One of (if not the) best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Having a big-ass turkey sandwich with stuffing, cranberry and gravy piled on is a great half-time snack for Monday Night Football. But it depends on getting good leftovers.
Last year we realized that we never really take home enough of the right kinds of leftovers. It would be easier if we hosted, but we never do. We get our little container, filled with a little bit of everything (typically too much green bean casserole and not enough turkey, ham and stuffing!), just like everyone else who converges on my parents' or uncles' house. We remedied that by buying a turkey breast and roasting it up with all the fixin's that weekend. Voila - leftovers galore! As an aside we never wont for desserts; my wife is an awesome baker and dessert is never scarce at Thanksgiving; so we almost always return home with plenty of her cake and pie to gorge ourselves on.
This year we absconded with the remaining half of the huge bone-in ham that my dad contributed, with the promise that he will get some split pea and ham soup out of it. The soup will come, but for the time being we've been frying it up with eggs, or just baking up a batch of homemade biscuits and having ham, biscuits and coffee for breakfast. He smokes a good ham. He doesn't make good pies. This year he tried to emulate a lemon pie recipe my aunt makes. I'd never had it before this past week, but I hope she makes it better. The filling is whole, sliced lemon with the rind zested off and part of the sweetened filling. The lemon pulp wasn't bad. Biting through the rind was too bitter. And the crust was thick and hard to cut. I believe he rolled it out with a Panzer III. To be fair, good pie crust is not easy to make. Unless you're my wife.
So we took a big-ass piece of ham and skipped the pie. But otherwise the container of leftovers was pitifully small. So we did it again - buy more turkey, stuffing, veggies, roast it all up with potatoes, gravy, hot rolls. Don't forget the cranberry sauce. We named it "Bonus Thanksgiving".
Bonus Thanksgiving is about one thing - maximizing leftovers. The logic is distinctly American (or, maybe 'murrikan) - consume more up front so it will go farther. Spend more so you can get bonus points and spend even more. Hell, it's even more American than the original Thanksgiving.
On a less sarcastic note, it's also a good thing; it's a chance for my family - I, my wife and my kids - to sit down and just enjoy each other over a meal without the additional ten people who make dinner a quasi-stressful event, without dad spending endless minutes detailing how he carefully constructed a Lemon-Panzer pie and describing things like "letting the dough rest in the fridge" as though he just discovered this long lost ancient trick before he shovels down huge mouthfuls of it while making "yummy sounds".
So yeah, Bonus Thanksgiving will be a Chef Cthulhu family tradition. I'm willing to bet Bonus Christmas will, too.
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