Happy Hanukkah. As you light the first candle this evening, remember that “it’s only just begun”!
We know you’ll be busy the first two nights of Hanukkah, what with the turkey preparation and all. On Friday, the third night of Hanukkah, you’ll probably be eating leftover turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce and wishing that you had squirreled away that last slice of apple-caramel pie for yourself. By Saturday, Thanksgiving will be a distant memory, and you’ll still have five days left of Hanukkah. Here are some ways to light up your holiday.
1) If you are sitting on the couch watching football on Sunday, the fifth day of Hanukkah – you could serve up the chosen beer – He’Brew from Shmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga, NY. For this year’s holiday ale, Jewbelation Reborn, they blended 17 different malts, combining complex chocolate for a bittersweet flavor and rye for a spicy note. Here’s a list of where you can buy the brew.
2) If your kids want more latkes, and you’re sick of standing over a pan of hot cooking oil, head to the Kibitz Room in Cherry Hill, where owner Neil Parish says they keep the pans hot so they can make latkes all eight days. In past years, he has sold up to 4,000 latkes (at $1.50 apiece) during the holiday.
3) When our children were little, we used to give them books for at least some of the nights of Hanukkah. They are doing enough reading for school these days, so books aren’t on our list. We do miss the days of browsing the local Borders for the newest children’s books. We can’t even make a trip for old time’s sake, since all of our local bookstores have closed.
We went online and saw that Curious George has a menorah, Elmo has a dreidel, the Hanukkah mice put out the Shalom doormat, and Sammy Spider is still counting the days of Hanukkah. We got an email earlier this week from author and artist Michelle Holtzman telling us about her new book, Mordecai Ben Isaac Ha-Levi & Other Tales. It looks interesting and is geared toward older children.
4) For a family game night for older kids, you could play a couple rounds of the old-school dreidel game and then switch to No Limit Texas Dreidel from Modern Tribe, where you can bet the house on a shin. You could also play the Dreidel Roulette Game from think-yiddish, which sells for $18, of course, on Amazon.
5) On the final night of Hanukkah – Wednesday, Dec. 4 – you could go to the giant menorah lighting at Rittenhouse Square, where there will be donuts, dreidels and a magic show; or if you’re a hipster, you could catch Matisyahu, the Grammy Award-nominated rapper, perform his Festival of Light at the Blockley (3801 Chestnut St.). Uwishunu has a complete list of happenings during Hanukkah week.
The Word Mavens wish you a great holiday.
Filed under: holidays, Jewish holidays, thanksgivukkah | Tags: Hanukkah, holidays, Jewish holidays, menorah, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah, turkey
What would Myles Standish think about playing dreidel right after he finished his pumpkin pie? Would Judah Maccabee enjoy a second helping of candied sweet potatoes?
While these two historical figures are separated by thousands of years, their holiday stories will collide this year. Hanukkah begins on Wednesday night, Nov. 27, erev Thanksgiving. This won’t happen again for almost 80,000 years.
Jewish people everywhere are shmoozing about how to combine the two holidays – because after all, this convergence affects only those who celebrate Hanukkah. By now you’ve probably seen the recipes urging us to try sweet potato latkes and pecan pie rugelach. You might have read about topping your latkes with cranberry sauce or deep-frying your turkey to use some of that holiday oil. The holiday mash-up has been appropriately named Thanksgivukkah.
Buzzfeed, the popular time-sucking, trend-setting, list-making website has covered Thanksgivukkah in many posts recently–detailing everything from sweet potato kugel to pecan pie with a Jewish star lattice top: http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/thanksgivukkah
Retailers are combining the holidays, too. Thanksgivukkah tchotchkes include a kippah adorned with a brass Pilgrim buckle and a turkey-shaped menorah; nine tail feathers hold the Hanukkah candles. Commemorative T-shirts are being printed:
This holiday combo reminds us of the poor child whose birthday falls on December 24; every year he’s stuck with one “special” gift. No wonder hosting just one “special” dinner to celebrate Thanksgivukkah is rubbing us the wrong way. We don’t want to give either holiday short shrift. They are two of our favorites. We’ve hosted many Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holiday get-togethers through the years – when they were separated by weeks. Our families count on us to make a fuss and cook all their favorites for both holidays.
So that’s why we’re considering making a full Hanukkah dinner on Wednesday night. Brisket, potato latkes, sufganiyot, chocolate gelt, lots of menorahs, the whole shmeer. We’ll just have to work around the giant turkey that’s thawing in the back of the refrigerator.
On Thursday, we’ll shake out the tablecloth, empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher, and put them right back on the table. Hopefully nobody will notice that the bottle of wine is half-empty, the butter has knife marks in it, and the big bowl of salad is still covered with plastic wrap from the night before.
This Jewish calendar confusion was less stressful at the end of the summer, when Rosh Hashanah came a full two days after Labor Day. We had a little time in between barbecuing hamburgers and slicing up apples to dip in the honey. Hosting two back-to-back family dinner within 24 hours sounds like a lot of work. Should we invite the same crowd both nights? Shouldn’t they just sleep over? Where would be put them, anyway? And who wants to spend that much time on family togetherness?
We’re starting to understand why hosts are embracing a Thanksgivukkah mash-up. We’ve had a change of heart and we’re on board. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’ve never been afraid to mess with tradition. In past years, we’ve rescheduled Hanukkah to suit our kids’ school vacation schedules. This is the first year we will have enough chutzpah to tamper with an American holiday.
We’re looking at it as a chance to mix it up and invest some new energy into both holidays. We might host a brunch featuring potato latkes with applesauce and turkey sausage. After we go around the table and share what we’re thankful for, we’ll say the Shehecheyanu. Instead of the crystal candlesticks, we’ll light the menorah. We’ll fill our cornucopia centerpiece with chocolate gelt. And we’re going to turn off the football game at halftime so we can play dreidel.
We agree with Rabbi David Paskin, co-head of the Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood, Mass., which he claims is the closest Jewish day school to Plymouth Rock. Rabbi Paskin said that, “It’s pretty amazing to me that in this country we can have rich secular and religious celebrations, and that those of us who live in both worlds can find moments when they meet and can really celebrate that convergence. There are a lot of places in the world where we would not be able to do that.”
Thanksgivukkah is the ultimate convergence of traditions. Interfaith families have to grapple with this kind of challenge at almost every holiday. And besides, if this new holiday works out as well as we think it will, maybe Thanksgiving will last for eight days.
Filed under: culture, jewish food | Tags: butter, chicken fat, cooking, Crisco, fat, kosher, margarine, recipes, shmaltz
Shmaltzy is an adjective (from Yiddish, but it can be found in many English dictionaries) that means overly sentimental or gushingly sweet. As in, “Sometimes I’m in the mood for a good schmaltzy song so I turn my radio to the oldies station.” Shmaltzy usually refers to cultural things, art or music, not food.
But shmaltz the noun, is the Yiddish word for rendered chicken fat. It’s an essential ingredient in Jewish cooking; it adds the flavor to Old World dishes like chopped liver, gribenes (cracklings), and kasha varnishkes (buckwheat grains cooked with bowtie pasta).
In the days before cholesterol concerns and alternative products, most good Jewish cooks collected and saved their own goose or chicken fat to use as shortening in recipes and for frying food, because commercial lard was not kosher.
Thinking about schmaltz got us reminiscing about butter.
Growing up, butter was rare in our homes. Our moms preferred margarine – usually Fleischmann’s – because it was “healthier” for you. We thought margarine was invented in the 1950s, but it turns out it was created 1869 by a French chemist. Prolific cookbook author and cooking maven Sheilah Kaufman wrote in an article entitled “350 Years and Counting: America’s Evolving Jewish Cuisine,” that margarine gave Jewish cooks a way to use a butter-like substance in their meat dishes – and still be non-dairy.
Years later we learned that margarine contained those bad-for-you trans fats and it had the same calorie count as butter. So much for all those years of sacrifice – we could have been eating butter! http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20509217_2,00.html
We also recall seeing coffee-can like tubs of gooey white Crisco vegetable shortening in some pantries. Kaufman writes, “Procter and Gamble advertised it as ‘a product for which the Hebrew Race had been waiting 4,000 years.’ Crisco was introduced in 1911, and it was the first solid shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil. It was non-dairy and could replace butter or animal fat in recipes. Crisco is certified kosher, too. In l933, P&G published a bilingual booklet of Crisco recipes for the Jewish housewife in English and in Yiddish. The photo of the Yiddish Crisco cookbook is on page 8: http://www.crisco.com/About_Crisco/History.aspx
Joyce thought that Crisco was extinct, but Ellen divulged that she uses it for baking — mostly cookies and mandelbread. Today it comes in handy baking sticks that don’t have to be refrigerated and they even make a version just for baking that is “butter flavored” and is yellow, not the strange bright white of old.
To spread on toast, there’s a variety of modern choices. You can use Smart Balance, a “natural oil blend” that includes soybean, canola and olive oils, or Earth Balance, its competitor. Happy that margarine has been defamed, Joyce keeps butter in her fridge. She usually buys the Land of Lakes brand, not the slow-churned, European style Plugrá or the Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter with higher butterfat content. http://kerrygoldusa.com/products/butter/unsalted-butter/
She’s OK with eating butter but who needs extra cholesterol?
We also have PAM “specially formulated, non-stick” cooking sprays – olive oil, butter flavor, and the one with flour that works so well for baking. We no longer have to grease and flour our pan, tapping the extra flour into the sink, but it might be a trade-off with all the chemicals needed to propel that flour into a spray.
We’re nostalgic for the old days – the ones well before our time – when cooks only had a choice between shmaltz and shmaltz. We would have chosen shmaltz. You could always find it in the frozen kosher section of the supermarket, but these days it’s making a come-back. Chefs are taking notice of its great taste. It’s being served in fancy restaurants – like the new gourmet kosher Citron and Rose in Merion, PA Is it only a matter of time before local delis start putting those little jars of creamy, salty, artery-clogging schmaltzy goodness back out on each table?
We could mail order a half-pound of schmaltz (just $6.99) from our on-line friends at Schmaltz Deli in Naperville, Illinois. http://www.schmaltzonline.com/naperville/ We’re pals on Twitter because they like our style and we like their name. But if we ever get to visit them, we have a funny feeling we’d go for the rugelach first.
Filed under: culture, Dictionary of Jewish Words, The Word Mavens, Yiddish | Tags: knipple, pin money, stash, wife, Yiddish
Last week, when we were presenting our Word Mavens program at a luncheon in Voorhees, NJ, a woman blurted out the word knipple. It was one of her favorite words and she wanted to share it with us. We hadn’t heard that Yiddish word in years, and it made us laugh out loud. It’s now at the top of the list of Yiddish words that tickle us – words like ongeblozzen, farbisseneh and farkakteh.
Pronounced keh-nipple (with a hard K), it refers to a small amount of money that a married woman squirrels away.
In A Piece of Her Heart, Sissy Carpey’s autobiographical saga about her Russian Jewish family, she tells a story about her great Aunt Yetta, who gave her some marriage advice – not about sex, but about money: “In Yiddish, Yetta instructed me on how to survive in a marriage. ‘Every woman needs her own knipple,’ Yetta said. ‘No wife should have to ask permission from her husband to buy a dress for a family occasion, a gift for a child, or a piece of jewelry now and then.”
Carpey defines knipple as a “small piece you break off,” like when you’re baking and you break off a knipple of dough to make a cookie. So, it makes sense that a knipple is a small bit of money liberated from a larger, shared joint bank account – a little bit of dough for yourself.
Liz Perle, author of Money, A Memoir, learned about a knipple from her grandmother. “My grandmother went over to her pocketbook, a black patent leather rectangle with a silver clasp that I liked to snap open and shut. Opening it, she took out a $20 bill, folded it twice and handed to me. ‘This is the beginning of your knipple,’ she told me. ‘Every woman needs one. Every woman needs money of her own that her husband never knows about so she can do what she wants. What she needs. Remember that.’”
Where do you hide a knipple? Seymour Gross, a Yiddish lover and friend of Judy Scolnic, Ellen’s machetayneste, recalls that bubbies would wear many aprons, one on top of the other, and they would either hide money in the pockets or tie a knot in the apron and tuck the money in there. He believes that knipple originally meant knot. Other friends, the Getzs, say that the word comes from the Yiddish “knip,” meaning “pinch,” so the fabric is pinched, and then the cash is put into this pinch.
Ellen’s mom has a knipple. She showed its hiding place to her daughters – and taught them the funny word –decades ago. But we can’t tell you where her knipple is.
Erica Manney’s grandmother also advised her to always have a knipple. In her blog “You Should Only Know,” Erica writes, “The knipple is the knot you make in a handkerchief – picture a hobo’s handkerchief with the knipple-knot. You keep your money inside that, just for a rainy day or to buy a little something for yourself.”
We weren’t surprised to learn that knipple has another meaning – it’s a code word for a woman’s private parts, which, like the money, is hidden away. It reminds us of other secret words for vagina that we’ve heard about, such as knish and shmundie.
We had to find out what Leo Rosten, the ultimate Yiddish maven, had to say on the topic. In The New Joys of Yiddish, he wrote that a woman’s knipl (that’s how he spells it) is like her little pushke. Pushke is an old-fashioned term for a little box used to collect tzedakah (money for charity). Rosten says a woman “could spend it as she sees fit, for charity, for a treat for the children, for a special holiday delicacy, or for a small luxury for herself. Often the woman’s pushke was the family’s only emergency fund.”
Jewish grandmothers aren’t the only ones who know about knipples. In fact, the concept of a wife having a little money set aside for her own use – pin money – dates to 1540 when Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, introduced pins to England from France. Pins were expensive, and husbands gave their wives a little extra money – pin money –to purchase these necessities. Ironically, to get money today, you need a PIN when you step up to an ATM – a different kind of pin money.
Even the wife of the President of the United States needs pin money. That’s what Henry G. Freeman, a Philadelphia real estate developer, declared in 1912, when his will established the Pin Money Fund for the First Ladies’ “own and absolute use.” Barbara Bush got $36,000 from the fund; she donated a portion to charity and used an unspecified amount to “do something nice for my grandchildren.” Although her grandchildren don’t call her Bubbie, she surely acted like one.
Neither of us have a knipple. We both earn some money on our own, and we don’t have to ask our husbands before we send a care package to our college kids or buy something new to wear. But after all of this research, the idea of keeping $200 tucked away in our underwear drawer – just for us – sounds like a fine idea. Our bubbies would be proud.
Filed under: calendar | Tags: apples, challah, honey, New Year, resolutions, Rosh Hashanah, shana tova
On the Jewish calendar, the new year – 5774 – is fast approaching: We’ll be celebrating Rosh Hashanah beginning on Wednesday evening, Sept. 4. It feels right to us to start a new year in the fall, with the return to routine, the beginning of the school year, and the change of seasons to cooler weather.
We won’t stay up late waiting for the fireworks display, and we won’t open a bottle of champagne. That’s what you do on the secular New Year – the night of December 31. But we will light candles, open a bottle of wine, and buy a round challah for our Rosh Hashanah dinner.
The custom of eating a round challah, rather than the usual oblong one, is symbolic of the cyclical nature of the years and celebrates the new year rolling in. It’s an example of minhag, a custom that is not mentioned in the Torah or mandated by Jewish law but is followed nonetheless.
It’s not customary to make resolutions for the Jewish New Year, but we’re going to break the mold and put a Jewish spin on the those typical New Year’s resolutions that are always in the news in January. Maybe it’ll give us a head start on all those gym memberships and diet plans that are forgotten by February 3.
Lose 5 pounds: If we pick out and eat only the chocolate shnecken, ask for super lean corned beef, and make the kugel with fat-free cottage cheese, we can surely trim down.
Be less stressed: We are considering signing up for “relaxation with Ronnie” at the JCC, yoga in the park, Pilates with a friend, and meditation. But now we’re stressed about wearing spandex pants and sitting Indian-style on that yoga mat in public.
Spend less money: Sure, we could shop around for the bargain orthodontist, give our kids the hand-me-down SAT book from 1998, and tell them to accept that full-ride scholarship at East Podunk State, but as a friend said, “Would you do that to your darling kids?” We have to find other ways to trim our budgets.
Volunteer for a good cause: By this we mean an official charity, not favors for family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and the Scout troop. Evidently cooking meals for a crowd, taking our mother-in-law to the doctor, shlepping kids to sports practice, and picking up the dry cleaning do not count as volunteer hours.
Drink less: What do you mean by less? Does this include the Wawa iced coffee that we pick up and drink in the car? What about the glass of white wine that we pour ourselves as we make dinner? The bottle was already open. We will vow to drink less Red Bull – we’ve never tasted it and never want to.
Spend more time with family: Do they want to spend more time with us? It’s hard enough to get an answer when we ask them a question. What are we going to do together? We like to go shopping with our daughters, but that will shoot the budget resolution. Spending time with the rest of them? We don’t have the same hobbies, we don’t like the same TV shows, and some of them fall asleep by 10 p.m.
Quit smoking: The only smoke we like is smoked salmon on a bagel with a shmeer of cream cheese. Please, invite us over for brunch. We’re always up for a good fish tray.
We wish all our readers and friends Shanah Tovah – a sweet and happy New Year
Filed under: The Word Mavens, Uncategorized | Tags: chutzpah, Dictionary of Jewish Words, guru, king of steaks, Martha Stewart, maven, prince, titles, Yiddish, Yiddish words
maven: Yiddish noun. An expert or connoisseur, a specialist. A person who considers him or herself to be an expert in a particular area.
When we were looking for a brand name to go with our joint byline, we dubbed ourselves The Word Mavens. We write about Jewish topics and we love words. We like to think we are experts. So, too, are the food mavens who know knishes inside and out, and the simcha mavens who can manage a guest list and book a DJ with ease.
However, these days it seems like everyone’s a maven – and we don’t like it. We get annoyed when the maven’s expertise has nothing to do with being Jewish. Excuse us while we kvetch about it: Mississippi cookbook author Martha Hall Foose is lauded as a “cookbook maven.” If she’s really a maven, shouldn’t there be recipes for knishes and rugelach – not just deviled eggs and skillet-fried corn – in her collection?
June Ambrose is an African-American stylist who works with Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. She has been called a “black fashion maven.” If she’s a maven, she should know what to do when Mariah demands, “No more shmattas. I want to be all fapitzed for the Grammys.”
Martha Stewart seems to be the quintessential maven. She’s been labeled a “media maven,” “homemaking maven,” “food maven,” and “entertaining maven.” She’s the only maven we know who reaches for the ornaments, twinkle lights and pine boughs to decorate her holiday table.
We know that the title of maven is often self-proclaimed, but it didn’t occur to us that there is a world of people doing the same thing with other important titles. Then we did a little checking.
A friend mentioned that her son had studied with a spiritual guru. When we googled the guru to find out his name, we realized that gurus suffer the same fate as mavens. There are loads of self-proclaimed gurus that have nothing to do with the real meaning of the word – a Hindu (or other religion) spiritual teacher.
There are beauty gurus who concentrate on eye shadow rather than not bindis and tech gurus who can bring your computer back to life – but cannot reincarnate your old desktop computer into a MacBook Air. Two women in Sunny Isles, FL, call themselves the Cool Travel Guru Girls. Their Facebook page has 97 likes, but none of their trips are to an ashram in India.
Guru.com is an online job site that boasts it has a global pool of “over 400,000 gurus eager to help with your technical and business needs.” Do they guarantee that you’ll remain spiritually centered when your Excel spreadsheet refuses to load?
After the gurus come a parade of royalty led by Elvis – the King. Lesser royalty include Pat Olivieri, the King of Steaks. His family sandwich business in Philadelphia has held this throne since 1930.
Todd Spanier, the King of Mushrooms in Daly City, CA, traces his royal mushroom lineage to his grandparents, who taught him how to forage for the fungus when he was 5. The King of Falafel – who is New York’s No. 1 food cart vendor – doesn’t even publicize his real name. You have to click on his website to “Contact the King.”
Fewer people claim the title of Prince. Thank goodness the real one – England’s Charles, Prince of Wales – comes up first on Google. Imagine how he would feel if the Prince of Gardening and the Prince of Sandwiches were ranked above him. Note: The Earl of Sandwich is actual royalty; the Duke of Earl is not.
The well-known musician Prince was actually born with that name – although he gave it up for a brief time in the ‘90s in exchange for an unpronounceable symbol. He found that it was no good having a name no one could say, so he reclaimed his royal moniker.
Now that we realize that there are so many other titles up for grabs, we had to ask ourselves, “Do we want to stick with Word Mavens or try something else?” Word Princesses is awkward and evokes Disney characters that can’t spell. Word Queens makes us think we should be on a reality TV show, whipping up evening gowns out of dictionary pages. But guru does have a certain spiritual cache, so we did a comparison:
A maven is loud and boisterous and shouts hello. A guru whispers and prays that you find inner peace. A maven might be all fapitzed, while a guru wears a simple cotton sari. A maven is always up for a nosh – and will bring the babka. A guru will come empty-handed; chances are he’s on a sacred cleansing fast.
We’ll stick with maven.
Filed under: ethnicity, jewish food, Uncategorized | Tags: brisket, Cheu Noodle Bar, Chinese, deli, Hanukkah, Italian, Jewish, Jewish food, matzah balls, Thanksgiving, The Avenue Delicatessen
We’re familiar with fusion cuisine. We like Tex-Mex, Thai-French and even Peruvian-Chinese. Peruvian-Chinese? Chifa, one of the hottest restaurants in Philadelphia, serves this hybrid of Latin and Asian food, a reminder that at the turn of the 20th century, Chinese railroad workers came to Peru and brought their noodles with them. The results: Duck tacos and stir-fried rice with chorizo.
When Jewish dishes are added to the mix, we get downright excited.
That’s why we took a field trip to Lansdowne, PA to check out The Avenue Delicatessen, a Jewish-Italian hybrid. The deli was opened by a young couple – Laura Frangiosa (the Italian one) and Joshua Skaroff (the Jewish one) – who fell in love, got married, and decided to draw on their Italian and Jewish upbringings to open a restaurant. They knew a merger of two longstanding deli traditions would be a successful one.
The Avenue successfully, we think, combines a bunch of our favorite foods. We ordered the Jewish Wedding Soup, in which the mini meatballs common in Italian Wedding Soup cozied up to a giant matzah ball. In the deli case the knishes kept company with an Italian salami. Instead of home fries, potato latkes accompanied the breakfast eggs.
Interfaith friendships and marriages can bear interesting culinary fruit. One of our Italian friends has been married to a Jewish guy for 30-plus years. She learned to cook traditional Jewish foods from her mother-in-law, and when Hanukkah rolls around, she makes latkes with a side of meatballs and gravy.
On the lookout for more Jewish-Italian fusion, we read about Shlomo and Vito, best friends who grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to open Shlomo & Vito’s New York Delicatessen and Pizza Kitchen. That’s the good news. The bad news is that their eatery is in Tucson, AZ, a little too far away for a road trip. The deli serves sandwiches like the Babbling Brooklyner (tongue, turkey and chopped liver on rye) and Vito’s Baby (Italian sausage, provolone, sauteed peppers, onions and red sauce). Sound delicious. Maybe they deliver.
We think Jewish and Italian is a perfect match. Forgive the broad stereotypes, but both of these ethnic groups include people who are loud, family-centered, and love to sit and eat and shmooze for hours, people for whom food plays a central role in life and holiday celebrations. Italians have their Christmas “Feast of the Seven Fishes” with calamari, baccala and other delicacies, while Jews have their Sunday feast of the Four Fishes – nova, kippered salmon, whitefish and a little herring.
Jews are also known to love a good eggroll, and we fondly remember Ginsberg & Wong, a Cherry Hill, NJ, combo Chinese restaurant and Jewish deli that closed in 1994. Joyce’s husband counts a tongue sandwich and an egg roll among his favorite foods. Eating them at the same meal would be heavenly.
Indeed, we thought Chinese-Jewish fusion had died and gone to heaven until we chanced upon the Cheu Noodle Bar, a new Philadelphia restaurant from chef Ben Puchowitz. He’s making magic with all kinds of combinations, but the dish getting all the raves is the one featuring fatty brisket slices, a soft-boiled egg, and a giant matzah ball in a spicy Korean broth. For dessert he offers Bubbie’s banana bread.
This fall, we will have the ultimate fusion opportunity. The second night of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. That’s right – Hanukkah starts Wednesday night, Nov. 27. We are thinking of serving sweet potato latkes with our turkey and garnishing our pumpkin pie with chocolate gelt. On Chowhound, gourmands are already getting excited about this once in a lifetime convergence. They are going to top their potato latkes with cranberry sauce and fill sufganiyot (Israeli donuts) with pumpkin butter. It sounds delicious. We’re in.