Can I make a career out of Potato Pancakes?

Posted on May 23, 2011


I am in between schools. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in psychology last year, and I am getting ready to continue my education with a graduate degree. In a few months, I will start applying, but I have a lot of program options to slough through first.

Psychology is a very diverse professional field. I could pursue a high level Ph.D. in clinical pychology or opt for the less research intensive doctorate of psychology (Psy.D.). There are also programs that offer practitioner certification on a compressed timeline, such as a two-year degree in Mental Heath Counseling (M.A.) or the more specialized certification in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.F.T.). I could also switch into an entirely different field and pursue in a degree in social work (M.S.W.).

There a number of practical priorities that are affecting my decision on which degree to pursue (which school will be the next obstacle), but also I’m just trying to weigh how I feel about this career track. Because, as I think and weight out these options I also can’t help but think about a million others — not in psychology at all! I guess that’s what happens when you leave school, and the entire world opens up to you.

For example, I was watching Fareed Zakaria: GPS, my favorite CNN show, and I thought, it would be cool to go into public policy. I was watching HGTV, and I thought, it would be cool to be a interior designer! I was watching Nikita, and I thought, it would be cool to be a globe-trotting government agent on a mission to save the world!!

Then, I was making potato pancakes, and I thought, maybe I should just be a professional potato pancake taste tester.

I adapted the following recipe from my Good Housekeeping Cookbook’s recipe for Potato Latkes, but I added a little bit more flour and a splash of milk, omitted the chopped parsley because I was out, and shaped them into much bigger pancakes. They were delicious and a hit with my husband for Sunday brunch…but there are a lot of pancake recipes out there.  There are so many brunch options to explore. I can think of a million! Ah but, that’s the good thing about making a career in the kitchen — anyone can do it, any day of the week, no degree needed.

That doesn’t mean choosing a recipe is an easy decision, but I’m pretty happy with this one! They turned out more hash-browny than pancakey, which was fine for our very late brunch. I didn’t have apple sauce or sour cream to serve with them, so I opted for maple syrup and jam with sliced apple on the side.

Potato Pancakes

olive oil for frying
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled shredded (I used 8 medium potatoes and yielded about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, grated
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (omitted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Combine potatoes and onion in a colander. Squeeze to press out as much liquid as possible, then combine potato mixture with egg, flour, milk, lemon juice, baking powder, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Drop desired amount of potato batter into skillet and flatten to form a pancake. Cook until underside is golden, 3-5 minutes. Turn and cook until second side is golden brown and crisp, 3-5 minutes longer. Repeat until all batter is used. The batter will lose moisture quickly, so be sure to stir the batter in between batches.

Serve pancakes with apple sauce, sour cream, maple syrup, or your favorite jam.