Here's help for Julie Bixby ("Great but Messy," Letters, Jan. 21), who loved the Perfect Latke recipe (Dec. 17) but wanted guidelines for a no-mess experience. Use an electric skillet--outdoors. If you want to keep the porch or patio spatter-free, spread newspapers or drop cloths.
No big clean-up campaign--and no oil-smoked kitchen, either. I learned this after a near-disaster umpteen years ago when flaming the brandy for coq au vin.
In response to Julie Bixby's complaint about the greasy mess of the Perfect Latke recipe, I used a nonstick skillet that required less oil. Then I used the frying method spelled out in the low-fat latke recipe. I briefly fried, then baked the latkes.
This not only produced latkes that were not as greasy, but since the latkes were in the oven, they could stay warm until we finished the ones that were on our plates.
LAURIE LEWINSON VALLEJO
My friend Karen Cohn taught me the secret to mess-less latkes. Cook them in an electric wok on a cleared counter. You'll have less spatter and an easy clean-up with a paper towel and spray cleaner of your choice.
I have solved the problem of oil splatter when frying latkes. I drape the area around the frying pan with old kitchen towels and paper towels where no flame is involved. Ninety-nine percent of the splatters are caught--and into the washer the towels go. This has made the cleanup easy. So, fry away and enjoy.
P.S. I use an electric fry pan for best temperature control.
Julie Bixby won't have to wait until next year to learn how to fry potato pancakes or whatever without excessive spatter. It's so simple: Use a Dutch oven. Its deep sides confine the oil.
For those of us who have a single lever controlling both hot and cold water in our kitchen sinks, easier and more natural than Sylvia Colton's precautionary use of a paper towel to cut down contamination while preparing raw chicken and controlling water flow ("Wash, Then Read," Letters, Jan. 21) is the use of one's forearms. With dual controls, one could turn the water on low before handling raw chicken or simply use a bowl of sudsy water. You can see I hate to waste paper towels.
HAROLD G. SCHICK Jr.