Calendar coincidence leads to perfect storm

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On the surface, the idea of a combined Hanukkah and Thanksgiving promises the best of both holidays: a celebration of survival despite enormous hardship, a respect for diverse cultures and a blending of the secular and the religious in a most joyful way.

I see that, but I also see a perfect storm ahead, with the coincidence of calendar and the bundling of culinary traditions. Emergency rooms need to be on high alert.

In my house, we will have some 20 people for the holidays on Nov. 28. Already, the orders are flowing in via e-mail, text and phone message: Don’t forget the cornbread stuffing. It isn’t Thanksgiving without it. Make sure you have enough latkes; at least five each. (My house will smell of cooking oil until Passover.) We must have sweet potatoes and cranberry relish and gravy. What about the brisket, my son texts? I text back: Did the Maccabees have brisket? This is a New World extravagance.

The Thanksgiving dessert menu at our table apparently is etched in stone. We have pumpkin pie, homemade apple cake, homemade chocolate pudding pie and cooked fruit with brown sugar and whipped cream for the health fanatics. But that’s just Thanksgiving. This is what I mean by a perfect storm. We also have to have Hanukkah desserts: cookies and jelly rolls and chocolate candy.

Christians, Muslims and others, including ye of little faith, be warned. After the Thanksgiving turkey, the gravy, the sweet potato soufflés and the stuffing, sampling a latke could lead to a major cardiac event. Jewish people be advised: It surely will be a challenge, but you’ve trained for this for years. A little bit of stuffing after 14 latkes is no big deal.

Copyright © 2013 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at

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