November 23, 2001
The Ten O'Clock Sandwich

First of all, it has to be eaten at night, in bed, with the TV on ... preferably in your pajamas, preferably while you're still feeling slightly overstuffed from Thanksgiving dinner. (Although not SO overstuffed that eating The Ten O'Clock Sandwich is going to cause distress ... for anybody in your bed.)

Eating the sandwich for lunch the next day -- or for dinner the next night, or the night after that, or the night after that -- doesn't count. It has to be fresh, right out of the aluminum foil your hostess wrapped it in. (Or, if your hostess was less than generous, right out of the bottom of your purse.)

Second of all: absolutely no substitutions are permitted. No swapping out the mayonnaise with Miracle Whip, for instance. Only white turkey meat can be used. Canned cranberries are fine, but only whole berry cranberry sauce: none of the jellied stuff. And no trendy Seven Grain Stone-Milled Wheat and Nut Bread: only cheap, gluey supermarket white will do.

The recipe is breathtaking in its simplicity, and unyielding in its specificity.

  • Two slices of white bread
  • White turkey meat
  • Margarine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole berry cranberry sauce
  • Leftover turkey stuffing (sans oysters, peanuts, blueberries, nutmeg, hard-boiled eggs, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal or any OTHER weird untraditional ridiculousness)

Spread a thin layer of margarine on one slice of bread. Cover that with a thin layer of mayonnaise, then with a not-so-thin layer of chunky cranberry sauce. The combination of mayonnaise and cranberries on one side of the sandwich is what gives it its buttery/velvety/melt-in-your-mouth flavor.

Meanwhile, spread another thin layer of margarine on the second slice of bread, then top the margarine with a big healthy dollop of leftover stuffing. Salt and pepper liberally. Lay three or four slabs of leftover white turkey meat on top of the stuffing, then salt and pepper liberally some more.

Then the fun part: figuring out how to slap the two sandwich halves together without dropping *key ingredients* onto the floor/into the sink/down the front of your nightgown. (Hint: the mayonnaise-and-cranberry half is easier to pick up and smoosh onto the turkey-and-stuffing half than the other way around.)

Slice sandwich diagonally -- never in half!! -- and serve on the good wedding china, along with a dill pickle and a can of Hansen's Mandarin Lime Natural Soda. Bon appetit!

And here's one more *rule,* especially if you are a newlywed and you have recently gotten your spouse hooked on The Ten O'Clock Sandwich:

Make three of them at a time.

Carry two sandwiches into the bedroom -- one for your spouse, one for you -- and then when he swallows his sandwich whole and begins to longingly eyeball yours, fifteen seconds later, you can casually say "Oh ... there's another one in the kitchen."

Trust me. It beats having to climb out of bed and go through the whole process all over again.

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bev told me that nobody reads the fine print. is that true?