My parents arrived in the United States in 1952 after having spent five years living in Paris, France. Even at a very young age, I remember my mother’s reaction to being called “greener,” refugee, Survivor, Eastern European. Somehow I knew that every label was painful, stripping her of her dignity. I am sure she just wanted to be known as Manya, a woman who had parents, siblings, a husband, children, a history, stories to tell, recipes to share.
I remember her telling me that soon after she first arrived in France, when bread lines at the bakery were still common, she and a cousin by marriage, Helen Gerson, stood on line waiting their turn together. Someone in line made an anti-semitic comment to my mother, and this cousin (who herself was not Jewish) turned around and smacked the woman. Years later when I met Helen I of course loved her right away, knowing that she had bravely stood up for my mother, an immigrant.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day and how sad it is that we are once again using labels to define people. I am preparing Shabbat Dinner and thinking about how immigrants are being talked about by our new administration. So in honor of my mother, and Helen Gerson, and every immigrant who made our country great, we are having Potato Taquitos, an appropriate choice because today I stand with Mexico.
1 large Idaho potato
1 Poblano pepper
1 tbsp margarine (pareve)
salt and pepper
10 corn tortillas
Cut potato in half lengthwise and boil in enough water to cover, till very tender. Drain and remove peel. Place potato in medium-sized bowl. Take Poblano pepper and char on top of stove, turning till black on all sides. Place in paper bag, close and let sit for a few minutes. Remove and rub off charred skin , then slice open and remove seeds and dice pepper into small pieces. Add to potato along with margarine ,salt and pepper and using a fork mix well.
Wrap tortillas in either a slightly damp paper towel or place in a tortilla warmer and microwave for 35-40 seconds. Place about 2 tbsp filling across bottom edge of the warm tortilla and tightly fold up like a cigar. Pierce each end with a toothpick to hold together. Heat enough oil in large frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan well and when oil is hot, fry the Taquitos, about three minutes per side. Using a tong makes it easier to work with. Serves 2