This is a repeat of an earlier Food Friday Thanksgiving column, because we are still trying to recover from yesterday’s holiday feast. NPR has Susan Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish recipe. Somewhere on the internet yesterday you heard Arlo Guthrie singing Alice’s Restaurant for the 55th year. The Spy’s Gentle Readers get to enjoy the annual rite of leftovers as engineered when my son was in college. In in these fraught almost post-COVID times it feels reassuring to remind ourselves of the simpler times. Here’s a wish for a happier, healthier world next Thanksgiving!
And here we are, the day after Thanksgiving. Post-parade, post-football, post-feast. Also post-washing up. Heavens to Betsy, what a lot of cleaning up there was. And the fridge is packed with mysterious little bundles of leftovers. We continue to give thanks that our visiting college student is an incessant omnivore. He will plow systematically through Baggies of baked goods, tin-foiled-turkey bits, Saran-wrapped-celery, Tupperware-d tomatoes and wax-papered-walnuts.
It was not until the Tall One was in high school that these abilities were honed and refined with ambitious ardor. His healthy personal philosophy is “Waste not, want not.” A sentiment I hope comes from generations of hardy New Englanders as they plowed their rocky fields, dreaming of candlelit feasts and the TikTok stars of the future.
I have watched towers of food rise from his plate as he constructs interesting arrangements of sweet, sour, crunchy and umami items with the same deliberation and concentration once directed toward Lego projects. And I am thankful that few of these will fall to the floor and get walked over in the dark. Of course, now there is the wonder dog, Luke, so nothing much makes it to the floor.
I have read that there may have been swan at the first Thanksgiving. How very sad. I have no emotional commitment to turkeys, and I firmly belief that as beautiful as they are, swans are mean and would probably peck my eyes out if I didn’t feed them every scrap of bread in the house. Which means The Tall One would go hungry. It is a veritable conundrum.
The Pilgrim Sandwich is the Tall One’s magnum opus. It is his turducken without the histrionics. It is a smorgasbord without the Swedish chef. It is truly why we celebrate Thanksgiving. But there are some other opinions out there in Food Land.
This is way too fancy and cloying with fussy elements – olive oil for a turkey sandwich? Hardly. You have to use what is on hand from the most recent Thanksgiving meal – to go out to buy extra rolls is to break the unwritten rules of the universe. There are plenty of Parker House rolls in your bread box right this minute – go use them up!
This is a recipe for simpletons. Honestly. And was there Muenster cheese on the dining room table yesterday? I think not.
And if you are grown up and sophisticated, here is the answer for you. Fancy Thanksgiving leftovers for a grown up brunch:
Here are The Tall One’s ingredients for his signature Pilgrim Sandwich:
Toast (2 slices)
Turkey (2 slices)
Cranberry Sauce (2 teaspoons)
Gravy (2 tablespoons)
Mashed Potatoes (2 tablespoons)
Stuffing (2 tablespoons)
Barbecue Sauce (you can never have too much)
Bacon (if there is some hanging around)
Mayonnaise (if you must)
Lettuce (iceberg, for the crunch)
Celery stalk (more crunch)
A side bowl of potato chips
And now I am taking the dog for a walk before I consider making my own sandwich.
“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.” -Robert Fulghum