The following is my mom’s version, passed on by her mother, Minnie Rosenkranz, who hailed from Shnyaten (actually, one doesn’t “hail” from a place like Shnyaten so much as flee from there). Shnyaten (rhymes with “rotten”) is a small town near Bukovina that’s been volleyed between several countries since my grandmother left (at that time, it was “part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,” as she was wont to sniff). To read sociohistorical background on that time and place, check out the classic Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories, by Gregor von Rezzori. To taste it, cook the following.
- 1Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.
- 2Peel the potatoes and submerge them in a pot of cold water. Grate the onions through the large holes of a box grater; set aside (or electric meat grinder—do not use a food processor). Grate the potatoes, removing each potato from the water as needed, through the large holes of the box grater.
- 3Place the onion and potato mixture in a clean, lint-free dishtowel and squeeze out liquid (stop squeezing when water begins to drip rather than stream).
- 4Place the potato mixture in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, matzoh meal or flour, baking powder, salt, season with pepper, and stir to combine.
- 5Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until golden brown on top, about 1 hour.
Note: Leftovers are good cold or reheated, but after a couple of days, crumble up the remaining kugel and cook it with scrambled eggs.