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No They're There: 1938

No They're There: 1938

August 1938. "Refreshment stand at county fair, central Ohio." Photo by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Recipe for your consideration

My mom and dad used to make these, so I thought I'd share their recipe:

Several potatoes, peeled and mashed
Onion (green preferably, but not required)
pepper to taste
Two eggs
half a cup of flour.

Mix all together in a bowl, adding the eggs, onion and salt and pepper. Slowly fold in the two eggs, and then add just enough flour to make it have a batter like consistency.

Fry in hot oil till golden brown on both sides.

We served them with a good amount of salt and pepper on them, but they can be eaten just as they are.

Geez, thanks a lot, Shorpy.

Where am I going to find latkes in a Midwestern town at 7:30 on Monday evening?

Makes No Never Mind

Fonts, spelling, grammar? None of it really matters all that much. What is important is that these young women actively participated in a (somewhat) large community event and communicated their participation perfectly.

What a miserable language English would be were it not for misspellings, misunderstandings, dialects, derivations, deviations and perhaps most important it's its global use among all classes.

Presently I shall take my colouring book and return to my house -- home -- hovel -- whatever, where I shall have a discussion with Mr. Johnson (Johnston, Jones, Johns, Jonson, Joynson ... whatever).

Whatta ya want for 5 cents!

They are hot, they are good--there now, no contentious contractions. (And they are latkes; yummmmm.) I expect the small business kids were aided by older kids who will get better at graphic arts and spelling. All look to have a good start.

How about the fonts?

I see three different fonts in one advertisement. We definitely need the Font Police to backup the Spelling Police!

Slice of life!

Nobody does it better than 'Shorpy' for transforming us into another realistic time and place. 'Shorpy' is like stepping into a time-machine, whisking us away from the worries of the day. Provoking thoughts, memories and insight we seldom touch upon during our busy modern daily lives. Thank you!

In Grandma's Kitchen

This great photo was made by Ben Shahn caused possibly by a momentary flashback to a time gone by all too quickly.

Great Sign!

I find it interesting that, although the grammar and spelling leave a lot to be desired, someone did a great job painting that sign! I wish I could go into the picture, walk up and say hello, give them a nickel and be in Heaven for as long as I was eating it!

They are them

I'm guessing they are (them) potato latkes served during Hanukkah in Jewish homes but almost all nationalities have a similar version, especially the Eastern Europeans, no matter what their religion. They are unbelievably delicious but somewhat labor intensive. When Catholic Fridays used to be meatless and if we had no fish, we always looked forward to these for dinner but it meant lots of work for Mom having to hand grate a ton of potatoes, drain them, chop onions, add eggs and flour (or matzo meal) and fry them in hot oil. The seven of us would eat them as fast as she could cook them. The Jewish latkes symbolize the miraculous single small container of oil that lasted 8 days. Their outstanding taste and texture is not quite like any other potato dish. By the way, that USED to be the archaic way "potatoe" was spelled in the olden days, even though Dan Quayle is still ridiculed mercilessly and forever when he added the 'e'.

Potato pancakes, yum

Hash browns and that patatoey thing that comes on the side with your Egg McMuffin are cousins of the Latke, which is the current preferred spelling. The true Latke may at least include some eggs, onions, and of course a goodly dose of oil. Compares favorably with Christmas cookies as a seasonal feel good but somewhat deadly treat. Here in New Mexico we became Latke aware via the exceptionally tasty green chile variety served at the local Hanukkah Festival sometime around late November through December.

"Uh oh"

"Grammar Police. Let me do the talking."


At least they spelled the price right.


Was Dan Quayle right about the spelling of a certain vegetable after all?

Lotkiz Shmatkiz

The good news is there is no correlation between literacy and cooking skill.

It took a second or two before I realized the items for sale are more commonly known as latkes. Since the word is a transliteration from Yiddish, "lotkiz" may be a less conventional spelling in Roman letters but it's not wrong. You just won't find it in anyone's style book.

You Say Potatoe

Some of the best latkes I've ever had were made by people whose English was not up to college standard: my Grandma, for example.


The source of our confusion has been pinpointed. A County Fair in Ohio, eh; would have never guessed that in a million years.

Try try again

There, their, They're!

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