Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:11 am
At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .
Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?
It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.
Like many of us who consider ourselves food adventurers most of the year, when it comes to Thanksgiving, we just want the turkey and mashed potatoes we grew up with. Well, OK, maybe just a teensy bit better than what we grew up with, but along the same lines.
Thanksgiving has its must-haves: potatoes, cranberries, turkey. But cooking the feast with a soul-food style gives the meal a whole new flavor.
Soul food conjures up thoughts of rich dishes full of butter or gravy — comfort foods. But soul food comes out of one of America's darkest chapters. Chef Melba Wilson, owner of Melba's Restaurant and Melba's 125 in Harlem, N.Y., explains that the basis of the cooking comes from the food slave owners gave to slaves.
Vegetarians don't need your sympathy on Thanksgiving, says Dan Pashman, host of a food podcast and blog called The Sporkful. Pashman is an omnivore, but he spoke to vegetarians and found "it actually makes them feel uncomfortable when a host goes to extreme lengths to make something special just for them."
Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table is a show for people who love to eat. Every week, on many public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons and background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she does a live two-hour call-in show, helping listeners with the Big Meal. Sometimes Lynne gets desperate callers — but she seems able to calm them down.
"We save just about anything," Kasper says. "I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot"