Homemade latkes were on the menu at Temple Beth Am's family Hanukkah party last night. Each family brought a plate of 25 latkes to enter into the "Best Latkes of the Year" contest. Everyone at the party could vote for their favorite latke.
In addition, some children had entered homemade menorahs into a separate menorah contest. Entries featured creative menorahs made from Crayola markers to candy.
At a crafts table, Madison Sherman, age 9, made an edible dreidel using marshmallows, blue sugar, and candy.
Nearby, Lindsay Noah, a kindergartener, and Amanda Noah, a second grader, showed off the menorahs they had made. Their grandmother, Barbara Marder, is an art teacher who set up a craft table at her house, where the girls worked on their menorahs.
Audrey Reed and her family were found tasting latkes. For the contest, Reed had made her first batch of latkes ever, following a traditional potato recipe.
"The crispier, the better," she said.
Her daughter, Samantha Reed, was taking a systematic approach to judging the latkes, arranging them in a clockwise pattern around her plate.
There were mostly potato latkes, with slight variations. Some contained zucchini, one recipe was scented with orange and vanilla, and another appeared to contain sweet potato.
Clustered at a large round table in the back of the room were Erika Sheinhait, 14; Lindsay Tomczak, 15; and Amy Sheinhait, 14, Erika's twin sister. Asked how the latkes were, Amy said, "They're very good. You can taste the different flavors, like this one tastes like cinnamon."
In front of the buffet table, Jaime Brody, the temple's youth educator, was sampling latkes with her partner, Meghan Todd. "Excellent," Brody reported on one latke. "Oh, it's so sweet, it's excellent."
Dr. Edmon Jacobson was found clearing away the empty plates that had once contained his homemade latkes. He and his wife had entered the contest separately.
"It's a little competition between me and my wife," he said.
His son Reuben, 12, had found the recipe Dr. Jacobson had used, which included saffron and Persian spices.
Across the room stood Dr. Jacobson's wife, Colleen Jacobson, with their daughter, Hannah, 11, who had made another batch of latkes together. Mrs. Jacobson said the secret ingredient in her latkes was a little nutmeg. Hannah admitted she had accidentally voted for her father's latkes instead of her own.
After everyone had sampled latkes and voted, Cantor Jodi Schechtman led Hanukkah singing. Then the winners of the latke and menorah contests were announced and prizes were handed out to the winners.
Michael Wishnow won first prize in the latke contest, but was not in attendance; his son, Sam Wishnow, accepted the prize for his father.
The menorah contest winners, including kindergartner Lindsay Noah, proudly displayed their menorahs.
After the party, many in attendance moved to a different part of the temple for a.