Boxty: Golden Irish potato pancakes

What to do with a leftover potato is an immigrant story, a simple one that gets told over and over again

Topics: Kitchen Challenge, Food,

Boxty: Golden Irish potato pancakes

My grandmother cooked us a lot of potatoes. She was — wait for it — Irish, as in actually from Ireland and immigrated to New York long before I was born.

There was always something cooking or about to be cooked in her kitchen, never dormant, a radio on and a meal being made or at least thought of. Every cupboard stuffed (with some questionable expiration dates), the fridge full, the oven at the ready. Her favorite greeting was “Hello, my pet!” quickly followed by “How would you like a …?” It could be 10 in the morning and she would offer to cook you a steak, make you a sandwich –just a little something, a drink to wet your throat, a piece of candy for something sweet.

Her house itself was filled with things that mystified me as a kid. She kept everything and had (for lack of a better term) a lot of Catholic swag: medals, rosary beads and palms tied into crosses and stuck behind pictures. In the air hung evidence of cooking mixed with the smell of Oil of Olay and furniture polish. I have her dining room set in my house now and sometimes stick my head into the highboy for the last lingering vestiges of that smell. I laugh when I look inside and see my pottery barn candlesticks, where she used to have statues of saints, hard candies, a bottle of old perfume, receipts and Mass cards.

The life she created around food, her unfailing desire to feed, are the stories my family still tells each other when we talk about her. I don’t think my grandmother wrote many recipes down, maybe a few in her slanted leftie backhand, but that wasn’t really her style. She wasn’t just old school, she was the old school, meaning necessity guided what she made and when she made it. (Later on, it became more about letting us have the things banned at home, like Coke and extra dessert.)

Boxty comes from an Irish word meaning “poor house bread.” And as these things go with staples like potatoes, every culture seems to have its own ways of stretching what it had, making it work. So this recipe may be what my Irish grandmother did with leftover potatoes but it could just as easily be what your Jewish grandmother did, or Polish, etc. What to do with a leftover potato is in itself an immigrant story, a simple one that gets told over and over again.

Nana’s Boxty



Ingredients

  • 2 medium-size potatoes (Yukon Golds work well)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of buttermilk
  • 1 pinch of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • salt to taste
  • butter, as needed

Directions

  1. Boil one potato in salted water and mash it into a bowl it fits comfortably. Let cool until warm.
  2. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and baking powder on the mashed potato. Grate the other potato onto the mixture. Stir together, and season with salt to taste. Stir in egg and buttermilk.
  3. Shape into pancakes and fry in butter over medium-high heat, until golden brown and crisp, and grated potato is cooked.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>