Hooray! Hooray! The First of May & Latkes

clearing_skies_pleasant_lakeHooray! Hooray! The first of May … skinny-dipping season starts today. Or something like that! When I was a little girl, my dad recited this little rhyme every year on the first day of May. It made me giggle. I admit, it still does. I was a fan of silliness then and I guess I still am.

Even in northern New England, the days are longer. While hope may be faint, May bring us a vague promise that we can (eventually) stow our turtlenecks and dig out the flip-flops. Yes, longer days fill us with anticipation, even optimism.

So, silly or serious, what does the first of May mean for you? How would you complete the couplet? What will bring you cheer this May Day?

Perhaps gardening season starts for you. I’m doing my sun dance and hope to be outside with my fingers and rake in the dirt this weekend. After all, a warm, sunny, spring day without black flies is nothing short of wondrous. Take advantage while you can! The dreaded beasts will be here in a few weeks.

Or singing at the top of your lungs season? A beautiful day and trees full of buds will do that for you. What will it be; a rousing medley of show tunes? Favorite songs from your college days? Motown? Uptown Girl? Anything by Frank Sinatra? Or the Beatles? The Marriage of Figaro? After all, Mozart’s famous opera premiered on May 1, 1786.

How about demonstration season? Spring has long been the season to paint a protest sign and have at it. A general strike was held in cities across the nation on May 1, 1886. It’s wasn’t the first strike, just the largest. At the time, most factory workers clocked at least sixty hours a week, toiling Monday through Saturday for $1.50 day. The May Day strikers asked for an eight-hour workday.

Too political for you? Then how about kite-flying season starts today? All you need is a breezy beach or meadow, a beautiful kite and a lot of string. It would also be nice if you could find a young friend to help you. A son or daughter, niece or nephew or grandchild should fit the bill. Just think; years from now, he or she will wax poetic about that day at the beach with you and a kite.

Here’s a good one; ice cream season starts today. The only trouble is; New Englanders are famous or perhaps infamous, for eating ice cream year round. So maybe that one doesn’t work so well.

Here’s a sure thing, splash in a puddle season. That April showers bring May flowers thing; that’s a myth. Spring showers pay no mind to the calendar. The only constant about spring in New Hampshire is its inconsistency. One day it’s picture perfect and the next, well, it’s raining. No, make that snowing. Face it, a northern spring is about as reliable as a politician. Oops, sorry about that. What with all these presidential hopefuls popping up faster than a labour of whack-a-moles, I just couldn’t help myself.

Alright, I’ve got it. Hooray! Hooray! The first of May – fun with friends season starts today. Whether you celebrate the sun on a hike or laze over brunch on a cloudy day … have fun with your friends this spring. (If it warms up enough, you may even want to try a little skinny-dipping!)

Hooray and bon appétit!

Latkes are my favorite brunch food …especially if you serve them with smoked salmon and caviar. Don’t forget the champagne. Enjoy!
Serves 4-6

latkes_Salmon_012 pounds red potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive Oil for frying

Sour cream
Smoked salmon and/or caviar
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Put the potatoes in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Drain well. Divide the potatoes in half, put each half into a clean dishtowel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Put the potatoes and onion in a large bowl and, using a fork, toss to combine. Add the egg, flour and baking powder, season with salt and pepper, toss and stir to combine.

latkes_Salmon_02Cook the latkes in batches. Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Drop large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the pan and gently press to flatten. Sauté until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, transfer to an ovenproof platter and set in the oven. Repeat.

Serve the latkes with a small dollop of sour cream, a few (or more) thin slivers of smoked salmon and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and/or a tiny (or not so tiny) spoonful of caviar.

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One Year Ago – Cheddar-Sage Biscuits
Two Years Ago – Peanut-y Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago – Espresso Brownies
Four Years Ago – Lemon Scones
Five Years Ago – Shrimp with Jicama Slaw
Six Years Ago – Pork Mole
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you celebrate spring and the First of May? Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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