Ending on the evening of December 14, Hanukkah is already underway. After that, comes Christmas, followed by the seven days of Kwanzaa, from December 26 through January 1, 2016.
Just as the mutual celebrations of faith, family, community and culture unifies these holidays, so does the sharing of a meal, comprised of traditional holiday dishes. Pot Roast served with rich brown gravy, a mainstay at many tables set for Hanukkah, would be equally at home on a menu created for Christmas. Likewise for oil-fried potato latkes (potato pancakes), served in remembrance of the “miracle of oil, ” the miracle being that despite there only being one day’s worth of oil to light the menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, it miraculously lasted for eight. In addition, some of the typical dishes enjoyed at a Kwanzaa feast, such as black-eyed peas and rice (otherwise known as Hoppin’ John), commonly served on New Year’s Day for good luck all year long, has become embraced among folks of all beliefs, each contributing an adaption or two, along the way.
Little touches can go far to further blend the festivities of the season. Illuminate a room with the lights of a menorah and the black, red and green candles of Kwanzaa. Under the Christmas tree, place a dreidel and some gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins. And, if you can find the time, learn how to make an African toe puppet for Santa. One made with pipe cleaners and yarn – instead of bamboo and tufts of lion hair.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.