Thanksgiving Leftovers

Let's face it. The most distinguishable trait about Thanksgiving isn't the football game, the parade, or the quality time you get to spend with your relatives. It's the leftovers.

Oh, don't start yelling. I know what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is just as well as anybody else. Any fool will tell you it's a day for people to open their hearts and homes, reflect, and give thanks for their good fortune and all that. But let's be fair here. Without Thanksgiving there would be no need for you to spend an entire day in the kitchen wrestling with a temperamental pie crust and an unreliable turkey baster. And I bet those of you who have (and you know who you are) will agree with me that leftovers are a synonym of freedom. The problem is figuring out how to get rid of them.

For example I, being an avid non-cooker, try to get as many meals out of them as scientifically possible. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as you would think. Oh, I know there are some families who actually eat leftovers willingly but, believe me, once the word is out at my house that the homemade casserole I served for dinner is really three-day-old diced sweat potatoes and stuffing covered in cheese sauce, my non-cooking days are over. Yes-sir-ee.

However, if my past experience dealing with Thanksgiving leftovers has taught me anything at all, it's that I can get away with serving cranberry and turkey sandwiches once, maybe twice, before my family starts to catch on and I must use all of my wits to outsmart them.

My friend Julie is good at this. Each year her family unknowingly eats a variation of Thanksgiving dinner for every meal well into December. This is because on the day after the holiday she serves them a huge dinner of cold turkey, stuffing, and everything else she had saved from the night before. Then, sometime during dessert, she wanders into the kitchen, opens the refrigerator door, throws her arms out to her sides and loudly proclaims, "Oh my! I can't BELIEVE the leftovers are all gone already!" And her family never suspects a thing.

Of course it would be ridiculous to assume that something this easy would work with my family. Mainly because they know me too well. So, life being what it is, in order to get rid of my leftovers I must become a master of disguise. Over the years I've tried everything from turning the string bean casserole into soup, to mixing yams with mashed potatoes, to hiding cranberry sauce underneath lettuce in the salad. Last year, in one particularly desperate moment, I trimmed handfuls of stuffing into fun shapes with cookie cutters.

As shocking as it seems, it's not just me. My friend Linda, who is an abnormally creative cook, gets rid of her leftovers by serving bizarre dishes like spaghetti turkey pie and Tex Mex. turkey pizza. And my friend Teri makes a convincing sweet potato quiche. But this somehow just seems wrong.

I bet by now you're probably thinking that it would be a lot easier to just toss the leftovers in the garbage can or feed them to the dog. And, you're right.

However, I'm going to celebrate by stocking up on plastic wrap and tin foil. Call it what you will, but, in the words of my friend Julie: a Thanksgiving without leftovers is just no Thanksgiving at all.

[ By: Debbie Farmer ( ]


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