In my house, holidays reign supreme. There’s nothing that brings family and friends joyously to our dinner table faster than the thought of heaping portions of foods they’ve come to count on. But this year there’s a catch: Thanksgiving falls on the first day (second night) of Chanukah. This couldn’t be more awkward.
Both Chanukah and Thanksgiving have their culinary challenges. Chanukah, unlike some other Jewish holidays, doesn’t rely upon exotic gastronomic delights for its cultural significance. True, most American Jewish families will eat potato latkes, cheese blintzes, and perhaps a brisket or two. But at the end of the day, this classic eastern European fare has become standard American Jewish deli food. And eating it for eight consecutive nights is far from festive.
On the other hand, our traditional American Thanksgiving sends many cooks running from the kitchen. The mere mention of roasting a turkey can make even a seasoned home chef seriously contemplate ordering takeout. And while almost every Thanksgiving menu places large significance on mounds of leftovers, after four straight days of reheated turkey, most families are happy to wait another year.
Welcome 2013: the year of opportunity. What to do? Back-to-back dinner parties (one for Chanukah, the other for Thanksgiving) would be a logistical nightmare. But having to choose between the two holidays would test even King Solomon. And that’s when it came to me: my two-thousand-year-old Chanukah menu needed new inspiration, and my family was desperately seeking some Thanksgiving leftover variation. This year, we would make a holiday fusion.
And so I give you the menu of Thanksgivukah: featuring all the foods you’ve come to know and love, as they learn to know and love one another:
Sweet Potato Latkes
Turkey Matzoh Ball Soup
Cranberry Glazed Brisket
Apple & Clove Roast Turkey
Matzoh Farfel Dressing
Chopped Turkey Liver & Giblets
Root Vegetable Cheese Gratin
Carrot & Cornbread Kugel
Cheese Blintz & Bread Pudding
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