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An onslaught of holiday leftovers

  • Lots of leftovers this time of year. (Shutterstock)

It's the end of a week of epic eating for America's Jews, who faced a once-in-every-70,000-years holiday mash-up.

The first day of Hanukkah thudded onto Thanksgiving Thursday with a tummy-tumbling convergence of mashed potatoes and gravy and fried latkes, pumpkin pie and jelly doughnuts.

So what is a good Jewish mother with limited refrigerator space to do with the miracle of the endless leftovers?

If you thought mom was a food pusher before, watch her now.

Elizabeth Van Nuys of Rohnert Park said she was taking no chances. Her kitchen is well stocked with plastic containers.

“Everybody takes home some and they and we are happy,” said Van Nuys, who describes her brood as “enthusiastic eaters” who are proactive when it comes to leftovers anyway. “It's horrible to have a refrigerator of mystery boxes and everyone saying, 'What's in this?' I'm not a good labeler. It all goes home with everybody.”

Anticipating the over-abundance, Margo Miller of Sebastopol got ahead of the leftover avalanche by confabulating the two traditional meals into one rather than double-feasting. She substituted latkes for stuffing. Pumpkin pie won over sufganiyot, the fried doughnuts of Hanukkah.

“Anyone who had their thinking cap on,” she said, “could have escaped this leftover nightmare quite nicely.”

Of course, it also depends on the family.

Rachel Blum, a Santa Rosa mother of five, ran out of room in her 7-foot-tall refrigerator and her garage back-up days before T-Day and found herself calling to see if she could wedge a few things into her neighbor's. No luck.

Blum was unbowed. She came up with ways to turn Thaksgiving's leftovers into a Friday night Hanukkah feast: Sweet-potato latkes with cranberry-apple sauce, turkey into stock for matzo ball soup, pumpkin doughnuts.

Janine Bamberger was equally determined that nothing go to waste this “Hanukkiving,” with leftovers given to the homeless and final scraps going into the compost pile.

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