From Across America

Appetizer- Potato Pancakes


4 cups mashed potatoes (better to use day old mashed potatoes)

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 egg

1/4 cup flour


Mix all ingredients together. Use an ice cream scooper to pick up mixture and drop on an oiled grill or iron skillet. Cook until 1 side browns. Then flip it over and press patty down. Cook other side until it browns. Cook on each side for 5 to 6 minutes.

Potato pancakes are a common food to eat in the Jewish culture, wherein they are called latkes and are eaten during Hanukkah. Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist and author of QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, grew up in Manhattan in a Jewish household. Potato pancakes serve as a great appetizer because they are small, easy to eat, and prepare the consumer for the much larger meal to come.

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Main Dish- New York Reuben


  • 8 slice(s) rye bread

  • 4 teaspoon(s) coarse-grain prepared mustard

  • 1 pound(s) corned beef, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 pound(s) Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounce(s) sauerkraut, drained

  • 1/2 cup(s) Russian Dressing

  • 1/2 tablespoon(s) butter


On a work surface, place 4 slices of rye bread and spread each with 1 teaspoon mustard. Layer each bread slice with 1/4 pound corned beef followed by 2 ounces Swiss cheese and 2 ounces sauerkraut. Spread 2 tablespoons Russian Dressing on the remaining 4 slices and place dressing-side down on top of sauerkraut. In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. When butter begins to sizzle, place sandwiches in the pan and toast until golden brown -- about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn sandwiches over and continue to toast for 3 to 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.

This menu choice fits well with the book, The Captain, because it is a very popular food throughout New York. The main character, Derek Jeter, was born and spent much of his summers just outside of New York City. Derek eventually went on to play baseball for the New York Yankees, and continues to live much of his life in New York City.

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Side Dish- Mexican Corn On the Cob


4 ears corn, shucked

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

4 wedges lime (optional)


Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill. Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and serve with a lime wedge.

This dish would be relevant to the book To Heaven and Back because the main character, Mary C. Neal, grew up in Michigan, but then spent some time as a child in Mexico helping at a Medical Clinic. Mary loves to be outside and enjoy the outdoors and what the outdoors provides for humans so using corn in our menu would make her very happy.

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