We’re about to experience something that hasn’t happened since 1888 and, according to people who are far better at math than I am, it won’t happen again for 77,798 years. No, I’m not referring to Joan Rivers leaving the house without a full face of makeup — I’m talking about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah occurring on the same date.
So, what does that mean for those who celebrate both? For answers, I went to an expert: my mother-in-law, Lisa, who grew up in a kosher household and has hosted numerous fabulous Thanksgiving dinners catering to a group of omnivores and vegetarians alike. And, I was happy to learn that combining the two holidays into one celebration isn’t quite as intimidating as it sounds.
“Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are both about just — that giving thanks for something,” she said, explaining that, in the Jewish faith, the celebration focuses on the fact that the small amount of oil the Jews had to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem lasted for eight days, which is why so many traditional Hanukkah foods are fried.
Potato latkes are one of the most familiar Hanukkah foods (and they are delicious), but you don’t have to stick with just regular potatoes to make them — you could make latkes with shredded carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes seasoned with any of your favorite spices. Dress them up with applesauce, cranberry sauce, mangoes or whatever sauces or fruits you like.
Keep in mind that, if you’re trying to keep a truly kosher Hanukkah table, dairy and meat cannot be served at the same time. Therefore, even though sour cream is admittedly scrumptious with latkes, you shouldn’t serve it if you’ve also got a turkey or brisket. (Unless, of course, you go with a dairy-free version like this one.)
As long as you follow the rules of a kosher table and incorporate your favorite Thanksgiving foods and ingredients (think sweet potato latkes in place of casserole, perhaps making the traditional Hanukkah rugalach with cranberries and using challah bread in your stuffing), you’ll be set to celebrate both.
But, if you’re looking for a little more festive fare, well, my mother-in-law found a doozy for you! This Serious Eats recipe for Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Schmaltz Gravy is sure to impress everyone at your Thanksgivukkah table.
Basically, this mixes some of everyone’s favorite things about both holidays — stuffing and cranberries from Thanksgiving with latkes and Schmaltz gravy — into one seriously awesome dish. Get the full recipe over at Serious Eats.
How many of you are planning to celebrate both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving? How many of you just want to try the latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritters? —Kristen