This year, for the first and only time ever in history, Chanukah and Thanksgiving will fall on the same day— November 28th, 2013.
How should you celebrate?
Round up a bunch of pilgrims to play a game of dreidel! Give thanks for being Jewish! Light a feather on the ass of a turkey for eight days and eight nights!
Actually, the way to properly celebrate Thanksgivukah is very simple. Stuff a turkey with farfel. Call it “Jew-rky”. Happy Holidays!
Alright, maybe it’s a little more involved.
Manischewitz, the largest manufacturer of packaged kosher foods since the beginning of time, thought I would be the perfect person to throw a Thanksgivukah dinner for my family and friends, document the festivities and post on my blog for all to see.
“Sure!” I heard myself say. “This will be fun!”
Then I realized I would have to invite ACTUAL PEOPLE. And *gasp* COOK FOR THEM.
I didn’t tell Manischewitz the last time I threw a dinner party was before I had children and was also *ahem* pot luck. I also neglected to mention my contribution was ONE VERY LARGE SALAD.
“Can’t wait to get started on the guest list and dream up some recipes!!!”
Jews are nothing if not resourceful. I called two people to asisst me with my post.
1) My Mother. Someone who cooks with Manischewitz all the time, even though we are not kosher, and even when it’s not the holidays.
2) My good friend, fellow Jew and event planner extraordinaire, Seri (aka Little Miss Party).
With the three of us on the case, I planned a dinner for eight grown-ups (that’s as many as my dining room table can fit), four three-year-olds (who would be sitting at my repurposed coffee table, aka the kid’s table) and two babies. The babies didn’t have a designated table but I figured if I froze some Matzo balls on their pacifiers, it wouldn’t be necessary. Dip the Patzo in cranberry sauce and— VOILA! Thanksgivukah for babies!
Now here’s where it gets complicated.
In order to post about my Thanksgivukah festivities in time for everyone interested to plan their own Thanksgivukah festivities, I had to hold my dinner way ahead of time.
Yes. It already happened. We are in THE FUTURE.
And while I can safely say that I will never throw a dinner party in a NYC apartment for a combination of adults, children and babies again (flashback to Harlow screaming because she’s not allowed to touch anything, while I sneak into the bathroom to down a glass of wine)… I will still call it a success.
I mean, how could anything involving a SWEET POTATO LATKE BAR not be a success???
Seriously. Even if you are not Jewish, everyone deserves a Latke Bar in their life.
Besides the usual suspects, I invited two friends with kids the same age as Mazzy— best selling cookbook author Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen (I imagine cooking for Deb is a little like dating a couples counselor) and Rachel Dratch. Yes, Rachel’s my mom friend now. No, we don’t wear mom jeans together. Unless my old maternity jeans count…
One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Seri’s son Gavin ran up to Rachel and said, “I saw you on TV!” And she said, “On Saturday Night Live?” And he said, “No! On Mazzy’s Mom’s Show!”
So you see, in one world, a very tiny world occupied by a single four-year-old boy, I am the dinner party celebrity. The rest of us know better.
I took my wedding china out of hiding for the second time ever and Seri made menus emblazoned with a turkey on fire. Thanksgivukah had officially begun.
A day before the big event, Mazzy and I made our first mother/daughter Matzo balls from Manischewitz mix and I have to say— it’s the perfect cooking activity for a preschooler. You mix the ingredients, roll the dough into balls and stick it in the fridge.
But because this was also Thanksgiving, we did not use chicken stock for our soup. We made “Apple Pumpkin Soup with Matzo Ball Shooters”.
That’s the Little Miss Party touch. Everything must be in a shot glass.
Manischewitz has latkes you can make out of a box, but Seri and I chose to shred sweet potatoes and mix them with Manischewitz Matzo Meal instead. Chanukah isn’t Chanukah until someone scraps a knuckle on a cheese grater. Then we put all the latkes out on a platter with fixings like sour cream, caviar, chopped shallots, and apple cranberry sauce.
Ever see a grown woman inhale twenty latkes in five minutes flat? I haven’t either. There was no mirror.
1) Shred sweet potatoes into water to keep them from browning (use at least one potato per person).
2) Before cooking, drain ALL the water out.
3) Shred one onion into the mix.
4) Add 2 eggs.
5) Add salt and pepper.
6) Add a palmful of Manischewitz Matzo meal to bind…but don’t add too much! (You can always add more, but you cannot take it away…)
7) Mix until everything sticks together but is still slightly runny. Add more Manischewitz Matzo Meal (slowly) as needed.
8) Heat up oil in a frying pan.
9) Drop a spoonful of the latke mix and fry to brown on each side. Watch them— they burn easily!
10) Drain on paper towel and wipe the pan (carefully— it’s hot!) before starting a new batch.
11) Top with fun stuff like caviar, creme fraiche or sour cream, Manishewitz apple sauce (mix in fresh cranberries for Thanksgivukah) and chives
The GREEN BEAN TAM TAM CASSEROLE was my biggest challenge. I used a recipe I found in the Manischewitz facebook recipe contest, not realizing it was about ten pages long. I just picked it because the picture looked tasty. Thirty minutes later I found myself mixing a roux and only on Step #2.
The best recipe of the night was the super easy Hoseradish Dill Mashed Potatoes.
1) Mash potatoes.
2) Mix potatoes with Manischewitz Hoseradish Dill Sauce.
I knew we had a winner when Deb from Smitten Kitchen asked to see the bottle.
My secret ingredient:
Every holiday must have a bird and Thanksgivukah is no exception. We used my mom’s recipe and stuffed it with farfel. Except not really. We cooked the farfel stuffing separately. (Shhh! Don’t tell, Deb!)
1) Oil the Bird.
2) Hit it with salt and pepper.
3) Stuff its bum with fresh sage, rosemary, and oregano.
4) Stick a few wedges of oranges and slices of onion up there.
5) Douse it with Manischewitz Chicken Stock.
6) Cover it with tin foil.
7) Give it your best guess for cook time and check it like your life depended on it.
8) Serve with Manischewitz Turkey Gravy.
Here’s me pretending to pour the Manischewitz Chicken Broth on the turkey. I really did pour it but if I held the box correctly, the shot would show the back of the box which makes for very poor product placement.
We had one recipe that wasn’t successful and that was the Farfel Stuffing. If I had to do it over again, I’d make the Challah Stuffing from Manischewitz’s recipe contest, which sounds AH-MAZING.
Besides the Manischewitz Macaroons, our guests were in charge of dessert.
Deb brought pumpkin rugelach.
Sorry folks, I have no recipe. I thought they were delicious but Deb seemed unsatisfied. Real chefs are so hard on themselves!
Rachel brought Crushed Gelt Pumpkin Pie.
The recipe is very easy and can be accomplished in two steps:
1) Ask Rachel Dratch to bake you a pumpkin pie.
2) When she walks in the door, grab it from her and crush some chocolate gelt on top.
Then we all ate and drank until our pants didn’t fit anymore. See? Thanksgivukah and regular old Thanksgiving have a lot in common.
Towards the end of the night, when things quieted down, Rachel turned to me and said, “What happened to the kids?”
A quick survey of our apartment revealed four children hiding behind the kitchen counter quietly stuffing their faces with chocolate gelt they found in a carved out pumpkin.
Then the sugar high hit and it was time for everyone to go home.
But not empty handed!
Everyone left with a Manischewitz Chanukah House.
Mazzy and I made ours the very next day. And she has been picking sprinkles off it and stealthily licking the rooftop ever since.
If you’d like to contribute a recipe to the Manischewitz recipe contest, you can find it on their facebook page. You have until November 17th and the grand prize is a $1000 American Express Gift Card along with a whole bunch of Manschewitz products to make your Thanksgivukah a big success.
I bet Tam Tam stuffing would be fantastic if anyone would like to try it.
And you didn’t hear it from me, but Patzos are a shoo-in for the winner!
Anyone else have any Thanksgivukah recipe suggestions?
Thank you to Manischewitz for sponsoring this post. My family has used their products my whole life so I can assure you, the opinions are my own. One day I will tell you Grammy’s recipe for brisket. It involves a whole jar of Manischewitz Marinara.