Trina Machacek: Let the cold turkey sandwich wars begin

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

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Now that the big November day has passed and we are into leftovers about a week, let’s talk turkey. Sandwiches, cold turkey sandwiches.

If you are above a certain age, you should remember Dagwood, from the comic strip Blondie. Ole Dagwood could make the biggest stuffed sandwiches imaginable. The Dagwood Hero has roots that can only be said to be “belly busters.” Is that what you do? Can you be found, when the hot goes out of the turkey and football comes on every channel, do you find it is time for cold turkey sandwiches? Such a treat aren’t they?

There is an art to making a sandwich. From PB&J to Monte Cristo, the sky is the limit. But no sandwiches seem to be more looked forward to than the lip-smacking-after-Thanksgiving cold turkey sandwich. In all my years this sandwich is the one that even the men of the household will go to the kitchen to make on their own. Oh, the possibilities. Let’s get to it shall we?

There are those of us, yes me, who are plain Jane sandwich-ers. It was just a few years ago that I finally did allow cranberry to be put on my sandwich. Oh, my goodness. What a great addition. Where had that been all my life? Then there are the few, the proud, the “not satisfied until the sandwich weighs about two pounds” type of sandwich makers. My bottle of Tums just stood up to be counted.

I think the first and best start of these after Thanksgiving treats start with fresh soft deliciously bad for me white bread. During the year most people have wheat or oat or multi-grain bread. Yes, most any bread, if bread is eaten at all, seems the more colon cleaning the better. For too long the white bread has been sent to the “No. No. No.” side of the bread box in recent years. Well just as with everything holiday, all holds are barred, and white bread is allowed to be heralded. As long as the turkey holds out!

Next, let the slathering and building begin. Mayo? Miracle Whip? The ever-lasting discussion. I say mayo, but for goodness sakes, “Just pick one!” Uh OK, or butter. I mean everything is better with butter, right? After the slather has been accomplished, salt and pepper are applied. It sticks perfectly to the slathering ingredient.

Now the turkey. Do you only want to use the pretty breast slices? Or do you grab some of the dark stuff in pieces and put it on the bread like you are building a jigsaw puzzle? Either way, turkey is turkey. As the pretty white slices get all used up, we all yes, we all use dark meat for just one more sandwich. Now that the basics have been set – Hey! Wipe your mouth, I can feel you drooling just thinking about a sandwich. Oh no, wait, that’s me! Sorry. Not!

Now comes the free for all. The building. I have to tell you that I am very happy with stopping at turkey. I have as I noted above, I have recently added cranberry to my sandwich. But it has to be the whole berry cranberry. So, imagine my surprise when I first saw someone put stuffing on a sandwich. Stuffing with all the flavors, bread, celery, onions, and bacon! Bacon on a turkey sandwich. Oh, be still my heart.

Then there are the healthy turkey eaters. They put lettuce and/or tomatoes and maybe onion. Of course, on the side there will be carrot sticks or a pickle. The next interesting additive to a cold turkey sandwich was potato chips. Plain, “you can’t eat just one” potato chips. The sandwich maker piles all the goodies on, then squishes the sandwich crackling all those big ole perfect chips into salty goodness.

I have never found a deli sliced turkey that feels like, looks like, or tastes like a real piece of leftover cooked on Thanksgiving Day turkey. Oh, come May a deli turkey sandwich might do in a pinch. But it will probably just make you yearn for that spectacular Thursday in November to roll around. Oh my, I just had a sandwich – don’t say roll around!

Please note. We have only discussed the cold turkey sandwich side of this conversation. That step across the stuffing and gravy to a hot turkey sandwich on a plate is another discussion all on its own.

No matter what you do, do it with gusto. Make those sandwiches until the last football game is played. Until the last deviled egg is a memory. Until each Black Friday sale is sold out. Yes, my friends, until you have had so much turkey you would pay anything for a taco!

Trina Machacek lives in Diamond Valley north of Eureka. She sells her books on her website Email


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