Guest Host: Marc Fisher

It’s a Twitter hashtag, a t-shirt, a Wikipedia page and now a holiday coming to your dinner table: Thanksgivukkah. For the first time since 1888, Hanukkah begins on Thanksgiving Day, and won’t do so again for another 70,000 years. The rare alignment has chefs and food companies alike salivating over new, delicious ways to combine traditional foods from each holiday. Turkey stuffed with challah? Latkes as appetizers? Cranberry babka? We dive into this culinary convergence and find out how you can create a tasty Thanksgivukkah table.

Guests

  • Paula Shoyer Pastry chef; Author, "The Holiday Kosher Baker"
  • Michele Kayal Editor, American Food Roots; regular contributor on food and culture to the Associated Press
  • Bonny Wolf Editor, American Food Roots; Editor of NPR's Kitchen Window; Commentator, Weekend Edition

Unique Ways To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah

From blended Thanksgiving and Hanukkah menus to DIY decorations, Thanksgivukkah is bringing out the creativity among its celebrants. We asked our listeners how they’re marking the once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Fruit-filled doughnuts, sweet potato noodle kugel and challah stuffing are going to be part of many Thanksgivukkah menus. And all manner of latkes — turkey fat-fried latkes, latke stuffing, traditional potato latkes along with mashed potatoes — will be represented. One family’s dinner table will even feature a “Challurkey,” a special challah bread in the shape of a turkey. To accompany the feast, some listeners said they’re filling cornucopias with dreidels or gelt, and mixing festive autumn decor with custom menorahs. Finally, many listeners said they’ll be using the holiday as an extra special time to think about what they’re thankful for.

Get more decor, favors and menu ideas in the photo gallery below.

Thanksgivukkah Recipes


nutmeg doughnuts

Nutmeg Doughnuts With Cranberry Curd Filling

Yields two dozen doughnuts.

For the doughnuts:

2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 oz. total)
1 1/2 cups milk or unflavored soy milk, heated to 115°
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing (for non-dairy doughnuts, substitute corn oil or Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg plus 3 egg yolks
4 3/4 cups (1 lb. 5 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
Canola oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups cranberry curd, for filling (see below)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For the cranberry curd:

3/4 pounds (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks (for non-dairy, use Earth Balance or coconut oil)

Make the doughnut dough: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add yeast mixture, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, egg, and yolks; beat until combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the cranberry curd: In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, 1/4 sugar, and water on medium. Cook until cranberries have turned completely soft and there are no whole pieces left, adding water by the tablespoon if cranberries stick to the bottom of the pan. Push the mixture through a strainer.

Add a couple inches of water to the pot of a double boiler and set over medium heat. Put egg yolks, butter/oil, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of the double boiler and whisk to combine. When sugar has dissolved completely, remove bowl from heat and add the cranberry puree by the spoonful, to temper the eggs. When all rhubarb has been added, set bowl over pot; the water should be simmering. Continue stirring the cranberry mixture; after about 5 minutes, the mixture will be warm and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and again press through a strainer — this will give your curd that smooth, pudding-like texture.

Finish the doughnuts: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14″ round about 1/2-inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch ring cutter, cut dough into 20 rounds; gather and reuse scraps. Transfer rounds to lightly greased parchment paper—lined baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a 6-quart pot until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. I found the doughnuts slipped off the parchment paper quite easily using a delicate hand and some patience, but if you’re nervous about messing up their shapes, you can do as Saveur recommends and cut the the parchment paper into squares around each doughnut, so each doughnut is on its own little piece of parchment, making the transfer easier. Working in batches, place donuts in oil, paper side up, using tongs to quickly peel off and discard paper. Cook until puffed and golden, about 75 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack; let cool completely.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/4-inch tip and fill with curd. Working with one doughnut at a time, insert tip about 1/2-inch deep into the side of doughnut, pipe 2 tablespoons of curd in, and set aside.

Dust filled doughnuts with powdered sugar before serving.

Doughnuts will keep for the better part of a day, but not longer. No excuse: eat up!

Reprinted with permission of Rivka Friedman and the Not Derby Pie blog. Friedman generously shared her Thanksgivukkah plans and recipe with us through the Public Insight Network. Find out more about the network and becoming a source for WAMU 88.5 and The Kojo Nnamdi Show.


chocolate lollipops

Easy And Fast Chocolate Thanksgivukkah Lollipops

Get chocolate wafers in your preferred colors. I selected blue for Hanukkah, and brown and orange for Thanksgiving fall colors. Select seasonal festive plastic lollipop molds (I used “Happy Hanukkah” circles, Turkeys, and Pumpkins). Purchase lollipop sticks.

Melt chocolate wafers in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup in microwave. One pound of chocolate will take one to two minutes to melt depending on your microwave’s wattage.
Use 30 second intervals to melt chocolate, stirring in between.

If the chocolate is too thick, add a tiny drop of vegetable oil and stir it in. Some colored chocolates may take a little longer time to melt.

Place lollipop sticks into the empty molds and then fill carefully spooning the chocolate into the mold. Have several spoons ready for easy and clean filling of the molds.

If you want to use multiple colors, add the bottom color first and then place in freezer until solid. Then add later colors one at a time.

Place all in freezer for at least thirty minutes or more. Then gently pop out of mold, wait until it is room temperature, and place in clear plastic bag and tie with ribbon. Enjoy!

Reprinted with permission of Dana Marlowe. Marlowe generously shared her Thanksgivukkah plans and recipe with us through the Public Insight Network. Find out more about the network and becoming a source for WAMU 88.5 and The Kojo Nnamdi Show.


pumpkin doughnuts

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Pumpkin purée and classic pumpkin pie spices give these doughnuts a soft, comforting texture and taste. Nut-free and parve. Yields 15 doughnuts.

Ingredients

1/4 ounce (1 envelope; 7g) dry yeast
1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
1/4 cup (50g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (80ml) soy milk
2 tablespoons (28g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
1 large egg
1/2 cup (120g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3–3 1/4 cups (375–405g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
canola oil for frying
1/4 cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water, and one teaspoon of sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until thick.

Add the remaining sugar, brown sugar, soy milk, margarine, egg, pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and 2 cups (250g) of the flour to the bowl and mix on low speed with either a dough hook in a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Add another cup (125g) of flour and mix well. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, and mix it in until the dough becomes smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time before adding more flour.

Cover the dough with a clean dishtowel and let it rise for one hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting, or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, wait until it reaches that temperature, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn off the oven.

Punch down the dough by folding it over a few times and reshaping it into a ball. Then re-cover the dough and let it rise for 10 minutes.

Dust a cookie sheet with some flour. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or on a piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch (6cm) round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out circles and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with the towel. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven (warm but turned off) or warming drawer. Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes.

Heat 1 1/2 inches (4cm) of oil in a medium saucepan for a few minutes and use a candy thermometer to see when the temperature stays between 365°F and 375°F (185°C and 190°C); adjust the flame so the oil stays in that temperature range.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of it and set it near your stovetop. Gently slide no more than four doughnuts, top side down, into the oil and fry for 1½ minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook another 1½ minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, letting excess oil drip off, and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat for the remaining doughnuts. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and reheat to serve.

Reprinted with permission from Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress


pumpkin cannoli

Pumpkin Cannoli

Makes 12 regular or 30 mini-sized cannoli.

This recipe comes courtesy of Marcia Friedman, who writes the blog Meatballs and Matzah Balls. For a Thanksgivukkah dessert, many people might turn to the traditional Hanukkah dessert of sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). But Friedman believes Sicilian cannoli (“pipes”) perfectly represent a Jewish-Italian Hanukkah dessert. They combine a fried pastry shell (the oil part of Hanukkah food traditions) with a luscious creamy ricotta filling (a nod to some Hanukkah traditions of serving cheese). Fold some pumpkin into the filling and you’ve got Thanksgiving covered as well.

Ingredients

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
7 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cannoli
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus additional for dusting (freshly grated if possible)
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup plus ½ tablespoon canned pumpkin
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
12 regular-sized or 30 miniature cannoli shells

Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer on high speed until it holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the ricotta on high speed for 1 minute. Add the whipped cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg, allspice and ginger to the ricotta, and beat on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes, until very smooth and slightly fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin for another 30 to 60 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 6 hours.

Just before serving, use a small spoon to fill the shells with the filling. Dust the shells with confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Sprinkle the ends with chopped pecans if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for not more than 1 hour before serving — they’ll get soggy.

Cannoli shells can be found in large grocery stores or Italian markets, and can be ordered online.

Reprinted with permission from American Food Roots.

Transcript

  • 12:06:40

    MR. MARC FISHERFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your community with the world. I'm Marc Fisher sitting in for Kojo. Coming up this hour, next week the Jewish Festival of Lights meets America's festival of food. Affectionately dubbed Thanksgivukkah, it's the first time in 125 years--and the last time for another 77,000 (sic) years, but who's counting?--that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day will share space on the calendar.

  • 12:07:15

    MR. MARC FISHERThanksgivukkah has already inspired weird merchandise. You can get your menurkey, a turkey-shaped menorah, on Amazon.com. And this cosmic convergence has spawned some pretty awful puns. We're talking not mazel tov but gobble tov. The holiday mashup has stirred the creative juices of cooks who see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shake up the traditional Thanksgiving table.

  • 12:07:39

    MR. MARC FISHERTurkey stuffed with challah, anyone? How about latkes made with yams or a sweet potato noodle kugel? For adventurous eaters, the possibilities are endless. Still, there are those of us, Jew and Gentile alike, who believe that it would be sacrilege to deviate from Pepperidge Farm stuffing and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. So how can we honor Thanksgiving tradition with Thanksgivukkah flavor? It's a culinary conundrum that our guests are more than qualified to tackle.

  • 12:08:10

    MR. MARC FISHERThey are Michele Kayal, an editor at American Food Roots, a website that tells America's food stories state by state. She also writes about food and culture for the Associated Press. And Bonny Wolf, editor of American Food Roots as well, she's an editor at NPR's "Kitchen Window" food column and a commentator on NPR's "Weekend Edition" Sunday. And Paula Shoyer is a pastry chef and author of "The Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional & Contemporary Holiday Desserts."

  • 12:08:44

    MR. MARC FISHERAnd so, Paula, a woman in Boston coined the term Thanksgivukkah while she was commuting last year. And I guess Hanugiving didn't quite have the right ring to it. She created the Facebook page and grabbed the Twitter handle. And the rest is history. But how did these holidays come to coincide? What's the context here?

  • 12:09:10

    CHEF PAULA SHOYERWell, what happened was it was a rare convergence of the lunar calendar with a general solar calendar. And it's amazing that this happened at all given that the chances of it happening are so small and, like you said, is not going to happen again in our lifetimes.

  • 12:09:26

    FISHERAnd the Jewish calendar operates on a lunar basis, and therefore holidays float around by our Western calendar. And so Hanukkah, although often associated with Christmas in time, now ends up being in November, which...

  • 12:09:43

    SHOYERAnd usually it's best to have Hanukkah between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • 12:09:48

    FISHERAnd so here's this enormous food challenge that Jews and people who eat with them are facing. And I have to say that in my house, my family is divided right down the middle. There are those who say we must have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and we, you know, can simply postpone the Hanukkah to a different night.

  • 12:10:07

    FISHERAnd then there are those who say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine and experiment. And so, Michele, what -- is there a right answer here?

  • 12:10:19

    MS. MICHELE KAYALWell, I think the only right answer is that every family has to do what they are culturally inclined to do. And we have a lot of folks that we've been chatting with who were doing all sorts of things, like sweet potato latkes and using challah in the stuffing, like you said, and I think Bonny was challenged by her son to come up with something.

  • 12:10:41

    FISHERAnd, Bonny, what is that?

  • 12:10:41

    MS. BONNY WOLFWell, he asked me the other night how we were going to handle this and then immediately answers his own question and said that it was going to be sweet potato latkes. And I thought we could do that with apple-cranberry sauce as a sort of good combination. I suggested challah stuffing, but he said I could make that in addition to the normal stuffing that I make (unintelligible)...

  • 12:11:05

    FISHERSo you're being extremely reasonable about that. You're looking for compromise.

  • 12:11:09

    WOLFAlways.

  • 12:11:10

    FISHERAnd are any of you hardliners in one direction or the other about this?

  • 12:11:13

    SHOYERAbsolutely not. I think that if I didn't serve our traditional Thanksgiving dishes on Thanksgiving and the desserts that my family waits for all year-round, there'd be...

  • 12:11:22

    FISHERThere'd be an insurrection.

  • 12:11:23

    SHOYERYeah. There would be a Maccabean rebellion in my own house.

  • 12:11:27

    SHOYERSo I think you have to honor all traditions while having your classic Thanksgiving, have some traditional Hanukkah, and then have some fun mashing up the two and adding a few things to your table that combine the best flavors of both holidays.

  • 12:11:39

    FISHERIs rebellion brewing in your house? Let us know, 1-800-433-8850. Or email us at kojo--K-O-J-O--@wamu.org. You can also send us a tweet to @kojoshow. Let us know whether you'll be combining Hanukkah dishes with this year's Thanksgiving feast, what recipes are you using, and also let us know, are there certain Thanksgiving or Hanukkah dishes that must be at your table this year? 1-800-433-8850.

  • 12:12:08

    FISHERAnd, Bonny, people like to stick to tradition when planning food for holidays like Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Is this really the time that cooks should be experimenting? I mean, you've proposed these dishes. Do you have any nervousness about trying something entirely new when there's only one night to get it right?

  • 12:12:25

    WOLFNo. I love the opportunity to do something new. My son is kind of a Thanksgiving tyrant and won't let us try many new things, so I thought this would be -- I actually thought maybe we should just deep fry a turkey. That way, you kind of cover all fronts.

  • 12:12:43

    FISHERAnd that's also a traditional American approach as well in recent years anyway with the chiturken...

  • 12:12:46

    WOLFExactly. Exactly. But I think it's a great -- I mean, and there are so many things that you can do that sort of cover it. The Italian Jews eat squash fritters on Hanukkah, so that works, too.

  • 12:13:01

    FISHERWe have here in the studio a variety of foods that these amazing cooks have brought in. And I'll share them with the audience. We have here a Syrian dish. Is that right?

  • 12:13:13

    KAYALMm hmm.

  • 12:13:13

    FISHERWhat is it?

  • 12:13:14

    KAYALIt's called m'hammara, and it is a red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. And it's -- what I love about it is you can make it spicy or not spicy. It has a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper, but my family -- I'm not Jewish. I think I'm the only person in the studio who's not. But my grandparents were from Aleppo in Syria.

  • 12:13:31

    KAYALAnd at our Thanksgiving, every year, the only thing that's non-negotiable is that we have Syrian appetizers which we have before any family gathering. So Thanksgiving is no exception, and this is always on the table. This is one of my favorites.

  • 12:13:44

    FISHERAnd does it have at all a Thanksgiving feel to it? Does it fit with the traditional Thanksgiving dishes?

  • 12:13:50

    KAYALI'd think so. And I think there's such a close tie between all of the Middle Eastern and Semitic foods. I mean, this has walnuts, pomegranates, red peppers. I mean, it's all in there. It could very easily be a Hanukkah dish as well.

  • 12:14:03

    FISHERAnd, Paula, you've brought in a variety of baked goods with the flavor of both holidays. But the theme here is fried, at least that is the traditional Hanukkah theme. Why is that?

  • 12:14:16

    SHOYERWell, the Hanukkah holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil. When the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks, they went back into the ancient temple, and they saw that it was completely destroyed. They found the ancient menorah, and they only found a small amount of oil, which would normally only light the menorah for one night.

  • 12:14:36

    SHOYERAnd they lit the menorah, and it lit for eight nights. And that's why we celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. And as a result of this miracle, the oil, we eat lots of fried desserts, both savory and sweet. And fried doughnuts, called sufganiyah in Hebrew, became all the rage in Israel years ago. And now Jews around the world are all eating fried desserts for our Hanukkah.

  • 12:14:57

    SHOYERWhat I have here today is a pumpkin doughnut, which combines the best of both holidays. And I created this dessert two years ago before I had any idea that these holidays came together. So I feel like I hit the jackpot with the doughnuts.

  • 12:15:08

    FISHERWow. And so you've had a chance for them to be eaten and received. What's been the reaction so far?

  • 12:15:14

    SHOYEROh, people really like them 'cause the dough is not super sweet. And I also brought today my Thanksgiving babka. Babka's another Eastern European traditional dessert. And it's featured in The Washington Post today.

  • 12:15:25

    FISHERIn the food section. And so any pushback from friends or relatives about this mashup?

  • 12:15:32

    SHOYERWell, I have to say my friends and my family have been really excited that I've been experimenting pretty much nonstop for the last two weeks. And so every day they come by, or my kids come home from school, there is a pile of Thanksgivukkah desserts, including pumpkin churros, apple doughnuts, pumpkin cake with olive oil.

  • 12:15:50

    SHOYERI've been putting recipes up on my blog all week, and I'm just having so much fun. And I feel like I've only scratched the surface. There are so many great ways to combine all these flavors.

  • 12:15:59

    FISHERLet's hear from Dana in Silver Spring, Md. Dana, you're on the air.

  • 12:16:04

    DANAHi. Thank you for having me. Yeah. We're very excited in our house for Thanksgivukkah. And my husband, who does all of the shopping and cooking in preparation for the meal, has taken a very hardline on he wants to do some super huge mashup across the board. And, you know, there are some more traditionalists in our family who really want the standard Thanksgiving fare. And so he's just said, no, he really wants to play with it this year. And he's been expanding his whole menu.

  • 12:16:39

    FISHERAnd, Dana, I know we have some of your ideas in a slide show on our website at kojoshow.org where folks can take a look at what you've been up to. I understand you're hand making some chocolate lollipops?

  • 12:16:52

    DANAYeah, we're having fun. So we've made some chocolate lollipops in kind of the traditional colors of orange and brown for autumn and Thanksgiving and as well as some Happy Hanukkah and stars of David. And we've blended the colors of the blues and the oranges and browns and transposed them for the lollipops and the pumpkin lollipops and whatnot and just decorated the house using both holidays, so it's been fun.

  • 12:17:18

    FISHERGreat. Thank you, Dana.

  • 12:17:20

    DANAThank you.

  • 12:17:20

    FISHERAnd, Bonny, there is this question, this debate about where to go with this. In your experience, looking across the country at all the food traditions through different holidays, how open are Americans really to new things and to change? Is there -- even putting Hanukkah and Thanksgiving aside, is this notion that you can toy with the old standbys, is that really something that Americans are open to?

  • 12:17:47

    WOLFOh, absolutely. And I think that it's a wonderful way to learn about all the people that make up the country because on every Thanksgiving table, there'll be something that either shows the region of the country you're from or the ethnicity you are, the place your grandparents came from. We did a bunch of stories recently on these kinds of things. And there was a woman who was coming from Puerto Rico to have Thanksgiving with her family in the U.S.

  • 12:18:20

    WOLFAnd she brought a pumpkin pudding on her lap on the plane because she said it had to be made from the pumpkins that they grew up with that are richer and a little sweeter. And her family has flan and guava cake for dessert. And stuffing is made of ground beef, olives, applesauce, and almonds which reflect their culture. And she said -- but everything else is -- they have a turkey, and she said they watch a lot of football.

  • 12:18:47

    FISHERWow. OK. Well, that's certainly mixing up traditions with new things. Bonny Wolf is editor of American Food Roots, as is Michele Kayal. And Paula Shoyer is the author of "The Holiday Kosher Baker," and we're talking about the mashup of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah food traditions. You can join our conversation at 1-800-433-8850. And let's talk about the Hanukkah foods that absolutely cannot be sacrificed. Are there some absolutes? Paula, what...

  • 12:19:21

    SHOYERPotato latkes. No matter what other kind of latkes I invent -- and I have apple latkes in the new cookbook, which also work for Thanksgiving as well, whether as a side dish or a dessert or, I think, for breakfast the next day. But I think potato latkes -- if you don't serve potato latkes, there's going to be a walkout.

  • 12:19:36

    FISHERAnd do latkes fit with turkey and stuffing and that sort of thing?

  • 12:19:42

    SHOYERPotatoes definitely do, so it's just another way to serve potatoes. I'm hoping that'll get me out of making mashed potatoes, as well as a sweet potato dish, but I'm not sure yet. I have to poll the masses and see what they say.

  • 12:19:53

    FISHERBonny, what's your view on that? Is there -- are mashed potatoes an absolute must?

  • 12:19:58

    WOLFMashed potatoes? No. But potato latkes are absolutely non-negotiable. And no matter how many pounds of potatoes you buy, they will all be eaten.

  • 12:20:08

    FISHERThis goes for onions, too.

  • 12:20:09

    SHOYERYes.

  • 12:20:09

    WOLFOh, yeah, but -- and I wonder what Paula thinks about making them with sweet potatoes? Because I worry a little that they're too soft and how are we going to do this?

  • 12:20:19

    SHOYERI've made them with sweet potatoes before. And I do have that problem. They do get a little bit mushier than the regular potatoes do. I add a little bit of flour and baking powder to my latke batter. So I find that I need to add a little bit more with the sweet potatoes.

  • 12:20:33

    WOLFGood to know.

  • 12:20:34

    FISHERAnd as far as taste goes, is the reaction -- do people feel it's a poor substitute for the real potato latke or…

  • 12:20:41

    SHOYEREven if I serve the sweet potato ones, I still have to make the regular potato ones.

  • 12:20:45

    FISHERSo if you're preparing and coming up with what the right proportion of potato latke to sweet potato latke, what would you say that would be?

  • 12:20:52

    SHOYEROh, I’m thinking -- I don't know, Bonny -- maybe 80:20. (laugh)

  • 12:20:56

    FISHERThat high? Okay. All right.

  • 12:20:58

    WOLFYeah, the texture's just so different.

  • 12:20:59

    FISHERSo we're willing to experiment to a certain degree, but…

  • 12:21:01

    KAYALI was going to say I think sweet potatoes, in general, sometimes are just symbolic. I think -- yeah, my Syrian grandmother always put them on the table, but nobody ever ate them. They were more for the homage to the fact that this is what Americans eat.

  • 12:21:15

    SHOYERI love sweet potatoes. I was thinking about trying to create a sweet potato and apple strudel for the holiday, but I haven't gotten to that yet. And tomorrow might be the day.

  • 12:21:24

    FISHEROkay. Let's here from Carol, in Silver Spring. Carol, you're on the air.

  • 12:21:26

    CAROLOh, hi. I hope I can get in before the dog starts barking.

  • 12:21:30

    FISHERWell (laugh) I think you're already there, but give it a shot.

  • 12:21:32

    CAROL(unintelligible) had a journal and she wrote in the journal in 1897 what they had. This was an African American family living outside of New York City. The dinner consisted of roast chicken, pickled beets, sweet potatoes, boiled turnips, white potatoes, pickled peaches, sweet cider and pumpkin pie.

  • 12:21:58

    FISHERWow, well, pickled peaches aside, it's not that different.

  • 12:22:02

    CAROLNo, it isn't. We always had turnips. So I was think it's also determined by the region of the country where you live.

  • 12:22:11

    FISHERWow, have you come across pickled peaches anywhere in your travels in American food roots?

  • 12:22:15

    CAROLI've never had them.

  • 12:22:17

    FISHERMichele?

  • 12:22:18

    KAYALWe have not yet come across pickled peaches. No. But I'd like to. (laughter)

  • 12:22:23

    WOLFYeah, Carol, we'll want to talk to you later. (laughter)

  • 12:22:27

    KAYALWe have found, though, that Thanksgiving is very much influenced by your region of the country. We had a Twitter chat last week and it's so evident that stuffing tends to be the place where both region and ethnicity are played out. We had a chatter from Maine who always puts oysters in the stuffing. If you're from Chicago you might use rye bread, from the east European communities there. Bonny always does a wild rice stuffing because she's from Minnesota. Our host of the chat, Rick Rogers, who's the author of "Thanksgiving 101," had found a stuffing in Texas that was based on tamales, and had pork and raisins and chili in it.

  • 12:23:07

    KAYALI lived in Hawaii for about seven years and I always made a stuffing out of Hawaiian sweet bread, macadamia nuts and Portuguese linguica because we had a lot of Portuguese culture in Hawaii.

  • 12:23:16

    FISHERPortuguese…

  • 12:23:17

    KAYALLinguica. It's a spicy sausage, sort of like chorizo.

  • 12:23:21

    FISHERWow. Okay. So stuffing is the place where people can express themselves.

  • 12:23:25

    KAYALVery much. It's sort of a blank canvas. You get to choose the bread and everything that goes in it, so it's an easy place to play.

  • 12:23:31

    FISHERAnd speaking of that, we have an email from Robin, who says, "My mother always made either kasha stuffing -- for which I have the recipe -- or matzo-meal stuffing, which unfortunately I never got." Paula, do you have a solution for Robin there on the matzo-meal stuffing?

  • 12:23:44

    SHOYERWell, my mother has always made stuffing with challah my entire life. So as people talk about that as a new idea, I kept laughing because my mother is not the most creative chef. But on Passover, if she made a turkey -- because we had a lot of people for Seder, she would use matzo instead. It was the same recipe, but we'd use matzo farfel or break matzo up into pieces. But the kasha one sounds great and healthy.

  • 12:24:06

    FISHERIt does sound good. Well, when we come back, some more ideas for the mash-up of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and more of your calls at 1-800-433-8850. I'm Marc Fisher. We'll be back after a short break.

  • 12:26:01

    FISHERWelcome back. I'm Marc Fisher of the Washington Post, sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi. And we are talking about Thanksgiving. And we are talking about Hanukkah. And we are talking about the clash or combination of the two, depending on your point of view. You can join our conversation by calling 1-800-433-8850 or email us at kojo@wamu.org. And we're talking with Bonny Wolf and Michele Kayal, who are editors at American Food Roots, a website that tells the stories of America's food interests and traditions state by state. And Paula Shoyer, the author of "The Holiday Kosher Baker."

  • 12:26:38

    FISHERAnd, Bonny, what is the difference between stuffing and dressing? Are we talking inside the bird versus outside the bird? One of the eternal questions, a sort of Talmudic question. (laughter)

  • 12:26:52

    WOLFThis is a very good time to look at the Talmudic ramifications of stuffing and dressing. It depends who you ask. I think stuffing is from the North and dressing is from the South. But some people say stuffing is what you put in the bird and dressing is what you have on the side of the bird.

  • 12:27:11

    FISHERAnd is it two words for the same thing, depending on where you come from?

  • 12:27:13

    WOLFI believe it is, but it's that -- I don't know, Michele. You may have a different…

  • 12:27:19

    KAYALWell, the way it was explained to me -- I mean at first sight it would appear to be, you know, a matter of avian physiology, whether it's inside or out. (laugh) But it was also explained to me -- I did a story on it a couple of years ago -- as definitely a regional difference. And Jean Anderson, who's a great documenter of Southern cuisine, said it's dressing in the South, whether it's in the bird or not. And as one Southerner said to me, she said, you know the word stuffing is so impolite. (laughter)

  • 12:27:47

    FISHERAnd who would like to talk about frying turkeys? I mean there's been this sort of underground or subculture of throwing the turkey in a deep fat fryer. And now with Hanukkah coming up against Thanksgiving there is the possibility of meeting your oil requirement for Hanukkah (laughter) through this method. Is this just a gimmick, is it a trend, what is…

  • 12:28:15

    WOLFI've never fried a turkey. It's terrifying to me. But I've eaten it and it's delicious. It's really delicious. It's not at all oily and it's very moist and I thought it was great. And it certainly gives you a twofer on this holiday, the oil and the turkey.

  • 12:28:34

    FISHERAnd Ben, in Berryville, Va., has a comment about frying a turkey. Ben, you're on the air.

  • 12:28:40

    BENOh, well, thank you very much. You know my big concern is that with a lot of people frying turkeys for the first time, there's a process by which you put -- the bird and the oil can't be more than two-thirds the height of the pot. And a lot of people tend to overfill because they don't know the volume that they're bird's going to take in the pot. So you're supposed to put your frozen turkey in with water until you hit two-thirds.

  • 12:29:04

    BENThen you take the bird out. And wherever the water is that's where you make your mark on the side of the pot to fill with the oil. Alton Brown has a really good specialist rotating through Food Network right now on this. And I think everybody should watch it, just to make sure that they know how to fry a turkey safely and they don't burn down their deck, because it happens every year. And another thought…

  • 12:29:21

    FISHERYeah.

  • 12:29:21

    BEN…most uncooked stuffing rolled in a little matzo-meal, you could fry them up, too, if you need space in your oven.

  • 12:29:27

    FISHER(laugh) Okay. Some years back, the -- what are they called? The two guys out in Annapolis who had a cable show about food for awhile. And they fried their turkey in a giant oil drum in the backyard, which would take care of some of the safety issues that Ben brings up. (laugh) But that's a pretty large-scale industrial endeavor. Does this sort of preparation question of frying versus not frying -- is that a regional issue?

  • 12:30:00

    SHOYERI think it's become trendy to fry a turkey. And they actually make deep fryers designed just for turkeys. You can buy one that's really big, just for turkey.

  • 12:30:08

    FISHEROkay. And let's go to Meg, in Mount Airy, Md. Meg, you're on the air.

  • 12:30:14

    MEGHi, I was listening while I'm organizing my kitchen. And I just had to call because my husband is Jewish and my in-laws are coming. And I have relatives from New England who are coming. And I was raised Unitarian. And I have Catholic sister-in-laws and so we are doing everything. We're doing latkes, we're going to decorate with gold chocolate coins and all the golds and the oranges and to top everything off, our daughter will be turning six. And so we are going to be serving a Baskin Robbins turkey birthday cake that they now have.

  • 12:30:58

    FISHERTurkey birthday cake?

  • 12:31:00

    MEGYes. Baskin Robbins now has…

  • 12:31:01

    FISHERI'm hoping we're talking shape, not flavor.

  • 12:31:04

    MEGNo. It's a cake. And so she doesn't know it yet, but we're going to have a turkey birthday cake. And we do everything. And it's about the preparation, too. I have aprons for a Mommy/Daughter and I'm going to have my mother-in-law wear an apron that has the Star of David on it with my daughter that has hers. And, you know, they can help me do the vegetables. I once made a matzo-meal apple pie. I mean it's about just mixing everything.

  • 12:31:37

    FISHERAnd what do you predict the response of all the various arms of your family will be to this?

  • 12:31:43

    MEGOh, my gosh, you know what? I really don't care. (laughter)

  • 12:31:47

    KAYALGood for you.

  • 12:31:49

    FISHERThat's the right answer.

  • 12:31:49

    MEG(unintelligible) that they haven't already done. So, you know, we're just going to have fun.

  • 12:31:53

    FISHERThat's terrific. Well, as you might expect, cooks are having a lot of fun with this, not only at home, but at restaurants as well. And around the Washington area we're seeing some interesting innovations. At the DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle they're going to be serving sweet potato red onion golden beet horseradish and carrot cumin latkes. And all served with homemade apple preserves and sour cream. And in Portland, the chef at Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern is whipping up parsnip, celery and yam latkes. A merger of traditional Jewish dishes with Thanksgiving ingredients.

  • 12:32:33

    FISHERAnd so if you want to tell us about your inventions for the holiday, give us a call at 1-800-433-8850. And Daniella wrote to us on our Public Insight Network, saying that they're going to create a Thanksgiving themed Hanukkah menu or perhaps a Hanukkah themed Thanksgiving menu. And they're meeting at her parents house in Skokie, Ill., to have a feast that includes sweet potato noodle kugel, cranberry applesauce, potato kugel, stuffing made with challah and baked acorn squash stuffed with sauteed onions and quinoa cooked in vegetable broth. So people are being creative.

  • 12:33:13

    FISHERAnd, Paula, is there anything that you see that is inherently -- something that these two holidays have in common, either in their meaning or the traditions or the spirit? Is there anything that brings them together, other than that the calendar's doing this to us?

  • 12:33:31

    SHOYERWell, Thanksgiving is this wonderful holiday because it's just so purely American. So no matter where you're from in the world, when you came to this country, when your ancestors came here, you celebrate Thanksgiving, as Bonny said, in your own unique way. So Thanksgiving is about being grateful to be an American, but Hanukkah, at the same time, is one of those Jewish holidays that celebrates the survival of the Jewish people. So you have families get together and once again, you know, they tried to destroy us and we survived and here we are in 2013, all together, able to celebrate wonderful holidays and traditions.

  • 12:34:08

    SHOYERSo I feel like both holidays have this connection about being grateful for where you are in our lives today, to be with family, to be with other Jews, other Americans, and celebrate that wonderful kind of feeling of look where we are, look what we've all accomplished, what we can all come together and celebrate what's special about each tradition.

  • 12:34:32

    FISHEROkay. And let's talk to Laura, in Arlington, Va. Laura, you're on the air.

  • 12:34:38

    LAURAThanks. Is there a cranberry dish, both that reflects or combines elements of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving?

  • 12:34:47

    FISHERA cranberry dish, Bonny?

  • 12:34:48

    WOLFWell, one thing I thought of -- I was going to ask Paula. The sufganiyots, which are the donuts that are fried on Hanukkah, are often jelly filled. So I was thinking that this might be a place to stuff some cranberry.

  • 12:35:03

    SHOYERYeah, the babka that I made for the Washington Post today has this wonderful cranberry sauce filling. It's basically the cranberry sauce that I typically serve with my turkey, but I turned it into a filling for the babka. You could use that as a filling for donuts, as well.

  • 12:35:16

    FISHERAnd we have a suggestion in an email from Philip. He says, "The closest thing I'll be serving this year to Jewish food is my flaming cranberry crepes, with a hint of Grand Marnier, a sort of gooey hamantaschen." (laughter)

  • 12:35:29

    FISHERSo it takes all tastes. Well, cranberry sauce can be a touchy subject around the Thanksgiving table. Many cooks like to make it from whole cranberries and add spices, while some of us just want to open the Ocean Spray can. How do you incorporate cranberry sauce into a Thanksgivukkah meal and is there a right answer on that question of what the right cranberry sauce is, Michele?

  • 12:35:53

    KAYALI think cranberry sauce has to be part of Thanksgiving. And I frankly put both on the table because my mother loves the one in the can and you have to serve it with the ridges. (laugh) And this came up in our chat, you know, do you put the ridges out or do you smoosh it into a bowl? You absolutely show it with the ridges because it is what it is. The same philosophy goes for green bean casserole. If you're going to make a green bean casserole, use the canned mushroom soup, use the fried onions. Do not even attempt to upscale it. That's not how God meant it. (laugh)

  • 12:36:27

    KAYALSo on the cranberry sauce issue, I mean I see cranberry as a very big part of this time of year and also of Hanukkah. And, you know, if you mix in the walnuts and all of that, so I think there's a good intersection for both of those things.

  • 12:36:38

    FISHERAnd, Bonny, as an alternate to cranberries, you were recently on the Eastern Shore sampling a fall fruit that we should know a little bit more about and that is persimmons.

  • 12:36:47

    WOLFWild persimmons are fabulous. They're utterly unlike the Asian varieties that we get in the supermarket. They're tiny. They're the size of an apricot. And they grow almost to Christmas. And they're beautiful in the woods. They look like little tiny pumpkins on the trees, which are bare. And they're very sweet. They're a pain in the neck, too. (laugh) These little tiny things are full of big seeds, but if you can get them out and clean them and make pulp, you can put it in your freezer to enjoy anytime and it's a -- we had in this -- in this Thanksgiving chat we had a lot of the chefs, I think, we're talking about persimmon cake, persimmon pie, using persimmons in all kinds of ways.

  • 12:37:37

    FISHERBut there are some persimmons that are not edible, right?

  • 12:37:42

    WOLFI don't think so.

  • 12:37:42

    FISHEROkay.

  • 12:37:45

    WOLFI don't know of any. Wild persimmons are edible -- I mean people may think they're inedible because unless you get them when they're absolutely right, it can turn your mouth inside out. And it's a terrible thing.

  • 12:37:57

    FISHERIs there a way to tell from the exterior what…

  • 12:37:59

    WOLFWell, the wild ones are -- they look like you'd want to throw them away. They're wrinkled and brown and often on the ground, but that's when they're really good. The ones that you buy at the supermarket, there are two types. One can be eaten hard and is not cooked. And the other you have to wait until it ripens like a wild persimmon.

  • 12:38:19

    FISHERGreat. Let's hear from Susan, in Washington. Susan, you're on the air.

  • 12:38:23

    SUSANHi. I wanted to say hi and jump on. I run the Jewish Food Experience. And I've been a guest on Kojo. Hi, Paula.

  • 12:38:29

    SHOYERHi, Susan.

  • 12:38:30

    SUSANNice to hear you. This is such a great discussion. And I just wanted to offer a couple of ideas if I could.

  • 12:38:36

    FISHERSure.

  • 12:38:38

    SUSANOn our website, JewishFoodExperience.com, we have tons of Thanksgivukkah. We have a cranberry challah, for your last caller. We have lots of different kinds of latkes. We even have a southern fried turkey for those who dare.

  • 12:38:52

    FISHERWow, and what's different about a southern fried turkey?

  • 12:38:56

    SUSANThe fact that you go out in your driveway with this huge deep fryer and dunk a whole turkey in the fryer and standby and watch it. (laugh) And then the people up North -- I haven't heard of any one of my friends up here, people I know up here, who do this the Southern way, which literally is to go outside -- because the weather's nice enough -- and fry the whole turkey in a humongous vat of oil.

  • 12:39:18

    FISHERThank you, Susan. And speaking of frying turkeys, here's Travis, in Hyattsville.

  • 12:39:24

    TRAVISHi. I'm a first-time caller, long-time listener. I love the show. And I just wanted to just say that my father has been deep frying turkeys for as long as I can remember now. And it really caught on with my family. And, I mean, I can't remember the last time that we've had a traditional turkey. It's just been deep fried every year, ever since it started catching on. And I vastly prefer it over regular baked turkey.

  • 12:39:53

    FISHERAnd so if you're measuring the fried versus baked turkey, in terms of length of time to prepare and overall sort of extravagance of preparation, where do you come down on that?

  • 12:40:07

    TRAVISI mean, the taste is, I think it's far superior and, I mean, we've just got it down to a science really. My dad, he's welded up this big sort of rig for it and we take the pot out in the backyard. I mean, my mother's family, she's one of 10 siblings so we have these huge 70-person get-togethers and so we deep fry about two or three turkeys every year. So it's quite an experience.

  • 12:40:35

    FISHERGreat. Thank you, Travis. Michele?

  • 12:40:37

    KAYALI wanted to add that as we're talking about deep frying the turkey, I recalled that I think it was last year I wrote a story about modernizing your Thanksgiving feast and Scott Heimendinger, who works with Nathan Myhrvold out at the Modernist Cuisine Lab in Seattle, sous-vided his turkey.

  • 12:40:54

    KAYALFor those of you who don’t know what that means, so if you want to, like, modernize your Thanksgivukkah celebration, if you sous-vide the turkey, that means you cook it in a water bath at a, you know, a very low temperature for a long time and it's supposed to make it very juicy. So he sous-vides it and then he suites up essentially in asbestos gloves and a mask and everything and then plunges it into hot oil. So that...

  • 12:41:17

    FISHERWow. The sous-vide part is almost sort of the cultural opposite of the deep frying in the oil drum.

  • 12:41:24

    KAYALYes. But so if you want to have a modern...

  • 12:41:26

    FISHERBut he's combining.

  • 12:41:26

    KAYAL...Hanukkah Thanksgivukkah thing, that would be the way to do it, I think.

  • 12:41:31

    FISHERWow. But that sounds like an awful lot of work.

  • 12:41:34

    KAYALYes.

  • 12:41:36

    FISHEROkay. But that's part of Thanksgiving. And, you know, everyone who's been calling has been talking about these large family gatherings. That is, if not unique to Thanksgiving, it's certainly a trademark of Thanksgiving. How does that affect your menu choices when you know you're cooking for 15, 20 people in a standard home kitchen so everything has to be precisely timed. What's the impact on your choices of dishes? Paula?

  • 12:42:01

    SHOYERWell, first of all, there are certain things that I'll always make in advance to Thanksgiving so this week, I will have all my pie and tart doughs in the freezer. If I'm serving soup, that will be in the freezer. So will corn bread and any other rolls or bread that I'm serving so I try to plan in advance as much as possible.

  • 12:42:16

    SHOYERThe other thing is the more people you have, you shouldn't make so many different dishes. You should just make a lot of a few really great ones. And what's really nice about making the pumpkin donuts, for example, for Thanksgivukkah this year is that it doesn't take up oven time. So it's something you can make on the stovetop while your stuffing and your turkey and your sweet potato pie and all those other bake dishes are taking up that real estate.

  • 12:42:37

    FISHERPaula Shoyer is the author of "The Holiday Kosher Baker." We're also talking with Michele Kayal and Bonny Wolf, editors at American Food Roots and we are talking about Thanksgiving and about the clash of -- the mashup of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. You can't join our conversation at 1-800-433-8850. Let us know if there's a Thanksgiving dish you'd like to share that's special to the part of the country you grew up in. What food traditions do you have during Thanksgiving or during Hanukkah? And when we come back after a short break, we'll take more of your calls and hear about some other food possibilities for this joint holiday.

  • 12:44:56

    FISHERWelcome back, I'm Marc Fisher of The Washington Post sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi and I'm eating babka and if you were here, we would give you some. But you're not so you just get to listen to this. It's chocolate babka and cranberry babka and Paula Shoyer's the baker. And are these babkas that you would only make this year because of the confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah?

  • 12:45:16

    SHOYERWell, chocolate babka I pretty much make any day of the year all year round and I pretty much do in all different forms. I bake babka cupcakes and whole wheat babka in the new book, but I thought that since babka was my most famous dessert that the world would expect me to come up with a Thanksgiving version so that's why I came up with the cranberry one.

  • 12:45:34

    FISHERAnd Bonny, in the Thanksgiving tradition, it's really more about the main course and the side dishes, not so much dessert and never been really a big part of Thanksgiving tradition unless you're talking about pies, right?

  • 12:45:48

    WOLFExactly. And we actually are having a pie Twitter chat this Friday with bakers from all over the country at 10 o'clock in the morning and...

  • 12:46:00

    FISHERWhere would people go for that?

  • 12:46:01

    WOLFTo #TGPieChat.

  • 12:46:06

    FISHERTGPieChat.

  • 12:46:07

    WOLFAnd it should be very interesting because people have very, very strong feelings about this. And this is one of the things that has a lot of regional differences. Everyone knows pumpkin pie and actually, we've been writing some recently about the early Thanksgivings, the first Thanksgiving when they probably had pumpkin because pumpkin was something the Indians had and shared with the pilgrims who really didn't like it.

  • 12:46:34

    WOLFBut they surely did not have pumpkin pie. But there are all sorts of combinations and people trying new things and cranberry for the woman who called earlier, it's a very common thing in pies as well.

  • 12:46:49

    FISHERAny sense of how pies came to be associated with Thanksgiving?

  • 12:46:54

    KAYALThat's a good question. I'm thinking that perhaps at least at the first Thanksgiving we do have some early, early pumpkin pie recipes, although I'm not sure they go back that far. As Bonny was saying, the pilgrims didn't love pumpkin, but they eventually figured out how to turn them into sweets, aka pies that mimicked their custards and puddings from England. So it's possible that it goes back to that, but...

  • 12:47:22

    FISHERPumpkin is one of those sort of problem foods where a lot of people don't like them, a lot of people think they're more bother than their worth and a lot of people think that you can -- even if the end product is theoretically good, there are a lot of ways it can go wrong. So are there ways to improve upon the traditional pumpkin pie, Bonny?

  • 12:47:41

    WOLFI think you should use real pumpkin. I really think that it is so far superior to the canned pumpkin, which is 100 percent squash, not necessarily pumpkin.

  • 12:47:51

    FISHERDon’t you need an industrial drainage system to use real pumpkin?

  • 12:47:54

    WOLFAbsolutely not. You just clean it out roast it, mash it up and it just makes a superior pie.

  • 12:48:02

    FISHEROkay. And any particular tweeks, flavorings that you add to a pumpkin pie?

  • 12:48:08

    WOLFBooze.

  • 12:48:11

    FISHERWe have an email from Carol Anne in Bethesda raising the question not of desserts, but of side dishes and she says, "since I'm not having the dinner at my house this Thanksgiving, I haven't been doing any planning, although I am responsible for a favorite Mediterranean green bean dish that my family loves. So the question is, are there side dish ideas, beside the traditional green bean casserole that you'd really recommend?"

  • 12:48:35

    KAYALMy family loves brussel sprouts so I'm definitely going to make just very simple roasted brussel sprouts probably with some garlic, maybe a little bit of lemon zest.

  • 12:48:44

    FISHEROkay.

  • 12:48:44

    WOLFI do brussel sprouts a lot also. The green vegetable is only place where I have some latitude. My son doesn't care about the green vegetables so I'm able to do whatever I want and I often do brussel sprouts.

  • 12:48:58

    FISHERAnd here's a comment from our website. It says, "we're having a Thanksgiving potluck this Friday in the office and everyone is bringing traditional Thanksgiving foods. I'm planning to make potato latkas with sweet potatoes mixed in since we have no Hanukkah representation. We have no Jews in our small office and I'm Muslim by birth, not raised with either Thanksgiving or Jewish foods, but in love with both."

  • 12:49:19

    FISHER"By the way, last year, I was in London for the holidays and made parsnip potato latkas for Hanukkahmas, which was a hit with both Jews and Christians." Are you seeing more and more of these kinds of mashups and combinations as the country gets a little more blended?

  • 12:49:36

    SHOYERWell, you know, that's the thing that I've tried to do with my cookbooks is take traditional Jewish desserts and try to make them more modern and more contemporary. And I think so many people do that today, take their favorite desserts from their families and try to have it be a little nostalgic, but then give it a new twist to make it a little bit more modern.

  • 12:49:53

    FISHERLet's hear from Robert in Falls Church. Robert, you're on the air.

  • 12:49:57

    ROBERTYeah, thank you very much. My question, with all these different factors is, does the Jewish community view stuffing and/or dressing in terms of white bread dressing and/or stuffing or corn bread dressing and/or stuffing?

  • 12:50:19

    FISHEROkay. Bonny?

  • 12:50:20

    WOLFI think that's a less a question of Jew and non Jew and more a question of region. I grew up in the Midwest and never heard of cornbread, much less cornbread stuffing until I moved to Texas where it was -- everybody just normally made cornbread stuffing.

  • 12:50:38

    ROBERTThat's where I'm from and you're absolutely correct. I was 22 years old before I ever heard of white bread dressing.

  • 12:50:47

    FISHERAnd the white bread stuffing is primarily a, what, Midwestern and northern phenomenon?

  • 12:50:51

    WOLFWell, I think actually it's all over. When we had our Twitter chat the other day with Rick Rogers, we talked about the Pepperidge Farm stuffing that comes already cut up in a bag and a lot of people, including Rick, said really, they often go back to that.

  • 12:51:08

    FISHEROkay. And while we're talking about stuffing, Paula, are there ways that you are going to tweak stuffing to include traditional Hanukkah ingredients? Thanks, Robert.

  • 12:51:23

    FISHEROops, sorry. Paula, go ahead.

  • 12:51:26

    SHOYERWell, I think this year I actually might go the challah stuffing. But see, my stuffing also has roasted hazelnuts, cranberries, celery, some red wine in it so it's -- and apples as well. So I think that if I use the challah bread then it will perfectly combine with the Thanksgiving flavors that I typically use.

  • 12:51:43

    FISHEROkay. And let's go to Don in Salisbury, Maryland. Don, you're on the air.

  • 12:51:50

    DONHi. I had an idea about where sometimes in the summertime you put a can of beer in a chicken and cook on the grill that way. I was wondering about doing that with a turkey.

  • 12:52:06

    FISHERMichele?

  • 12:52:06

    WOLFWhy not?

  • 12:52:07

    SHOYERToo bad Manischewitz doesn't come in a can.

  • 12:52:09

    KAYALThat's exactly what I was going to say. You could also do a bottle of Manischewitz.

  • 12:52:12

    WOLFA lot of people are recommending marinating the turkey in Manischewitz.

  • 12:52:16

    FISHERDon, go ahead.

  • 12:52:19

    DONWhat's that?

  • 12:52:19

    FISHERGo ahead. You were saying something?

  • 12:52:22

    DONNo. I was just thinking, you know, during the summertime, I've heard of people doing this. I thought why not try it with a turkey.

  • 12:52:28

    KAYALWhy not?

  • 12:52:29

    FISHEROkay. Well...

  • 12:52:31

    DONI mean, it stays nice and moist, where, you know, it wouldn't, you know, get burned up like in the oven where sometimes it gets really, really dry.

  • 12:52:40

    FISHERIt does...

  • 12:52:41

    DONHas anybody ever done that? I mean...

  • 12:52:45

    KAYALI have never done it.

  • 12:52:46

    DON...with a chicken?

  • 12:52:47

    KAYALI know that William Sonoma actually sells a particular device that, you know, it's -- I don't know. It's a $35 rack that you put your chicken on and put your beer can in and all of that. But I think in Arkansas, they probably just prop the beer can up.

  • 12:52:59

    FISHERYeah, I don't think there's a whole lot of connection between the beer can recipe and the William Sonoma, yeah. But okay. Well, thank you, Don. Appreciate the call.

  • 12:53:06

    DONYou're welcome.

  • 12:53:07

    FISHERWe have an email from Jeff hearkening back to the conversation earlier in the hour about pickled peaches. He says, "I was surprised to hear the reference to pickled peaches. My paternal grandmother always put up gallons of them every summer. As I recall, the pickling liquid was a sweet and sour mix with lots of sugar, vinegar, cinnamon and cloves. They looked beautiful in the jars, these giant yellow globes suspended in an amber to ruby-colored liquid.

  • 12:53:31

    FISHERI'm not a big fan of peaches," actually he says he hated the darn things, "but hearing about them on today's show brought back lots of fond family memories." And by the way, is grandmother's family is from south central Pennsylvania and western Maryland. So that will place it regionally for you. So that's the origins of that oddball dish, pickled peaches. And speaking of desserts, Paula, let's talk about donuts. You have here a pumpkin donut and one is fried and one is baked. Is that right?

  • 12:54:04

    SHOYERYeah, I decided to try baking donuts while William Sonoma came out with a pan -- no, actually it was King Arthur brand came out with a pan that looks like a ring donut that you can bake in the oven. And there are so many people in places I go in the country where I do baking classes. And for the last month, there are people that won't eat donuts that are fried. They just won't eat anything fried. So I decided to try the baked donut. It's definitely an inferior donut. I would go with the fried.

  • 12:54:27

    FISHERIt tastes a little bit more like a roll.

  • 12:54:29

    SHOYERIt does taste more like bread. But if you wanted a Hanukkah dessert that honors the tradition of the oil, but isn't fried, in "The Holiday Kosher Baker" I have two great recipes. One is a chewy chocolate cookie that has extra virgin olive oil in the batter and also an olive oil and almond cake which is super easy as well.

  • 12:54:48

    SHOYERAnd those are so great 'cause you can make those now and freeze them for Hanukkah Thanksgiving next week.

  • 12:54:52

    FISHERAnd do you need a deep fat fryer to make donuts?

  • 12:54:55

    SHOYERNo. I just use a sauce pan and a candy thermometer. I put an inch and a half of oil into a saucepan, canola, vegetable, and put in the candy thermometer and I won't put the donuts in until that oil reaches about 365 degrees.

  • 12:55:07

    FISHERAnd you'll be cleaning up till New Years.

  • 12:55:09

    SHOYERWell, you know what? If you cover your stovetop with a heavy duty aluminum foil and have your rack there, you can reduce the amount of mess.

  • 12:55:16

    FISHEROkay. A good tip. And Paula, as a kosher baker, some people who may not be kosher may wonder about finding kosher ingredients for baking. Is it easier to cook kosher these days than it was or do you need specialty stores?

  • 12:55:31

    SHOYERWell, you don't need specialty stores anymore. You can find kosher ingredients everywhere. Kosher people don't mix milk and meat so for Thanksgiving, it means that our desserts all have to be dairy-free. So I invented a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie and all kinds of pies that are completely dairy-free that we can have after our meat meals and it's also for people on a diary-free diet.

  • 12:55:51

    SHOYERWhat I did this year to make the pies look more Hanukkah is I took the pie dough and I took Hanukkah cookie cutters and cut out little menorahs and dreidels and Jewish stars out of the dough and put that on top of my pie. So I have Thanksgiving, Hanukkah pies.

  • 12:56:05

    FISHERNow, in our family, we have a pie tradition at Thanksgiving where everyone brings a different pie and we have a taste test at the end, complete with scoring and rankings and supposedly humorous comments, slashing comments about the quality of the various pies. It becomes an enormous competition, take several hours. So I don't necessarily.

  • 12:56:25

    SHOYERWhat time do I have to be there?

  • 12:56:26

    FISHERI don’t necessarily recommend it, but Michele, are there Thanksgiving pie traditions other than pumpkin pie and obviously sweet potato pie? What else?

  • 12:56:36

    KAYALSweet potato pie, apple pie is always big. When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother used to have a mincemeat pie from Horn & Hardart, which I think is a forgotten tradition.

  • 12:56:47

    FISHERBoth mincemeat and Horn & Hardart.

  • 12:56:48

    KAYALYes, both of them, both of them.

  • 12:56:51

    WOLFPecan pie...

  • 12:56:52

    KAYALOh, and pecan pie.

  • 12:56:53

    WOLF...is very common, I think.

  • 12:56:55

    FISHERWhat's actually in mincemeat pie?

  • 12:56:56

    SHOYERI think it's nuts, right? (unintelligible)

  • 12:56:58

    WOLFWell, I think that originally it was meat.

  • 12:57:00

    KAYALI think originally it was meat.

  • 12:57:01

    WOLFBut it's not anymore.

  • 12:57:01

    KAYALIt moved to like...

  • 12:57:03

    WOLFThere was suet involved.

  • 12:57:04

    FISHERReally. Meat as in sausage or...

  • 12:57:07

    WOLFYeah, but this was a long time ago.

  • 12:57:09

    FISHERHuh. Well, why did that tradition die?

  • 12:57:12

    WOLFYum, suet.

  • 12:57:12

    SHOYERWell, some people do put bacon in apple pies now. If you really need your meat in your dessert, you can still do that.

  • 12:57:17

    KAYALPeople put bacon in anything.

  • 12:57:18

    FISHERBut probably not in your cookbook.

  • 12:57:20

    SHOYERNo, but I could put kosher bacon into my apple pie that's completely dairy-free and serve it next week.

  • 12:57:28

    FISHERBut you're not going to do that.

  • 12:57:29

    SHOYERI don't think so. But actually, I do have kosher bacon in the frig right now so who knows?

  • 12:57:33

    FISHERWhich is made of what?

  • 12:57:35

    SHOYERThis one's made of beef, but I buy lamb kosher bacon locally as well.

  • 12:57:40

    FISHERPaula Shoyer is a pastry chef and author of "The Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional and Contemporary Holiday Desserts," Michele Kayal is editor of American Food Roots, she's a contributor on Food and Culture to the Associated Press, and Bonny Wolf is also an editor at American Food Roots, which is a place where you can go to learn about America's food stories from every state in the country.

  • 12:58:02

    FISHERShe's also editor of NPR's Kitchen Window food column and a commentator on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. I'm Marc Fisher of The Washington Post sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi. Thanks so very much for joining us.

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The Politics Hour – Nov. 21, 2014

Friday, Nov 21 2014Sorting political fact from fiction, and having fun while we're at it. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.