Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kitsch-en Kounter: Thanksgiving Leftover Luncheon Loaf

I'm going to cut to the chase; I don't really care for Thanksgiving food.  Call me un-American, but it all just seems so...cooked (like thrice-baked and covered in gravy).  My oh-so-casual attempts to fool my family into an alternative menu are thwarted at every turn; "Hey, gang!  How's about we have a taco bar and make-your-own Jell-O station on Thursday?  Sounds pretty neat, huh?"  But no dice.  Who knew I was related to so many traditional-type sticks in the mud?!!

Over a lifetime, the fatty within (and without) has tried to convince me that Thanksgiving food is both good and worth all the effort, but at this age and stage I am finally willing to live in my truth; I will give you a hundred Thanksgiving feasts for just one 4th-of-July BBQ!  Don't get me wrong.  It's not that I abstain from the bounty of the Thanksgiving table but I am far from inclined to overindulge on turkey and dressing; any average Wednesday afternoon will find me much more in need of elasticized trousers.  What I do love, however, is leftovers.  Within the remainder of chilled, uneaten scraps I find an endless source of creative culinary possibilities.  Even in the dull, grey leftovers of Thanksgiving food, I see a turkey transformation just waiting to happen.

As in all things, I find inspiration in my Kitsch-en Kounter forebears. 

It seems that Turkey Tetrazzini is so retro that it has become "now-tro" and therefore "out-ro" by Kitsch-en Kounter standards.  I decided to turn the flotsam and jetsam of our Thanksgivings past into "Thanksgiving Leftover Luncheon Loaf."  I'm pretty sure that a wise man once said, "We eat with our ears first."  And what sounds more appetizing than "Leftover loaf?"

I had my materials.  I had my inspiration.  Who knew that in creating this sweet-and-savory, layered delight that the hardest part would be finding pristine bread unmarred by an automatic slicing machine?  Two bakeries and four grocery stores later, I couldn't find a single loaf not already cut to ribbons.  The pendulum of preferences in baked goods has swung so far in one direction that now we'll laud the latest marvel by saying, "That's the greatest thing since unsliced bread!"  Eventually, I had to settle for a trimmed-down boule (#wackytackyworldproblems).  Once I had the bread situation under control, it was time to fulfill my obligation to the fillings.

Layer 1: Turkey Salad (leftover turkey, apples, almonds, dried cranberries, and tarragon)

Layer 2: Dressing

Is there an angle from which leftover dressing becomes photogenic?
If so, I haven't found it.  Our family recipe for sage dressing includes
onions, apples, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and roasted pecans.

Layer 3: Cranberry Sauce
I stabilized the homemade cranberry sauce with a bit of cream cheese.

Even the fattiest fatty would have second thoughts about frosting his sandwich but it wouldn't be a layer cake of a sandwich without the unsweetened icing and some decorative finishing touches.  Taking style cues from the antique Thanksgiving greeting above, I made a rather primitive, if altogether edible, turkey out of a mushroom, a red bell pepper, almonds, a carrot, and a single clove.  The pumpkins are made of apricots and flat leaf parsley.  

A bird's eye view
Nesting on a bed of parsley, I only wish I could have surrounded the
Thanksgiving Leftover Luncheon Loaf with hard-boiled turkey eggs!

A cross section of the Thanksgiving Leftover Luncheon Loaf
and the Pecan Praline Pumpkin Bread made for dessert.
As they say, one good loaf deserves another!

Thinking that by adding a few fresh herbs and a loaf of bread I had somehow reduced the richness of Thanksgiving dinner is probably one of my greatest delusions.  In the chance to rework the leftovers of what is my least favorite meal of the year, however, I found something in all of that heavy food for which I am truly thankful.  Maybe next year I'll just make turkey jerky!

"Jerky Turkey" (1945)

Tell the truth, have you ever frosted your sandwich?  What is the best thing you've ever made out of leftovers?  How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  We think that wherever one may live in the world, it is never a bad idea to reflect upon those things for which one is particularly grateful.  Mr. Tiny is especially thankful for his family and his family of wacky tacky turkey necks.  Thanks for your love, loyalty, and support!!! 

From all of us to all of you, a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Mr. Tiny


  1. wow, that is truly a bit of inspired cooking! we're driving to bowling green kentucky tomorrow to spend the day with travis' family. every year i saw we're going to stay home and relax because we both are super busy at work this time of year, but every year we end up trekking all over the south. ah well. hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks, Rae!!! Sometimes holidays seem like more work than anything else; but I guess without all the work, it probably wouldn't feel like a holiday. Hahaha!!! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours!

  2. That is one fantastic looking LOAF!!! (I can't say that without collapsing into hysterical giggling) Thanks for providing the much needed kitsch into this weird holiday! I went on a long bike ride with friends this year---not one to go with tradition AT ALL! And guess what? I AM NOT SHOPPING TODAY! Haha. Hope you have a charmed weekend! Thanks for the fun!

    1. Thank you!!! The older I get, the more I prefer non-traditional holiday activities. A long bike ride sounds perfect - provided my bike had a comfy, beach cruiser-type seat! Hahaha!!! I'm not a big shopper either; I worked in retail for years and the last place you would ever find me is a shopping mall! Thanks again!

  3. How festive! I'm always intrigued by vintage photos of layered loaf recipes...this is one I think I would actually enjoy. Happy belated Turkey Day!

    1. Thanks, Lauren! It wasn't half bad; I try to make things that are funny but not a waste of time or materials. I'm so glad to see you back blogging! I look forward to all of your great finds (especially the jadite)!