Gobble Tov! Thanksgiving, Hanukkah celebrated Thursday | VailDaily.com

Back to: Activities & Events

Gobble Tov! Thanksgiving, Hanukkah celebrated Thursday

Pumpkin latkes with spiced cranberry sour cream. Though potatoes have their own symbolism in the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, it is the oil used in the frying that is particularly significant; it symbolizes the long-lasting oil burned in the temple lamps in the story of Hanukkah. And that is why there are so many latke variations, including sweet potato, onion and carrot.

Pumpkin Latkes with Spiced Cranberry Sour Cream

The oil used in frying symbolizes the long-lasting oil burned in the temple lamps in the story of Hanukkah. And that is why there are so many latke variations, including sweet potato, onion and carrot.

From The Associated Press, makes 10 servings.


1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries

2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 small sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and shredded (about 3 cups)

2 eggs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toasted pecans, to garnish


In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add onion, cook until very tender and well browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer onion (reserving skillet) to a medium bowl and mix in shredded pumpkin, eggs, flour, salt and black pepper.

Wipe out skillet used to cook onions. Return it to medium-high heat and add ¼ inch vegetable oil. Working in batches, scoop pumpkin mixture by heaping tablespoonful into pan, 3 or 4 scoops at a time. Flatten each scoop with the back of the spatula and cook until browned on both sides and tender at the center, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Serve with cranberry sour cream and toasted pecans.

Per serving: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 3 g protein; 220 mg sodium.

Actually, it doesn't change how either holiday is celebrated, but as rare events go, it makes the passage of Halley's comet look like small potatoes.

The last time the confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah happened was 1888. This year it occurs Nov. 28, which is the second night of the eight-day Hanukkah celebration.

The next time it will occur? Hold on to your dreidels: By some calculations, it won't be for another 79,043 years, thanks to disparities between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars.

So this will be the nation's final chance to celebrate "Thanksgivukkah" for quite a spell.

“Hanukkah is a great holiday. It doesn’t really revolve around religion. It’s a chance for families to be together and celebrate being in this country.”
Alice Alban
Member of Temple Micah

Turkey and Latkes

That leaves some folks in the Jewish community wondering whether they should make latkes out of sweet potatoes (many do) and dress them up with cranberry relish.

Or not.

"The confluence of the two holidays is not really a huge deal," said Rabbi Adam Morris, who leads Temple Micah in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood. "We'll light the candles and have some fun desserts, like pumpkin doughnuts fried in oil."

Asked about his own Thanksgiving food traditions, Morris laughed. "Eating a lot of it," he said.

"We always do turkey," Morris said. "Sometimes baked, sometimes smoked, sometimes deep-fried, depending on where we are."

Morris has friends in the area who own a horse farm.

"That's where we're going out to," he said. "We'll make a day of it. Ride the horses and cook the food."

The whole notion of "Thanksgivukkah" has been pushed by a number of commercial outlets, notably the good folks at Manischewitz, which sells kosher products such as gravies, matzoh and wine. The Manischewitz campaign got underway a few weeks ago, complete with a ton of social-media outlets and an estimated budget ranging from $2.5 million to $3 million.

So Many Festivities

Alice Alban, a member of the Temple Micah congregation, will celebrate the start of Hanukkah on Wednesday night, lighting the first of the menorah's eight candles, then switch into full-blown Thanksgiving mode on Thursday.

"It makes it a little more fun because lots of festivities are going on," she said. "We'll do turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and vegetables."

Will Alban bake a pie? "I'm not a pie baker," she said. "I'm a pie eater."

Alban enjoys both holidays and the people they bring together.

"Hanukkah is a great holiday," she said. "It doesn't really revolve around religion. It's a chance for families to be together and celebrate being in this country."

Just like Thanksgiving.

Now if only Adam Sandler will come up with a Thanksgivukkah song.

William Porter can be reached at 303-954-1877, wporter@denverpost.com or twitter.com/williamporterdp.