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.
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.
Here are more delicious recipes to get you through the day:
- Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pecan Salad: The perfect refresher to rich holiday foods.
- Roasted Smashed Apples: Better than applesauce for any kind of latke and so much easier to make.
- 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.