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Giving Chanukah Her Space

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Giving Chanukah Her Space photo

You would have to be hiding under a slow cooker filled with cholent to not have heard about Thanksgivukkah. If not, congratulations, you are the last to know that Chanukah and Thanksgiving are happening at the same time this year. While part of me is excited for this gratitudepalooza, I can’t help but want to send Chanukah to group therapy.

Isn’t it time she had her own identity? First it was the Chanukah bush, now it’ll be turkey beak-shaped dreidels. I know this combo is a rare occurrence that should be honored, but if I see one more menu list for the magical blending of these holidays I’m going to start throwing sweet potatoes from rooftops.

Yes, turkey menorahs are cute and there is nothing that compares to the deliciousness that is a sweet potato latke. I get that both holidays are about love and light – I just wish that Chanukah got to stand on her own.

Maybe I’m just cranky about the combo because I’m a Jew by choice. I didn’t grow up with Chanukah traditions – I’m learning how to make the holiday my own. Comparing Chanukah to Christmas makes me restless because I’m still trying to separate myself from Christmas. It’s like a really long, incredibly stressful break-up.

Just when I’m starting to get the hang of how to manage the split? We’re aligning Chanukah with Thanksgiving. It’s too much for my new Jewish heart to bear.

I need my holidays to be separate and equal. I need a Thanksgiving celebration that is full of turkey and cornbread stuffing and pumpkin pie. I also need a Chanukah Party with my mother-in-law’s latkes that she has been making forever. What I’m saying is I need a little Jewish Holiday mutual exclusivity. Surely I can’t be the only one.

As usual I am turning to my favorite kitchen friend Ina Garten to help me focus my Chanukah menu. She has a recipe for applesauce fit for whatever sort of holiday dinner you have planned this year.

2 large navel oranges, juice and zest of
1 lemon, juice and zest of
3 lbs granny smith apples (about 6-8 apples)
3lbs sweet red apples (about 6-8)…I used honey crisps
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl. Peel, quarter and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice. Pour the apples, reserved apple peel and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and allspice and cover the pot. Bake for 1 hour or until apples are soft. Remove and discard the apple peel. Mix with a whisk until it’s as smooth (or chunky) as you like. 

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