So another Thanksgiving has been put to bed. The kitchen is clean (I’m thankful for guests who help with the washing up), table linens are washed and folded, the turkey carcass is bubbling away for stock, and my refrigerator is full of leftovers. I over cater on purpose because really, aren’t leftovers the best thing about Thanksgiving? Turkey sandwiches for lunch on Friday, with a replay of Thanksgiving dinner in the evening. No cooking required.
I’m especially thankful for my leftovers because I know what it’s like to go without. About six or eight years ago, we were living at the Prospect Reef apartments and decided to hold a joint Thanksgiving dinner with our upstairs neighbors, Heather and Simon. Half the people we invited had already been invited to their dinner and visa versa. We both had huge turkeys. A team effort made sense. The festivities took place in our apartment and it was decided that we would we put our turkey out first and Simon and Heather’s turkey would be brought down when that ran out.
At the end of the evening, every scrap of food had been eaten and the turkey carcass looked like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon, picked clean and not a speck of meat to be found. Perhaps you can see where this story is going? That’s turkey carcass, singular. The second turkey had never made it downstairs. I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. No turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey hash, turkey pie.
The next day, when we should have been eating turkey sandwiches, we sat in our turkeyless apartment wondering what we could eat that didn’t involve cooking. Bones wanted to go upstairs and ask for a few slices of turkey to make sandwiches but I couldn’t bring myself to let him go begging for food. It just didn’t seem right. Finally, mid-afternoon, the cheese sandwiches weren’t working and I broke down and sent him upstairs to fetch some turkey. He came back a few minutes later, dejected and empty-handed. Where was the turkey? Surely they could spare a few slices?
They gave it away. What? What? WHAT? They said don’t really like turkey so they gave it away. I wanted to cry. Needless to say, that was my last joint Thanksgiving. These days, I remain firmly in sole charge of the menu and the turkey. And The Year Without Leftovers explains why this year I cooked a 22 pound turkey and a 10 pound ham for 15 people. We have plenty of leftovers and yesterday I enjoyed a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich on toasted pumpernickel. And all is right with the world.