Mark L. Walberg on his Jewish Childhood | Holiday Traditions| PBS Food
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Holiday Traditions: Mark L. Walberg

Mark L. Walberg

PBS is celebrating the holidays by sharing some of the favorite traditions, memories and recipes that make all of our holidays so very important and special. Each day we will highlight a new story from some of your favorite personalities.

Antiques Roadshow host Mark L. Walberg shares his experiences as a Jewish kid growing up in the South.

As a Jewish kid growing up in a small town in South Carolina, Chanukah was not without its challenges! You had to order your candles ahead of time and it would be really bad if you broke a few because they might not last for all eight nights. Ironic, isn’t that? As an adult, my holiday memories are of my children lighting their homemade menorahs and my wife making the whole house smell of fried potato latkes. I’m a sour cream guy, but the rest of them are all apple sauce!

Cheese Latkes
Learn more about the history of latkes.

I also love sharing in my friends’ Christmas celebrations. We all meet for a pot luck dinner to watch the Christmas parade in our town. We eat and drink and then bundle up (California style — light sweater!) to watch the parade and carolers pass by. It’s so great having everyone home and hanging around the house with nowhere to rush off to. Watching football and eating. And then wrapping it up New Year’s Day with my tradition of homemade collard greens and black-eyed peas. It’s a Southern thang … brings good luck. The greens are for the dollars and peas are for the pennies. It’s about the only time I cook all year!

Cheese Latkes

Food blogger Tori Avey of "The Shiksa in the Kitchen" shares the history of latkes in a guest post on PBS Food.



  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray, for frying


  1. Combine all ingredients except the nonstick oil in a food processor. Process the mixture for about 45 seconds, pausing a couple of times to scrape the sides, until the mixture forms a thick batter.
  2. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking oil and heat over medium. Use a spoon to scoop up the batter, then pour it onto the hot skillet in the size/shape of silver dollar pancakes. Use 1-2 tablespoons of batter per pancake. Spread the batter out into a thin circle after it hits the skillet.
  3. Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown. Test the first latke for doneness and make sure it’s cooked all the way through; if the latkes are browning faster than they’re cooking, reduce skillet heat. Expect some variation in the shape of the latkes, they won't form a perfect circle. Serve immediately.
  4. These latkes can be eaten plain or topped with a drizzle of honey. Other toppings include jam or preserves, sour cream, maple syrup, yogurt or agave nectar.


Gluten Free Note: You can also make these latkes using a gluten free flour substitute mix. They will take a bit longer to brown, but they’ll still taste great!

Yield: 16-18 latkes

Mark L. Walberg is the host of Antiques Roadshow, which airs on Monday nights at 8pm on most PBS stations.

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