Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday. There are so many memories – all revolving around family and food. I remember the time when my mother decided to make peanut butter & chocolate pies and forego the traditional pumpkin. She always was an adventurous spirit! The pies were fabulous but the whole family was upset and perhaps too vocal about “the Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie”. Her feelings were hurt and we felt badly about being so unappreciative. The take-away lesson for me as a chef is to be really careful about messing around with time-honored traditions. The peanut butter & chocolate pies would have been a welcome addition but don’t dare replace the pumpkin pie!
Maybe one of the best memories about the Thanksgiving meal is the wealth of leftovers the meal provides. Our less formal family gatherings for the following meals were just as delightful as the main event. I was always so amused at the sandwiches my dear brother-in-law would concoct. I can picture the delighted gleam in his eyes as he piled everything on top of his turkey sandwich. Potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce – if it was on the table it belonged on his sandwich. Joe constructed full on holiday buffets between two slices of bread!
I’ve been hearing about schools turning ordinary turkey sandwiches into Thanksgiving sandwiches with the addition of cranberry mayonnaise. I love that idea! Here’s my version on Pillsbury Ciabatta– inspired my brother-in-law’s creations. When you serve this recipe, maybe you should also prepare a few plain turkey sandwiches for those students who won’t appreciate you messing around with tradition!