Thanksgiving weekend open thread, with ideas for leftovers

What’s on your mind this long weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Thanksgiving has been a national holiday on the last Thursday in November since 1869. I didn’t know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt caused an uproar when he tried to move the date a week early in 1939, hoping to stimulate the economy.

For many people, Thanksgiving is inextricably linked to certain food traditions. One of them is leftovers the day after the feast. Please share your own favorite recipes for leftovers in the comments. Des Moines restauranteur George Formaro offered three of his favorite uses for extra turkey here. Most years I make soup on the day after Thanksgiving. Here are four ideas, two of which would work for vegetarians as well as for omnivores. We had a smaller gathering than usual yesterday, so I baked chicken rather than a turkey. I made curried butternut squash soup early in the day; this recipe also works well with canned pumpkin. I didn’t make cranberry sauce this year, but when I do, I like to mix the leftover sauce with apples for a pie a day or two later.

Matt Viser published a fantastic piece in the Boston Globe this week: “Michael Dukakis would very much like your turkey carcass.” Turns out the former Massachusetts governor and Democratic nominee for president in 1988 “collects Thanksgiving turkey carcasses to make soup for his extended family for the year to come.” I enclosed excerpts from Viser’s piece below, but do click through to read the whole thing. The Dukakis family recipe for turkey soup is simple and easy to adapt to personal tastes.

Ideally, everyone could have a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving, but the holiday season brings extra stress to many. Some tips for battling anxiety or depression this time of year are here and here. The first holiday season after a major bereavement can be particularly difficult for mourners; Compassion Books has hundreds of resources for people coping with “serious illness, death and dying, grief, bereavement, and losses of all kinds, including suicide, trauma, sudden loss, and violence.” A separate section inclues age-appropriate books for children who have lost a parent, sibling, grandparent, or even a treasured family pet. Carol Staudacher’s book of short meditations, A Time to Grieve, has been a source of comfort to me at difficult times. Whether or not you are religious, Harold Kushner’s verse by verse analysis of the 23rd Psalm is fascinating and provides some helpful perspectives on grieving.


From Matt Viser’s November 25 feature for the Boston Globe: “Michael Dukakis would very much like your turkey carcass.”

In his tidy Brookline kitchen, the state’s former governor and onetime Democratic presidential nominee has had a quirky but endearing tradition legendary among family and friends. He collects Thanksgiving turkey carcasses to make soup for his extended family for the year to come. […]

“Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful. Absolutely sinful,” Dukakis says, in all seriousness. “It’s a terrible thing to do. There’s so much richness and goodness in a turkey carcass, God.”

So eager is Dukakis to gather turkey carcasses that he offers his home address (see below) for anyone who wants to drop one off.

He preserves the carcasses, stuffing seven or eight of them in his freezer after each Thanksgiving, which on its own is quite a feat, requiring sharp scissors to get the bones down to a more reasonable size.

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