Author, food columnist, chef and award-winning cooking instructor Tina Wasserman was recently interviewed on an NPR Morning Edition segment, for a story about the convergence this year of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and the cross-cultural foods that might be served to celebrate both.
The kosher kitchen in the Abbe Center for Jewish Life is named in honor of Wasserman by her husband, Dr. Richard L. Wasserman ’70, a trustee at Hobart and William Smith. A link to her interview is available on “The Salt: What’s on your plate” blog in a story titled “Thanksgivukkah: A Mash Of Two Holidays That’s Easy To Relish.”
NPR Correspondent Susan Stamberg discusses different foods that may cross over from one menu to the other and asked Wasserman her opinion of including latkes at Thanksgiving.
“The one thing about the Thanksgiving table is if you add another starch to it, nobody notices,” Wasserman says. “They’re very happy with it.”
In her blog, Stamberg writes “Tina Wasserman’s ideal Thanksgivukkah/Hanukkah-giving table would have turkey and something pumpkin. She says pumpkin is part of Jewish tradition – a symbol of prosperity and the circle of life. Tina makes pumpkin custard – and cooks the custard inside the pumpkin shell.”
“This actually was the forerunner of the modern pumpkin pie, it’s what the pilgrims ate,” she says.
The story also notes “Wasserman thinks the fact that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year makes for even better food and family and memories.
“This is a time to give thanksgiving for what’s been brought to the table by your ancestors,” she is quoted. “And that to me, regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, is really what it’s all about for Thanksgiving.”
Specializing in contemporary kosher cuisine and trained in nutrition and education, Wasserman holds degrees from Syracuse University and New York University and is a popular food educator in her own cooking school and as a scholar-in-residence in communities across North America. In 1994, she was elected to Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international culinary society that honors women in the food and beverage industry. She is one of only four Dames in the country honored as an expert in Jewish cooking and culinary history.
Wasserman is the author of “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora.” She has been the food columnist for Reform Judaism magazine since 2003. Her writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, and she has appeared on live radio and television and featured on Good Morning America.