happy Hannukah! I bought Cynthia some Hannukah Finger Puppets, I can't wait to see what her family makes of that! I don't even know what I make of this.

But I'm writing because a Thought Is Haunting me from your last e-mail ...

Do you have the only Waffle Iron in the Iberian Peninsula?

How do you plug it in? What do your guests think when they see it in your kitchen?



Hi Bob,

I'm not the only owner of a waffle iron in the peninsula. As a fact,my 2nd flor neighbor bought one after her kids tried my waffles, but they always say mine taste differently hehehehe



Hi Bob!

The fabulous Vermont maple syrup arrived yesterday!

Thanks a million!!!! I am making latkes today for some of my neighbors ( I hope they like it)

Wishing you and family Chag Sameach!!!

I have managed NOT to set fire to the house yet (because of the hanukkah candles).

Check this link I found of a group called Hip Hop Hoodios. It's a video with a very popular
Hanukkah song sung in Ladino, but they sing it in a hip hop version, really funny.



Blogger U.B. said...

You call it Latkes we say: Kartoffelpuffer,Reiberdatschi,
Pflinsen,Flinsen,Puffer.No maplesirup
served with it but sugar or appelstew.
During my time at the Kantine we sold
around 50 kilos or more of the stuff a day when it was on the menue.

Anonymous DespicableTeacher said...

The Jews expelled from Spain came to Portugal, where they led a fairly normal life. BUT in 1496, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, decided that their daughter should get married to the Portuguese King Manuel I. One of the clauses of the contract was that Jews were to be expelled or they should convert. Many children were taken from their parents and converted by force. Many converted, but only «officially», still keeping their religion and traditions.


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