Writer, cooking teacher, television host, and author of an award-winning book, Amelia Saltsman is passionate about getting everyone into the kitchen.


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The Great Thanksgiving-Hanukkah Mashup of 2013

Thanksgivukkah tablescape Whether or not you’re Jewish, you likely know that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are about to meet like two astroids on a 70,000-year collision course. If you are celebrating Thanksgivukkah this year, change the letters on your dreidel to reflect a new miracle: A Great Turkey Happened Here.

It’s not that the two holidays have never occurred in proximity to one another in our lifetime, but never quite like this. And due to something called calendar drift, the likelihood of this particular reoccurrence has widened to, well, basically never.

But let’s be honest; this mashup doubles a cook’s stress. Luckily, we’ve got options. The Thanksgiving produce palate–orange, white, green, yellow–is eminently tweakable. In fact, it’s a tradition to work one’s culinary heritage into the holiday menu: rice, kimchi, salsa, and beans have all graced Thanksgiving tables in the diaspora. It’s an easy switch from sweet potato casserole to this modern-day tzimmes for your orange side–carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried plums roasted in orange juice. It’s a basic reconfiguration of ingredients sans the marshmallows.

Parsnip latkes with smashed apples Amelia Saltsman

Depending on how many people will be sharing the meal (and the cooking), you can sub in potato or parsnip latkes as one of your sides. In my house, mashed potatoes and gravy is sacrosanct and so is pumpkin pie. Plus, we’re two-dozen strong. I did the math–how many burners, pans, hands, and hours there are in a day–and realized frying potato pancakes or pumpkin sufganiot (doughnuts) for a crowd won’t work, no matter how many millennia it will be before this rolls around again. Best course of action: an effortless tablescape of seasonal bounty, dreidels, and gelt, and an appetizer of mini-parsnip latkes and a glass of bubbly to mark the moment.

There’s another approach to consider. If, like some kids, you don’t want all your foods to touch, you’ve got seven other nights to celebrate Hannukah.

My favorite pumpkin pie

Here are more delicious recipes to get you through the day:

  • Modern-day tzimmes: A fabulous orange vegetable dish by any other name is still a great Thanksgiving side.
  • My Favorite Pumpkin Pie: This classic custard pumpkin pie takes less than 30 minutes to put together and can be baked a day ahead of serving it.
  • Roasted Autumn Fruits: An easy gluten- and dairy-free dessert that can be served hot or cold and beautifully captures the cornucopia essence of the day.

8 comments on “The Great Thanksgiving-Hanukkah Mashup of 2013

  1. La Cienega Farmers' Market on said:

    As expected, you have all the tips and answers. We at the La Cienega Farmers’ Market would like to say just how grateful we are to you, Amelia, for all of your support, and all of that which the public does not see.

    Cynthia Ojeda

    • Amelia Saltsman on said:

      Dear Cynthia,what a lovely gift you’ve just given me. I’m so thankful to be a part of the farmers’ market community and to know dedicated market managers like you who work so hard to bring great farmers and consumers together. Have a lovely holiday!

  2. marcia Brockman on said:

    Thanks for the recipes Amelia,
    Hope you and your family have a great Thankakuh !
    I miss you,
    xo Marcia

  3. Greg Patent on said:

    This year we’re celebrating Thanksgivukkah on Kauai with our Chicago son, his wife, and our three grandsons. How neat is that? And I was able to order a local organically-raised turkey.

    • Amelia Saltsman on said:

      Greg, your holiday sounds like its own kind of geographical mashup! A Kauai Thanksgiving will feel VERY different from one celebrated in Montana. BTW, have you been following the extraordinary story of the Iraqi-Jewish archives? I’ve included a couple of links in my mixed media column on the right. Let’s talk!

  4. Joan Isaacs on said:

    I love the table setting! I may emulate!

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