Thanksgivukah comes but once in several lifetimes (according to conservative estimates) and it seems everyone is keen to celebrate today’s rare collision of American holiday Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah.
Some of you may have heard this “frankenword” crop up in the last few weeks and, for bemused British Jews, might make you wonder what exactly is going on and why some of your favourite Jewish chefs and celebs are jumping on the new holiday.
So where did it come from?
According to the Thanksgivukah Wikipedia page (yes, it has a Wikipedia page) the term itself was coined by a Boston resident who pointed out to her rabbi that the two holidays fall on the same day, then promptly created Facebook and Twitter accounts for this new holiday blend and even went so far as to trademark the term.
And the name? Some have noted that Chanksgiving might have been a less awkward term and many point to the made-up holiday Chrismukkah last seen in millennial teen drama series The O.C…
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And from these inauspicious beginnings last spring, Thanksgivukah has grown and grown and captured the attention of Buzzfeed, master satirist Stephen Colbert and Will Ferrell‘s Funny Or Die comedy website (videos below). Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has also announced that he plans to pronounce Nov. 28 “Thanksgivukah Day” in the city where the holiday was born.
Chefs have jumped at the new chance to cook up food combos that represent both holidays, with some predictably weird results.
And as you may have guessed from a dedicated feature from a London-based newspaper, Thanksgivukah is even finding a niche in British Jews wanting to make the most of “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for challah stuffing, turkey-shaped menorahs and latkes with cranberry applesauce.
So prepare yourselves for an audio-visual guide to the newest Holiday around…. Thanksgivukah.[divider]
Sweet Potato Latkes (from thanksgivukkahboston.com)
Makes 12 to 15 latkes
1½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled | 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 large), peeled | 1 large onion | 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed | 4 scallions, light green and white parts minced | 2 large eggs | 1 tablespoon brown sugar | Pinch cinnamon | 1 tablespoon salt Canola oil for frying Sour cream and applesauce, for serving|
1. Line a sheet pan with two layers of paper towels and set aside. Grate sweet potatoes into large bowl.
2. Grate Yukon Gold potatoes and onion into medium bowl. Spread over paper towel-lined sheet pan and roll. Hold over small bowl and squeeze to drain. (Don’t discard liquid.) Once potatoes and onions are relatively dry, transfer to large bowl with sweet potatoes. Add flour, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. Take exuded potato liquid and pour out liquid on top, reserving starch at bottom of bowl. Add starch to other ingredients in large bowl and mix to incorporate.
3. Line sheet pan with another double layer of paper towels and set aside. Heat ¼-inch depth of oil in cast-iron pan or nonstick 12-inch skillet until shimmering. Carefully place five ¼-cup mounds in oil and spread with spatula into round disks. (Mixture should sizzle as it hits the pan.) Fry until latkes are golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Transfer to paper towel-lined pan to drain. Serve hot, passing sour cream and applesauce.[divider]
Challah Stuffing (from thanksgivukkahboston.com)
10 cups challah, cut into ½-inch cubes | 2 onions, diced | 7 celery stalks, diced | 2 10-ounce packages button mushrooms, minced | 2 tablespoons oil, divided | 2 Gala apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces | 2 teaspoons thyme, minced | 2 teaspoons sage, minced | 2 cups vegetable broth
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spread challah cubes onto two sheet pans in one layer. Toast, stirring every 10 minutes, until bread has “staled,” about 45 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl and set aside.
3. In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with vegetables.
4. Add challah and apples. Stir in broth, thyme and sage. Mix to combine.
5. Butter or grease 13×9 baking dish. Transfer stuffing to pan and bake until top is brown and crisped, 45 minutes to an hour.[divider]
Watch Stephen Colbert’s take on Thanksgivukah…
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And Kroll Show star Nick Kroll’s satirical look at the “manufactured conflicts” of Thanksgivukah with this wonderful fake terrible movie trailer for Funny Or Die…
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