Making a ‘Meat Calendar’ for holiday meals

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing columnist

Like most of you this week, I have a lot of leftovers. I believe this stems from the fact that I would rather have more food for our holiday guests than not enough. I would rather send my guests home with plates of food than have a crowd of angry people scrambling over a single piece of pie. A week from Thanksgiving and I still have most of a turkey breast in the refrigerator.

Don’t get me wrong. I like turkey. In fact, I have been known to eat it in months that don’t have a turkey-eating holiday in them. Turkey is not only for a big dinner at Grandma’s. Turkey is year round. I’m not talking about your random club sandwich or pot pie, but the whole bird: wings, breasts, and a duel with the wishbone. However, in the week after Thanksgiving, there is a little too much turkey in our house. I have eaten turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey pot pie. I have had turkey for lunch and dinner and I even tried making a turkey and stuffing omelet the other morning that tasted, well, kinda weird. There is a reason why we don’t get together for breakfast on Thanksgiving and I think I have discovered it.

This year, the turkey experiment has led to sliders. A little bit of turkey, a spoonful of stuffing, and a dollop of gravy on a small sweet dinner roll. I can eat about six of these in a single sitting and they have made for easy lunches at work. The only problem is, my co-workers have discovered these portable Thanksgiving dinners and have been asking me to bring them into work by the dozen so they can share. My argument was if they wanted Thanksgiving dinner with me, they should have come to the house and sat at the table with the rest of us. Now, it seemed, they only wanted the turkey if it came as a handheld device. Even turkey leftovers have become completely handheld. It’s only a matter of time before Apple comes out with iTurkey, which makes you get a totally new meal every 10 minutes when a new update is released. It will cost more than an average dinner, but devotees will insist its better than any other.

In a few weeks, it will be Christmas and the whole turkey thing will start again. My family had a tradition that after the turkey holidays, the New Year would begin with ham. Most people wait until Easter for ham, but we always started early. I am thinking we might have to alternate the holiday meats. Thanksgiving is turkey. Christmas will be ham. New Year’s Day is my birthday, so I think I should, by default, pick the meat for that one. I like beef, but I might alternate between surf and turf on alternate years. Easter would still be ham. By that time, the sit-down meals are out of the way and we can be on the way to cookouts, where the meats have always been a mixed bag. There could be a yearly “Meat Calendar” where families could coordinate their meat intake with each holiday throughout the year. It doesn’t matter what the sides are. Sides are pretty much interchangeable with any meat. Except for lima beans. Nobody likes lima beans. As far as the “Meat Calendar” goes, vegetarians need not apply. You have your own rules. Maybe you could go “tofu-beans-alfalfa” or something like that. Maybe put in a kale smoothie for variety. Or roughage.

The one thing we never have leftovers of are the desserts. This year we had two pumpkin pies because I am the only one who eats apple pie. More people ate pumpkin at our holiday party, so we had more pumpkin pie. My wife also made cupcakes with little autumnal-shaped candies on top. When I mentioned the absence of apple pie, my wife said if I was a good boy, she would make one for Christmas. When I pointed out we would be traveling for Christmas, she said we would have one for my birthday. I said that was when we had birthday cake. She suggested I could have either pie or cake, and added that birthday party guests expect cake and not an apple pie. If I wanted to ruin birthday tradition, that was up to me. I imagine I am having cake. I don’t want to have a house full of people watch me be the only one eating pie.

I suppose each and everyone of you has your own way of dealing with the leftovers of the holiday meals. Please feel free to share some of them on my Joe Weaver, Columnist Facebook page. I’d love to see what the creative minds come up with. And don’t forget, this columnist’s birthday is coming soon. I have it under good authority that he likes apple pie.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing columnist