Holy Guaca-Latke!

I have a Ph.D. and can talk about such intellectual topics as literary theory and Marxism. At heart, however, I have tastes that are distinctly middlebrow. I read tons of mysteries. I happily munch on popcorn while gazing at movies made for the masses.

And at this time of year, I watch an awful lot of Hallmark Christmas movies.

Although they are generally Christmas themed, these films have surprisingly little Christian content. A Martian might infer that the holiday was about singing, trees, and a guy in a red suit rather than the birth of a special baby.

The films have a little romance, a little humor, and a lot of pretty people. Over the past few years, Hallmark has been introducing more diverse casts. This year has featured Asian-American, African-American, and Latin protagonists.

Hallmark hasn’t managed to bring in any LGBTQ+ heroes and heroines. Nevertheless, it is slowly creating gay supporting characters. I have a feeling one of them will eventually become the focus of one of the stories.

I love these films because I’m a food writer, and they feature food galore. The protagonists prepare holiday meals, bake more cookies than I have seen in my life, and put together an astonishing number of gingerbread houses.

In the world of Hallmark films, everyone can cook, there is no pandemic, every town lights up a huge Christmas tree annually, and every lonely person finds a soul mate. What’s not to love?

A couple of years ago, the Hallmark Christmas movie lineup was expanded to start including other religions, principally Judaism. My father was Jewish, and I light the menorah he inherited from his parents ever year, so I was happy to see Hanukkah featured in these films.

The one with the most interesting food content (to me, at any rate) is called Love, Lights, Hanukkah!

I believe that it actually first aired last year, but since the Hallmark Channel and its sister channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, run holiday content nonstop from late October until the New Year, it can still be found on the lineup.

In this film, heroine Christina is going through a rough time. Her adoptive mother recently died, leaving Christina in charge of a bustling Italian-American restaurant. She has no other family and has just broken up with her boyfriend. Lonely during the holiday season, she decides to take a DNA test to find relatives.

To her shock, she finds several DNA matches living near her. One of them turns out to be the mother who gave her up for adoption. And they are Jewish. Catholic Christina gets a new family and learns about Hanukkah in one fell swoop.

Her birth family is also in the food business; her half-siblings run a sports deli. (I didn’t know there was such a thing, but it makes more sense to me than a sports bar.) For the eight days of Hanukkah, her half-brother is introducing “eight crazy latkes” to his customers.

He doesn’t get to name all of the latkes in the course of the film. There’s a lot of plot to get through, after all. He does mention a few, including (shudder) the “Choco-Latke.” My favorite idea was the “Holy Guaca-Latke,” a potato pancake topped with guacamole. I set out to make my own version of this treat.

My recipe appears below. I found it delicious.

By the way, this Saturday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. pianist Jerry Noble and I will offer a holiday concert at the Federated Church on Route 2 in Charlemont, Massachusetts.

The concert will feature mostly Christmas songs, but there will be some Hanukkah content. And because I can’t resist food in any form, I will sing the song “Grandma’s Killer Fruitcake.”

The concert is free, although donations for Mohawk Trail Concerts will be gratefully accepted. If it snows on Saturday, the concert will take place the following day at the same time.

Whether I see you or not, happy Hanukkah! Have a lovely holiday season.

Holy Guaca-Latkes


for the latkes:

2 large baking potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
chopped fresh chives to taste if available
1 egg, beaten (you may need another one!)
2 to 4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
extra-virgin olive oil as needed for frying

for the guacamole:

3 scallions (green onions), white and some green parts, chopped, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 small jalapeño pepper (more if you like spicy foods!), with the stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
5 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
the juice of 2 limes
3 small, ripe avocados
1 teaspoon salt

for garnish (optional):

sour cream and/or pico de gallo


To make the latkes, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wash the potatoes well. Grate them with a box grater or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Wrap the potato shreds in a dish towel.

Carry it to the sink, wring it out, and allow the potato pieces to drain while you get out the rest of the ingredients and maybe have a cocktail or two.

In a medium bowl combine the potato pieces, the onion pieces, the chives (if you’re using them), the egg, 2 tablespoons of flour, and the salt and pepper. In a large frying pan heat a few tablespoons of oil until the oil begins to shimmer.

Scoop some of the potato mixture out with a spoon and flatten it with your hand. Pop the flattened pancake into the hot oil.

The latkes should be a little ragged. If they don’t hold together and are hard to turn, however, add a little more flour to the batter or even another egg.

Fry the latkes a few at a time, turning each when the first side becomes golden. Drain the cooked pancakes on paper towels and pop them into the oven until you have finished cooking the rest and made your guacamole.

To make the guacamole, combine the scallions, the garlic, the pepper pieces, the cilantro, and the lime juice in a medium bowl.

At this point, you may leave the mixture for a few hours. You don’t have to, however. A few minutes before you want to eat the guacamole, get out your avocados. Slice them in half lengthwise, stopping at the pits.

Separate the avocado halves from the pits, and use a spoon or fork to scoop out the flesh of the avocado. (If there is brown flesh, don’t use it; aim for the light green stuff.) Put the flesh in the bowl with the onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice.

Mash the avocados into the mixture with a fork, adding the salt as you mash so that it is stirred in. You don’t have to mash them too much; a few chunks add to the flavor.

Decorate each latke with a generous dab of guacamole; then throw on some sour cream and pico de gallo if you want to. Serves 6 to 8.

To see videos of this recipe, visit these links: Part I and Part II.

5 Responses to “Holy Guaca-Latke!”

  1. Margery Carlson says:

    Thank you for your latke recipe. And your review of the Hallmark movies which I watched last year and secretly enjoyed – they were a great relief from “Breaking News” including the Pandemic data. I enjoyed them for some of the same reasons that you did or do. The best part for me is they all have a happy ending. I did also enjoy seeing a couple of Hanukkah stories since I have daughters, who like you, have a Jewish father. My mother-in-law used to cook the best latkes, but sadly her recipe went missing & I have not found another I liked as much. Your recipe sounds wonderfully similar, so I will think of my daughters’ grandmother’s kitchen when I make a batch of your Holy Guaca-Latkes. Yum – sour cream & guacamole on Holy Latkes & a Hallmark movie – what could be better!

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    I hope you enjoy them! I found the guaca combination surprisingly good….

  3. Jennifer Scalora says:

    So fun, Tinky!
    Miss you. Happiest Hanukkah and Merriest Christmas.
    If I were within 500 miles I’d be there for the concert on Saturday.
    Break a leg!
    Lots of Texas love ♥️♥️♥️

  4. Roger L. Vierra Sr. says:

    I’m Italian and enjoy your grandmother’s kitchens very much. Keep up the good work and comments. I enjoy your recipes very much…..R.Vierra Sr. 🇮🇹

  5. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank you so very much!

Leave a Reply