By Merle Exit
Glad you’re enjoying the piece.
Light the menorah candles with colors of orange and brown as we celebrate an unusual Jewish holiday: Thanksgivukkah. The Hebrew year 5774 has the first day of Hanukkah falling on the American holiday of Thanksgiving Nov. 28. How can you combine the two?
Start with the kosher turkey, the food that takes the longest to cook. If it is not as important to have a kosher turkey, then buy one that has not been fed additives. Kosher the fowl by blanching it in boiling water with kosher salt.
Prepare the stuffing. Thank goodness the first night of Hanukkah falls the night before Thanksgiving. That challah bread that you bought? Let some of it get a bit hard. There are more than a hundred recipes for stuffing or dressing. Just make sure a sausage stuffing does not involve one made with pork. Deep frying the turkey would remind us of the burning oil. In case you are already wondering, the Jews formed a group known as the Maccabees against the Assyrians who were forcing them to worship the Greek gods or be killed. The Maccabees had only enough oil to burn for one day and the miracle was that it burned for eight, which is why there are eight candles on the menorah.
As much as you are addicted to grandma’s chicken soup, opt for one made with butternut squash using a kosher chicken stock or make your own using the turkey neck. If a guest requests the neck during the meal, tell them Elijah stopped by for a nosh. See if the person realizes which holiday it is. If they are still looking like a deer staring into headlights, say “Have a piece of challah bread. There’s no maztoh.”
Chopped liver is a must. There is no way you can substitute turkey fat for chicken fat. How friendly are you with your butcher? If you can’t get chicken fat, make sure you fry the chicken livers and onions in oil to remind us. What’s more important is that the chopped liver is in the shape of a turkey head with a sign nearby reading “What am I, chopped liver?”
Make use of sweet potatoes by using them for the latkes that must be fried, remember? Prepare a compote of cranberries and apples for the sauce. Don’t fry any of it. How about a sweet potato kugel? Can’t use butter. I guess you will have to make it with oil.
You will certainly need to make a salad to help digest the food. Throw in some pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Get out some balsamic vinegar. When they ask for the oil, tell them there is no more left and say, “I’m thankful we don’t have to put wax in all the meals.”
Sundown begins with lighting the menorah and a prayer over the wine. Ask a guest, “Would you like a little wine?” Upon hearing yes, say, “Oy, I’m so tired from cooking this meshuggeneh meal.” “Wine” sounds like “whine” and “meshuggeneh” means “crazy.”
Now, before you fall asleep from the tryptophan, play with the dreydl. Fabricate one by carving out a gourd. Make sure you have a pointed bottom and the four Hebrew letters, which are also numbers. Take a few long sweet potatoes and cook them so they are not too soft. Cool, slice and dip in chocolate for the “Thanksgivakkuh Gelt.”
Now sing “The Dredyl Song” with the following words: “I have a little dredyl. I carved it from a gourd. This year bring us Thansgivakkuh. And gelt I could afford.”
Don’t bother cooking dessert. Buy some pints of Graeter’s ice cream. It is certified kosher. By the time you get to eating it, enough time will have elapsed between eating meat and dairy. Fairway Market in Douglaston carries a variety of this most delicious, no-palm-oil treat.
If the above gave you chuckles and you don’t want to cook, take advantage of Fairway’s catering menus. You can opt for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah (kosher-style) or a totally kosher meal for the combination of the 50 or so people that you would have spent both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with.
A tasting of its Thanksgiving menu was offered to shoppers recently and included two soups, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and two pies. No challah bread or chopped liver was offered. Find the menus at fairwaymarket.com.
Have a happy holiday and always recall the chant of Jews everywhere: “We fought. We won. We eat.”