Perhaps you have heard the news: this year, for the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving falls on the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The convergence of these two holidays — which has been dubbed Thanksgivukkah — is huge for food lovers. Potato latkes meeting turkey and sweet potato casserole — it is almost too much goodness to take.
This once-in-a-lifetime occurrence is not scheduled to happen again for 70,000 years (seriously) so let's rock it. We shared some great menus from favorite chefs and experts, and now here are just a few more tips for making the most of this year's Thanksgivukkah celebration.
Hanukkah typically rolls around in mid or late December, but because the Jewish calendar is lunisolar while the Gregorian calendar is completely solar, the specific date varies from year to year. This calendrical phenomenon won't happen again for 70,000 years!
Buy a Menurky
At the center of every Hanukkah celebration, there's a menorah — the nine-branched candelabrum (8 candles for the holiday, plus one meant to light the others) that is lit each night of the holiday.
This year, in honor of Thanksgivukkah, a 9-year-old genius named Asher Weintraub created the Menurky, a fun, turkey-shaped menorah that brings the two holidays together in style (pictured at the top of the post). Order one for your table — or, if you prefer to go the DIY route, dig out candle-sized holes in a long sweet potato (trim the bottom so it sits flat on the table) and go au naturel.
Garnish with Gelt
Dazzle your Thanksgiving guests with gelt — the silver and gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins that are traditionally traded, shared, and eaten on Hanukkah. Scatter them across your table as an edible decoration.
If you like to make a cornucopia for your table centerpiece, tuck a few glinting coins into the mix of squash and gourds. You can also use gelt to garnish desserts. They are particularly lovely (and tasty) topping bourbon pecan pie.
Deep Fry Your Turkey
Over the last several years, deep-frying has become an increasingly popular turkey cooking technique. Fans swear a dip in bubbling hot oil renders the bird ultra moist with extra flavorful skin. Foods fried in hot oil are an essential part of Hanukkah, so if you love the idea of deep frying a turkey, but have never quite gotten up the nerve to try it out, Thanksgivukkah offers the perfect excuse to take the plunge. (Pun intended!) Here's how it turned out when my friends and I gave deep frying a go in a Brooklyn backyard a few years back.
Skip the Applesauce
Hanukkah latkes are typically topped with sour cream and applesauce. After all, in the depths of winter, there is little better than a hot potato pancake smothered in tangy sour cream and tender, seasonal cooked apples. Unless it's Thanksgivukkah. This year, swap out the applesauce for your favorite cranberry sauce.
Whether you prefer it canned or homemade, raw or cooked, jelled or whole berry, a dollop of cranberry sauce will add a sweet and mouth-puckering twist to this year's latkes.
Mix up your Menu
Not surprisingly, the blogosphere has gone Thanksgivukkah-crazy, which means you can too. Check out these recipes and menus inspired by the unique holiday convergence.
- Buzzfeed created an elegant-looking menu that includes recipes for challah apple stuffing and a Manischewitz-Brined Roast Turkey, among other goodies.
- MyNameisYeh cooked up a Latke Pumpkin Pie (pictured above) that, no joke, features a crunchy-edged latke crust.
- Food52 came up with the Thanksgiving Double Down, a classic leftover turkey sandwich made with turkey schmaltz-fried sweet potato latkes, cranberry applesauce, shaved brussels sprouts, and schmaltz-cider vinegar. It comes with a side of gravy for dipping, of course.
- Serious Eats answered the call with a wild creation: a latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritter with a liquid cranberry core and turkey schmaltz gravy. This is no joke, friends.
- Not Derby Pie fried up some beautiful Ginger-Allspice Latkes with Cranberry Applesauce.
Do you have big plans for Thanksgivukkah this year?
(Image credits: Menurkey.com; Molly Yeh)