Every once in a while I stumble upon a reminder that I haven’t been fully practicing what I preach and welcoming the kids into the kitchen. The busier our days get, the more tempting it gets to shoo them into the other room with an art project or television to keep them out of the way. With holiday cooking taking even more effort than every day meals, it’s easy to forget that this is the best time to create positive memories around food.
A post by Mayim Bialik on Kveller about her mother’s hand-written holiday menus prompted me to bring the kids into this part of our holiday meal. I asked them one evening what we should include, and I plan to type and print out two copies to let them decorate while I’m, yes, busy cooking. I confess I was a little surprised — maybe even slightly disappointed — there weren’t any off-the-wall requests. (C’mon, kids, mama has a blog to write here. ) The boy suggested broccoli for the green vegetable but was willing to accommodate my suggestion of green beans instead. He wouldn’t back down on his insistence for pumpkin pie over pumpkin cheesecake, but it’s a win I was willing to let him have.
There are just seven of us, so we pretty much stick to the classics with a few twists. We’ll have latkes on the first night of Hanukkah, but this is the Thursday evening menu:
FoodieTots Thanksgivukkah Menu
American Farmstead Cheese
Orange Sage Roasted Turkey
Challah Stuffing with Bacon and Apples
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Marshmallows
Cider & Maple Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans with Lemon Zest
Assortment of NYC Desserts
Of course decorating the table is another easy way to include children in preparing the holiday meal. We made handprint “Menurkey” place mats (pictured above) to complement my fancier centerpiece.
I wasn’t sure how to decorate in a way that tastefully blended the two holidays, but then I stumbled upon this beautiful peacock at West Elm and decided hints of teal and gold would be a nice way to blend the blues of Hanukkah with the browns of Thanksgiving. I also am a big fan of centerpieces that double as dessert, and placed a tiny Seckel pear, crimson pomegranate and trio of rust-hued persimmons on my vintage cake platter with a handful of gelt — those chocolate coins that are essential for playing dreidel after the meal.
How are you including your kids in your holiday meals? Please share your ideas — and happy Thanksgivukkah to all who are celebrating!
PS Visit our Thanksgivukkah Potluck post for last-minute recipes, including our Turkey & Sweet Potato Latkes … Thanksgiving is just one day, but there are eight nights of Thanksgivukkah!