Sandwich buffet with barely used condiments and vegetables you have

What would your version of a Thanksgiving be with less work and maybe last minute?

What if you took the expectations of what the meal was supposed to be from your brain and substituted what you wanted to do given your level of enthusiasm, energy and help? Imagine what a relaxed and truly enjoyable day it would be.

If you haven’t done anything ahead of time and crave a plate of the traditional turkey dish of the day, the grocery store is your friend. If buying in-store is good enough for Ina Garten, then who are we to argue? Yes, the holidays are a backdrop for competitive and exhibition cooking, but the classic dishes themselves are so easy to prepare and the flavor so ingrained that it’s probably the best chance ever for one. store bought meal. From Ore-Ida Instant Potatoes to Pepperidge Farmhouse Dressing (the Blue Bag), Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce and Canned or Packaged Sauce, it’s possible to whip up a decent quality last minute meal. and satisfying quickly and economically. Treat yourself to some appetizers from the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s and buy yourself a pie. Commercial pies have gotten a lot better, and if I’m not going to judge you, then why judge yourself?

Chef David LeFevre’s seafood porridge is an original idea for the holidays. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I still remember a conversation I had with David LeFevre, chef-owner of MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J in Manhattan Beach, years ago about how he celebrates Thanksgiving. He called the moment when he cooked all the traditional meal that same day as “indentured bondage,” so he and his family decided to find a better way.

They start the day with a seafood porridge early at noon. It’s the ultimate luxurious one-pot meal. Later in the day when the games begin, the family presents the traditional Thanksgiving dishes David made the night before and people help themselves while watching the games. Basically, they jump straight to leftovers. Other than lunch, there is no gathering around a table for a meal that lasts an hour after 16 hours of preparation and cooking. I’m telling you this story as an example of original thinking – how a family decided to take control of the holidays and not let them control them. They spend a relaxed and fun day with the family, and the dining experience is an experience of personal personalization.

A make-your-own sandwich spread is a laid back way to get together. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I would go two ways. I love sandwiches, I really love them. So I imagine a DIY sandwich buffet scenario. Start with a few loaves of very good bread like challah or King’s Hawaiian, a country bread with sourdough and rye. Run to the store to get your favorite cold cuts and assorted cheeses. Some ideas are turkey, Black Forest ham, prosciutto, mortadella, salam, fresh mozzarella, provolone, muenster, brie and swiss. Put whatever vegetables you have on hand: lettuce, tomatoes, leftover roasted vegetables.

Then the fun part: Collect your condiments, from pesto in a jar to those specialty mustards you never use. Don’t forget the roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, etc. Don’t forget the mayonnaise and mustard to smooth the bread. And for me, raw or pickled onions are not negotiable. Complete the feast with a potato salad and coleslaw and you’re done. Remember, people love to choose and customize their plates and then relax. And if you’re on your own, channel your inner Dagwood and whip up a mile-high sandwich. If you feel like it, you can either find or make turkey meatballs to eat over pasta or add to the sandwich buffet. If you go this route, buy a few subtype rolls.

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