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Chef's Hat: The year of Thanksgivukkah

This year, for the first time in more than 100 years, Thanksgiving and the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah fall on the same day.

For those unfamiliar with Hanukkah, it is a celebration of an historical event when the Jewish people won their land back in a battle. After their victory they wanted to rededicate their temple but only had enough oil to burn for one day. Somehow, miraculously, that small amount of oil lasted for eight days.

Today, this “Holiday of Lights” is an eight-day celebration of fun, family time, prayers and good food. One custom of Hanukkah is to eat foods fried in oil. How can you go wrong eating fried foods? Traditional Hanukkah dishes include roast chicken, beef brisket, potato latkes (potato pancakes) and fried doughnuts. Those are just a few dishes that usually show up on a Hanukkah table.

Hanukkah is a holiday of renewed dedication, faith and hope. Thanksgiving, of course, is the day we stop to give thanks. Both are days to take a break from our 24/7 lives, and spend time with our family and friends around a table full of festive dishes.

The brisket and potato latke recipes are somewhat long and time consuming. But for special holidays, why not spend a little more time in the kitchen and impress your friends and family with your great cooking skills?

For the day, or at least for a few hours, shut off the TV, the cell phones, the computer and the video games and enjoy time and conversations with people who are in the same room.

Happy Thanksgivukkah and happy eating!