"The best way to get the potatoes ground to the correct texture is to use one of those cheap, $5 hand graters," Ray explains in his latest column.

When we made potato pancakes, a part of us was always included in the recipe.

And I don’t mean love.

You see, the best way to get the potatoes ground to the correct texture is to use one of those cheap, $5 hand graters. Fancy mixers these days have an attachment that grinds potatoes pretty darn good, but purists (mother) would insist on the old-fashioned way.

So we’d sit there and grind these potatoes by hand. And the problems began when you got near the end of the spud and only a small portion was left. Most people would just toss that little piece, but not us; we had to use every bit otherwise we’d hear another tale about the olden days in the old country where the only things they had to eat was a crust of bread and milk soup, if they were lucky. When your fingers got too close to the grinder as your potato piece got smaller and smaller, suddenly the tips of your fingers would get nipped. Then you would walk around for a couple of days with three or four fingertips missing bits of skin.

Naturally it didn’t change the flavor of the potato pancakes because it wasn’t like grinding your fingertips drew blood. Well, maybe sometimes, but not always.

And nobody cared, just like no one said a word when my mom licked her fingers to pinch the ends of the pierogi. You knew what you were getting, so you just shut up and added more sour cream and enjoyed what was on your plate.

The other day I was reminded of this food processing procedure — one that the USDA would certainly haul us away to Sing-Sing if the government ever inspected us — when I noticed the skin on the tips of my fingers had shredded just like the old days.

For some strange reason I decided to refinish our kitchen cabinets. I don’t know what got into me, other than thinking it was something I could accomplish during a week off from work.

Besides, there was nothing else to do since our vacations these days are limited to television viewing and wandering around the neighborhood like a frightened zombie.

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is a lot more work than anticipated. It’s like going to the dentist for a cleaning.

You think it’s going to be quick and easy and all smiles, but then you hear “uh-oh” and the next thing you know it’s a Code Red and you find your gaping mouth the focus of the gingivitis team.

And refinishing is a slow process. It’s not like painting the garage where you can drink beer and slather paint all over the glass windows.

But refinishing means sanding. And it involves sanding in tight, little areas with grooves so running a big, powerful belt sander across the surface won’t do. You have to use your fingers to get into those detailed areas.

Consequently, I sanded off my fingertips. And it made me a little nostalgic as I recalled the old days. So now a little piece of me is part of the kitchen cabinets.

Kinda makes me hungry for some potato pancakes.

Ray Kisonas is regional editor for The Monroe News and The Daily Telegram. He can be reached at rayk@monroenews.com.

Who’s hungry for potato pancakes?