This post originally appeared in the November 16, 2020 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.
It’s a cliche take at this point: The leftovers you unceremoniously stuff between sliced bread the day after Thanksgiving wind up being better than the actual holiday feast. This is the unvarnished truth. With bread as your canvas, you are your own poultry Picasso, layering turkey and any (all?) of the Thanksgiving sides into an architectural marvel of textures and flavors. Gone are the worries over familial seating arrangements and timing out the turkey. Gone are the judgmental looks about who took the last of the dark meat or how much of your plate is smothered with gravy (as much as possible). All that’s left is that elusive perfect bite, expanded into nine or 10 bites of pure holiday ecstasy, consumed in the loose-fitting loungewear of your choice.
Espousing the glories of the leftovers sandwich, of course, is not new. But this year, with all other aspects of usual life out the window, it’s finally time to make that second-act stack the headliner it was born to be. In 2020, The Sandwich IS Thanksgiving.
Hear me out: Attempting a full-on Thanksgiving feast this year is a bad idea for any number of reasons. First, the whole so-called “dinner party” might be just you, or you plus the one or two people you’ve been stuck eating every meal with for the last eight months. Or maybe after almost a year’s worth of project cooking, you’re just sorta over it. Or if you are planning to be part of a group hang, you’ve got the traditional family-style presentation to grapple with, which — along with your whole get-together, honestly — is COVID taboo.
The Sandwich can help with that.
Thanksgiving sandwiches are equally easy to make for one or for 20. Individually plated, they don’t need any shared serving utensils or virus-loaded buffet setup. They don’t even require cooking! Pick up some deli turkey, a can of cranberry sauce, some pre-made mashed potatoes or stuffing — or better yet, a small premade holiday meal from one of the gazillion restaurants offering them this year — and assemble the masterpiece. A big group will have to sacrifice some individual creativity for the sake of food safety, but just designate one sandwich artist per gathering to glove up and do the work. In the end, everyone gets to hygienically experience the nostalgic flavors of the holiday in what we’ve already established is their superior sandwich form, all while staying COVID-safe and without any silverware to wash afterward.
Something to truly be thankful for.