When Thanksgiving and Hanukkah meet, you get to mess with tradition while saving money

I grew up in a Polish family, so we did Thanksgiving with a twist: kielbasa and homemade horseradish served with our turkey. My neighbors were Italian, so they ate lasagna with their turkey. Our ultra-traditional friends thought we were both crazy — anything but turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce was sacrilegious.

These days, you can find dozens of recipes for nontraditional Thanksgiving meals online (like this one). But if you like to eat unconventionally on Turkey Day, this is your year.

For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. As The New York Times noted a few weeks ago, it’s the perfect time for a gastronomic mash-up…

With latkes on the Thanksgiving table this year, there won’t be any need for stuffing. And the absence of the usual applesauce is a reminder that traditions, comforting as they are, often act as blinders to culinary possibilities.

What The New York Times didn’t mention: A Thanksgivukkah meal can save you money, too.

The most expensive ingredient in a Thanksgiving Day dinner is the turkey, which is most expensive this time of year. Adding intriguing and ethnic sides — from kielbasa to lasagna — allows you to swap a big bird for a smaller one.

And because so much traditional Jewish food is not only cheap but simple to make, your holiday meal becomes both unconventional and inexpensive. For potato latkes, just combine shredded potatoes, grated onions, flour, salt, and eggs. Add a dollop of apple cranberry sauce, and you’re done.  Or use sweet potatoes instead and add a little cinnamon.

If you want to get a little more exotic, try…

And instead of wine with dinner, try craft beer.  The good people at JewishBoston.com have discovered a couple that pair well with these foods. How about Pumple Drumkin from Cisco Brewers to pair with the sweet potato noodle kugel? Or Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company matched with the stuffing or potato latke?

If you’re not sure this is the year to mix Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, you won’t get another chance for a very long time — the two holidays don’t collide again for another 77,798 years!

Meet the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of Debt.com's 'By the Numbers' videos.

Family, Food

food and drink, holidays, Thanksgiving

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Article last modified on March 14, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Thanksgivukkah: Shaking up holiday meal traditions on a budget - AMP.