thanksgiving leftovers

Day 10: Turkey grilled cheese
Day 10: Turkey grilled cheese

Thanksgiving is stuffed full of cliches. They usually turn out to be true. The overabundance and excess of food is one. The shoulda-worn-sweatpants laments are another. I managed to rein in my eating this year – more because I was the host and actually had responsibilities than because I’ve developed self-discipline, I’m afraid.

Let’s talk grilled cheeses. Grilled cheeses are hard to make in Germany, which lacks the second most important ingredient: soft, grillable bread. Well, I got kinda lucky and discovered a spelt-pumpkinseed loaf from regional bakery franchise Dat Backhus (low German meaning ‘The Bakery’) with a thin, pliable crust and soft, pillowy inside.

So this is what I did on Day 10 of turkey leftover season:

Melt a bit of leftover turkey fat (skimmed from the leftover drippings) in a pan. Fry up some leftover turkey slices. Put a slice of bread in the pan and add in this order: cheese (I used an old North Holland cheese, but cheddar or gruyere or almost any other kind could work too), turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing/drippings, cheese, another slice of bread. When it starts to smell amazing, flip. Colour should be deep golden brown and maybe slightly burnt in places. When the second side is done, move to a plate and – this is extremely important – cut the sandwich into triangles. It tastes better that way. Trust me.

It was soooo good. I’ve also made this before with the addition of cucumber, which also worked great and provided some much appreciated freshness/semblance of healthfulness to the whole deal, and I’d imagine baby spinach could also be good there.

It reminded me of that one glorious summer I was in Newfoundland with my sister on a hiking/camping/exploring trip. Newfoundland is a big island and the transportation options to get from one side to the other are not exactly numerous. We took a 9-hour coach from Deer Lake in the west to St. John’s in the east, traveling down Highway 1 at a beautiful turning point in my life. Everything was just crazy epic, and this coach ride was no exception. On the way we stopped for lunch at a rest stop restaurant, where we both had the hot turkey sandwich – a Newfie speciality. The idea of a hot sandwich drowning in gravy is genius, and the reality did not disappoint.

…Well, waddaya know! A quick googling just now tells me that that rest stop – the Irving gas station at Goobies (ridik name – all Newfounland place names are at least this level of funny) – is one of Newfoundland’s most beloved places for hot turkey sandwiches.

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