This is a post from last Thanksgiving but some of you are new to Bamitbach and I wanted to introduce you to my standard dessert for the holiday. I have been in NYC for the last five days and have had many wonderful experiences, meals, and moments. I am thankful that I was able to spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving with all of my children as well as my sister and brother-in-law. I look forward to being home and celebrating with the family and friends who can join us, but I am equally happy knowing that those who can’t join us are, thankfully, in good hands. Happy Thanksgiving.
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.
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November 27, 2011 at 9:42 AM
Just read the blog about Thanksgiving. This trip was really wonderful. Maybe next year we can stay in the city for Thanksgiving b’ezrat HaShem. I know you love to have Thanksgiving at home with the children and friends but I found it very hard to leave NY this time.
I was telling Jeffrey about Thanksgiving at our home and about all the wonderful Thanksgivings we had at your home. Mommy sitting at the kitchen table while you cooked, Shira baked and I was sous chef and dishwasher. We just laughed and talked and, if I was lucky, I would sneak into the living room to watch The Twilight Zone where Daddy was sitting and reading the LA Times or a magazine. Norman was gathering chairs and setting the table and the boys were somewhere doing something scary. There was so much food and it was scrumptious. The good old days.
I am so sorry I missed the apple pie. My favorite.
November 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Thanks Anita. Judy mentioned the fact that she has been at my Thanksgiving table since 1993 every year except for the two times I have been out of town. It is always hard to leave you and Jeff and the kids too. I don’t remember the Twilight Zone but I remember the rest. Every stage is an adjustment, that’s for sure
November 21, 2011 at 3:01 PM
Irene-Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family. I love Thanksgiving. We do the same recipes every year which have become tradition. We might add a new dessert or new drink–this year it is Champagne Sangria–but no other major changes. I always think of it as all the benefits of Yom Tov, i.e. family, with none of the obligation or time contraints. Enjoy.
November 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM
Same to you Elayne! I feel the same way, and that’s one of the reasons it is my favorite. We usually have something called Kir Royale, one of my friends makes it. Champagne Sangria sounds yummy!