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The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgivukkah – Part 1

November 21st 12:11pm, 2013

{The traditional Thanksgivukkah menurkey. Yes, really.}


A giant inflatable dreidel balloon will make its first appearance on the streets of Manhattan during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The Hanukkah toy is featured in honor of something you may have heard about: this year’s rare overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, dubbed Thanksgivukkah by the Internet population.

People are making a giant fuss over the fact that the first of Hanukkah’s eight-day stretch lands on Thanksgiving Day. The two holidays haven’t coincided since 1918 and won’t again until 2070, say those who know such things. What’s more, the next time the first day of Hanukkah is scheduled to land on Thanksgiving is 78,000 years hence, should humanity survive to that point.

Thanksgiving is already an overload of too much food, but for families who celebrate Hanukkah with traditional fried treats like potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, it will be that much more decadent. A number of chefs, bloggers and crafters have taken to the Internet to unleash their shotgun amalgams of traditional Jewish and Thanksgiving tropes (Have you bought your “menurkey” yet?) to make the holiday a fried, sweet potato-filled, doughnut-y freak show. And many of the over-the-top dishes actually sound fantastic.

Earlier this month, Boston pop-up restaurant Kitchen Kibitz, which spotlights modern Jewish cuisine, offered mash-ups of “traditional Jewish foods with elements inspired by New England’s autumn season: think pumpkin-seed challah, sunchoke latkes with sugar beet and pumpkin sauce, and pecan pie rugelach with chocolate gelt.”

L.A.’s Dog Haus hot dog eateries are offering the Thanksgivukkah Dog, “a smoked turkey sausage mixed with bits of whiskey-soaked cranberries and brown-sugared sweet potatoes, then topped with tater tots – signifying latkes – and drizzled in apple-raspberry compote.” Website Serious Eats dropped the obscene “latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritters with liquid cranberry cores and turkey schmaltz gravy.”

Requisite doughnuts to be found include the savory, such as pumpkin-flavored doughnuts stuffed with turkey and your choice of cranberry sauce or gravy sold by a Manhattan bakery, and the sweet, like sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallow filling. Need chocolate? Gobble up chocolate coins wishing you “Gobble Tov.” And taking the foodie fetish to its natural conclusion, another site has provided a helpful Thanksgivukkah beer pairing recommendation list.

Here at home, local chefs have crafted their own Thanksgivukkah creations, even if some haven’t made it to the plate just yet. The Libertine executive chef Josh Galliano said if pressed into service, he’d contemplate a kugel with seasonal persimmons or an ambitious turducken made with layers of matzo-meal stuffing.

River City Casino & Hotel executive chef John Johnson dreams of turkey Benedict made with a sweet potato latke in place of the English muffin, an apple pie with top crust of a transformed kugel, and mincemeat folded into the dough of a swirled challah. He said he intends to make sage-flavored jelly doughnuts filled with cranberry sauce and served with turkey and gravy this week.

The ever-creative executive chef Liz Schuster of Tenacious Eats said she whips up a challah stuffing for her family turkey that also incorporates Missouri black trumpet chanterelles, roasted shallots, garlic, toasted fennel seed, fresh sage and rosemary. She also wraps turkey legs in fresh sage leaves, turkey bacon and collared greens, then braises them in beef stock before dousing with a demiglace of Bing cherries, apricots, golden raisins and cranberries. The Jewish aspect of the latter dish, she said, is that the turkey bacon and the kosher beef bullion cubes she uses make the entire dish kosher. Schuster also has made a savory root-vegetable bread pudding with a challah base using oven-roasted shallots, mirepoix, caramelized mushrooms, custard and fresh thyme.

She has designs on matzo ball soup made with roasted root vegetables, a challah pumpkin French toast topped with toasted pecans and maple syrup, a baked apple pie with a rugelach streusel atop it, and a wild caprese dish using latkes stacked with cheese, tomato and sage.

Dreaming of your own sweet potato latkes and challah dressings? Inspired to tackle Thanksgivukkah in your own home? Check out part 2 of our Ultimate Guide for recipes, drinks and even decorating ideas. It’s gets deliciously weird.

-photo courtesy of Menurkey.com




By Byron Kerman

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