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Catholic Recipe: Potato Patties


  • 3 pounds uncooked, pared potatoes, grated
  • 3 pounds potatoes, cooked, mashed
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 quarts boiling salted water
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • Details

  • Yield: 3 dozen patties
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin: Ireland

Also Called: Piogini Pratai

October 31 has a two-fold significance: it is the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and also one of the days on which in pre-Christian times wild masquerades were held in order to frighten the demons away at the approach of the dark evenings of winter.

As vigil of the feast of All Saints, October 31 used to be a day of strict fast and abstinence. This is still reflected in the traditional fare: the meals consist of meatless dishes, mostly made of potatoes.

In the countries of Europe that once belonged to the Roman Empire the custom has survived of eating or giving away apples and serving dishes made of apples. This tradition also spread to neighboring countries: to Ireland and Scotland from Britain, and to the Slavic nations from Austria and Bavaria. It seems to be based on the ancient Roman festival of Pomona, the goddess of orchards and fruits. Since the feast of Pomona was kept on November 1, this observance became part of our Halloween celebrations, such as the familiar custom of "ducking" for apples.


Drain liquid from uncooked, grated potatoes. Combine with mashed potatoes, flour, salt. Mix thoroughly. Divide in 6 equal parts; shape into 36 balls; flatten a bit. Put in 2 quarts boiling water in saucepan. Boil 30 minutes. Remove from water. Dry with clean tea towel. Cool.

Fry bacon. Fry potato patties until very light brown.

Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965
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