My sister recalls that I came home from Kindergarten and told my mother that I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving. At that point my parents and sister would have been living in the United States for about seven years, and were open to the idea of celebrating this “American” holiday. That was the beginning of a new tradition for our family, Thanksgiving dinner.
I remember my mother roasting a turkey, prepared the same way she prepared roast chicken for Shabbat, with lots of garlic, salt and pepper. She made candied sweet potatoes, a dish she learned from my cousin’s housekeeper Edith, and a delicious stuffing made with challah, mushrooms, celery, carrots and caramelized onions. It was sort of an Eastern European Thanksgiving dinner. No guests, no fanfare, no cornucopia, but I always found it special and meaningful.
As a child of immigrants, the Thanksgiving narrative of people who came to America searching for religious freedom always resonated with me. As a child of survivors, I understood that my family had much to be thankful for. It was not a story from a textbook, it was the story of my family. America welcomed them and gave them a fresh start, shelter, the ability to live openly and proudly as Jews, and a place to put down roots and watch their families grow and flourish. For each of those reasons, and more, I will always be thankful.
Our Thanksgiving dinner is very traditional, given some dietary restrictions. We have mulled cider, Turkey, stuffing, corn bread, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and our favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 12 oz. pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips, tossed with 1 tbsp flour
Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Combine eggs with oil, water and pumpkin and mix well. Stir into dry ingredients. Fold chocolate chips in to batter. Divide mixture among three greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick inserted into loaf comes out dry.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
November 18, 2010 at 9:22 PM
looks amazing i will make it next week, u r the best !
November 19, 2010 at 7:41 AM
November 18, 2010 at 7:46 PM
I just made this for shabbos in the spirit of Thanksgiving! It smells sooo good. Can’t wait to have Thanksgiving together soon! Thank you for posting the recipe 🙂
November 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM
We can’t wait either!!!! Glad to know that you make it. Another generation.
November 18, 2010 at 2:15 PM
Really really beautiful. We do indeed have much for which to be thankful!!!
November 18, 2010 at 2:30 PM
I love your by-line. Thanks Nancy!
November 18, 2010 at 11:02 AM
This sounds so yummy Irene. We love quick breads in our house. Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf is one of our favorites, as you might remember from one of my earlier posts. So this sound like a real winner for us.
November 18, 2010 at 2:31 PM
I do remember and this one is easy and great. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!!
November 18, 2010 at 7:57 AM
Irene, I had lunch with a very dear friend yesterday and we were talking food as we always do. I forwarded the meringue cookie recipe to her (she loved them, and lives in France 1/2 the year). The french apparently love meringues and she made them for friends. She mentioned getting your delicious newsletters. I’m not sure why, but I’m not on your list and would love to be. She just forwarded your Thanksgiving story and, what I know must be a delicious pumkin chocolate chip bread. On an other note, I had no idea you came from immigrants who also were survivors. I am also a child of survivors but not born in this country and lived in Europe, Isreal and Canada before coming to the United States. We never really celebrated the Thanksgiving Holiday. I do remember at some point having a very “Jewish Turkey” but never having eaten or tasted pumkin of any kind. It was only much, much later and through a best friend whose Mother was an icredible cook that I had my first bite of pumkin pie while celebrating with her family a traditional Thanksgiving. Shirley, my friend Gail’s Mother was my inspiration. She taught me the wonders of food and its preparation. My tastes quickly changed and I discovered a whole new way with food. I started cooking right after that……..nothing like my Mother who never changed the ways of the Old World. My parents never tasted pumkin (oh, what they missed). Anyhow, I’ve gotten off the subject, I’d very much like to received your newsletters and really do hope that we can get together with our daughters at some point soon……..I’m Daniela’s Mother just in case you have forgotten. Thanks again, Irene and I will make this bread for Daniela and Lindsay to enjoy this Thanksgiving (I have always done a very traditional one. A Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours.
November 18, 2010 at 8:52 AM
Good morning Judy,
What a wonderful e-mail. Thank you. I am not sure if I knew about your background either but I don’t think so. I don’t think that my parents ever tasted pumpkin either, except maybe in this bread. Please let me how the girls like the bread. I will try and sign you up from my end. If not, I am sure Daniela can help you.
I would love to get together! Maybe after the girls come back from their amazing adventure. Where were your parents from?
November 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM
I LOVE that recipe — we’re going to make it this year for sure!
November 17, 2010 at 10:20 PM
Just made the three loaves in a very short amount of time.