|"Is it done, yet?"|
I do love the turkey sliced warm right off the bird, white meat only, please with a dollop of Val's gravy. I'll take a little mashed potato and corn to be polite. But what I really want is some doctored up cranberry sauce and heap of stuffing. If there is bread or a dinner roll, I'll take that, too.
On Thursday, I'm really just waiting. Biding my time until the next day when all of the fixings and the turkey are waiting chilled in my refrigerator. I am imagining and planning what lies ahead: a mile high sandwich made from the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers that I will devour in the privacy of my own kitchen on Friday.
Of course a sandwich that has been anticipated for an entire year must be constructed on just the right bread. I demand Pepperidge Farm Jewish Pumpernickel. I don't recall why, but it's what I crave. The first step is to toast 2 slices just enough to give the slightly spongy textured bread some strength to give it some sturdiness for the job that lies ahead. To begin, a slather of mayonnaise, not just any mayo, please, Hellman's Real Mayonnaise ONLY will do. Spread just enough on each slice of bread to create a glue for the rest of the ingredients. Next, a thick slab of cold stuffing on one slice. Top the stuffing with quite a few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce but not so much that the sandwich might become soggy half way through the anticipated eating experience. Layer on as much white meat (thinly sliced and don't even think of sneaking ANY dark meat) as humanly possible to pile up without any pieces falling off to the side before I can top the whole post Thanksgiving food mountain with a generous sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper then cover with the other slice of already mayo'ed pumpernickel bread. Gently cut this beauty in half with the sharpest knife in the house and reverently place it on a plate. A cold glass of milk is the ideal accompaniment. I want chips (Wise was the brand from my childhood before Cape Cod Chips came along and stole the show.) but I know that will push my stomach's capacity right over the edge. As it is, I should never have eaten the leftover piece of Kentucky Bourbon Pie I managed to smuggle home and keep a secret for only myself to eat in the wee hours before everyone else woke up this morning.
This sandwich is so good not only because of each ingredient expertly prepared by Val and squirreled away by me but also because it represents a moment in time. This particular Friday with this exact meal represents the hinge between restful, restorative Thanksgiving and the rushing madness of the Christmas season. The calm before the storm of shopping for and wrapping gifts, checking lists, being here, going there. Decorating, obligations, chorus concerts and craft fairs. But I won't think about that right now. In this moment, all I need is the remote, my pink down filled blanket and some retro Holiday programming to get me in the spirit of the season.