Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving leftovers; they taste even better the next day. I personally love another round of complex-carb loading before hitting the Black Friday sales for some shopping cardio thanks to my Thanksgiving leftovers. And as my grandmother used to say: “Don’t waste, don’t want.” So whether you hosted a mega T-Day dinner or were a guest who sneaked off with a generously portioned take-out box, it’s essential to have a game plan to ensure Thanksgiving leftovers are put to use.
A classic and easy way to spruce up your leftover Thanksgiving dishes is to make a turkey sandwich. However, even this can seem a little blasé, especially if your turkey stash has already started to dry up. Luckily, the brilliant minds behind the sitcom Friends came up with a great solution for making the ultimate post-Thanksgiving sandwich, which includes keeping the juiciness of leftover turkey.
What’s so great about Ross’ leftover turkey sandwich for Thanksgiving?
According to season 5, episode 9 of Friends-aptly titled “The One With Ross’ Sandwich” – the “moist-maker” is a Geller original created by Ross’ sister Monica, a professional chef.
“My sister makes these amazing turkey sandwiches,” Ross explains to a colleague during the episode.
What essentially differentiates this Geller gobbler of a sammie from other leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches is that it’s constructed like a traditional turkey club, but with a central loaf of bread soaked in gravy that adds another dimension of rich flavor and moisture to top it off. leftovers used in the filling of the sandwich. Sure, a name like “the Moisture Maker” might not sound very appetizing. In fact, many studies of humans’ aversion to certain terms often include assessments of the negative reaction many have to just hearing the word “damp.”
But, spoiler alert, this sandwich is supposedly so delicious that Ross believes it’s “the only good thing going in [his] life!”
So, after discovering that someone in his office had eaten his stew maker turkey sandwich while ignoring the note designating it as his, Ross snaps. He gets a new nickname in the office (“Mental Geller”) and people are more inclined to bend to his whims out of sheer intimidation.
Eventually, Ross’s boss demands to speak to him about this unusual change in the tides, and it’s soon revealed that the person responsible for eating Ross’s Thanksgiving sandwich without permission is this particular supervisor. And not only did Ross’s boss eat the sandwich, but since he couldn’t finish it himself, he threw most of the sandwich away. The fact that someone would not only take his sandwich without permission but also throw it in the trash without finishing it is the final straw for Dr. Geller. Unable to keep his true feelings in check, Ross explodes in a fiery rage.
“My Sandwich?! MY SANDWICH?!!!” Ross screams loudly as he is face to face with his boss, causing the pigeons outside to scatter in terror.
As you might imagine, Ross’s breakdown later results in him being asked to visit a psychiatrist and take time off from his job. While this show is fiction, something I’ve always wondered about the Friends The Thanksgiving Doggystyle Sandwich is whether the siren call of the “moisture maker” that drove Ross to lose his mind really was as enticing as he’d imagined. If the basis of the entire recipe depends on Thanksgiving leftovers, it’s not like it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare, hence why Ross was so possessive with his Sandwich?
To find out, I decided to recreate Ross’s sandwich myself using leftovers from my family’s Thanksgiving holiday.
What happened when I tried to make the “Friends” Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with the moisture maker
In addition to your tried-and-tested Thanksgiving holiday standards, like turkey and cranberry sauce, the beauty of this sandwich is that all Thanksgiving leftovers are fair game. Then, you can spice up the basics with dishes that are also unique to your family’s Thanksgiving traditions. For example, my family goes all out in the soul food department on Thanksgiving, so every year you can expect to see kale, sweet potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, and coleslaw among our Thanksgiving spread.
RELATED: 11 Outdated Thanksgiving Traditions You’ll Only Find in the South
While some prefer fresh lettuce on their sandwiches, I’ve swapped it out for some kale for an added smoky taste. Also, when I realized I ran out of mayonnaise for the outer slices of the sammie, I improvised by using coleslaw as a spread. The sweet crunch of this slaw goes beautifully with the smoky and spicy flavors of the other ingredients.
The only time I’m willing to eat turkey gravy is on a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich, and the moisture maker is obviously the glue that holds this Sammie’s recipe together.
If you use a piece of sliced bread to make your stew, for best results, let it soak overnight in the gravy. However, if you’re short on time, you can use a small dinner sandwich instead. To do this, cut the dinner roll in half and let it soak in the gravy for about 10 to 15 minutes. I’ve found that they’re not only quick to soak up the gravy, but they also fit nicely in the middle of the sandwich without making a huge mess after you take a bite.
How to make this version of Ross Geller’s turkey sandwich with the moisture maker
To prepare this sandwich you will need:
1/2 cup pickled turkey slices
3 pieces of bread (3 slices of bread or 2 pieces sliced plus 1 bun cut in half)
1/4 cup gravy
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup cornbread filling
2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes
Salt, pepper, paprika (to taste)
2 tablespoons sweet potato or sweet potato casserole
1 tablespoon sautéed kale
1 teaspoon of coleslaw
Deli-style mustard and/or mayonnaise
A sprinkle of Tabasco
To prepare your sandwich:
Dip 1 slice of bread or both halves of 1 roll into the gravy. Shelve.
Toast two slices of bread. When laying open-faced, coat the toast with a cream of seasonings (mayonnaise and/or mustard and/or coleslaw), followed by a layer of cranberry sauce.
On a slice of toast, top with a layer of yam or sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and collard greens.
On the opposite slice of bread, top with a layer of mashed potatoes and top with chunks of turkey. Season both slices of open-faced bread as needed.
With the turkey side still facing up, take the moisture maker that has been dipped in the gravy and place it on top.
Carefully cap the entire sandwich by taking the slice with the sweet potato casserole, filling, and collard greens and placing it on top.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for toothpicks and/or lots of napkins while eating this sandwich, I sure did. And even though I made this sandwich today, I’m still eating it as we speak. I completely understand why Ross didn’t want to share his sandwich, because it’s like a Thanksgiving feast in my mouth that I don’t want to finish. And while I’m not going to waste a bite of this epic sandwich, I’m definitely going to need reinforcements to help me finish eating it.