Indignity Vol. 2, No. 94: The Thanksgiving Night sandwich


Indignity Vol. 2, No. 94: The Thanksgiving Night sandwich

When the Feast Is Gone, It’s Time for the Snack

THANKSGIVING SANDWICH SEASON is mostly built on trying to prolong (or anticipate) the feast. The cold turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, the hot turkey sandwich with gravy—these are to reconfigure ingredients and memories into new, lighter-weight versions of the main event.

The Thanksgiving Night sandwich has a different mission. It is there to give you a break from the full, orthodox dining experience in which you were immersed a few hours ago. The pies have long since settled, the kitchen is clean, the early sunset has given way to deep and lasting darkness. And now your stomach, emerging from its midday discombobulation, is noticing that its regular normal dinnertime has come and gone. It is ready for a little bit of something. Specifically, it is ready for this sandwich.

Here is what you need: some hearty slices of turkey breast, gently extracted from the foil bundle in the fridge. The surviving crusty bread from the table, sliced thin enough for a sandwich. Some mayo or olive oil. Black pepper. And the essential Thanksgiving ingredient, prosciutto.

What is prosciutto doing in your fridge at Thanksgiving? What isn't it doing there? You didn't go and have a giant holiday feast without laying out some antipasti, did you? You certainly didn't roast that turkey without lacing some prosciutto into the mountain of breast meat with a larding needle first, so it could melt into the turkey as it cooked, spreading salt and pork fat into the meat? Right? Well, now you know.

Get yourself one plate, an ordinary one. The nice dishes are drying or already put away for the next holiday. Standing up at the kitchen table or counter, spread the oil or mayo on your bread. Lay the turkey down on it, and grind some pepper on it. Then put on some prosciutto. Three slices? Sure. Plenty of it. Close your sandwich and eat it.

People seem to complain about turkey in sandwiches a lot, claiming it's too bland, and not worth the trouble. Those people are wrong, and this sandwich is why. Turkey isn't a passive filler, but an active partner with more assertive elements. Its quiet, steady poultry flavor buoys up and sets off the salty, concentrated excellence of the prosciutto, like a meatier version of a prosciutto-and-mozzarella. All day long it's been forced into a starring role, and now it gets to be the character actor it always wanted to be.

A Personal Thanksgiving Remembrance


TWO YEARS AGO, around this time, the day before Thanksgiving, I ate one of the finest fast-food sandwiches I ever ate (and I have eaten a lot of NOT-fine fast-food sandwiches), namely, a product billed as the Arby’s® DEEP FRIED TURKEY CLUB sandwich. It was, as I stated then, in my report, a happy fast-food surprise. I did not realize at the time how profoundly I would be affected by this sandwich, and how often I would recall the single occasion I ordered it, but this sandwich left a lasting and wonderful impression in my heart, and now, it has become a Sandwich of The Mind. A sandwich which is no longer available, because it wasn’t some jive-ass McRib-type “for a limited time only” bullcrap. It was real, and it was beautiful, and then it went away, which is the way of all things, but as long as it lives in my heart, it is still real, and mine. I hope your Holiday Season and beyond will be full of happy surprises that will be yours forever. Thank you.


IN THE SPIRIT of the upcoming gustatory holiday, we present, from the various Indignity-related enterprises archives, a reprise selection of recipes for sandwiches from The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Greene Fuller, 1909, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, as found in the voluminous holdings of the Internet Archive.

Between thin slices of lightly buttered toast, places slices of warm turkey breast; over same pour a hot gravy made of slightly thickened turkey stock. Garnish with a pickle.

Toast three thin slices of white bread and butter, on the lower slice lay cold white breast of turkey; cover with another slice of toast; on that lay a thin slice of hot broiled ham; cover with another slice of buttered toast and press together. Serve on a lettuce leaf. Garnish with small pickles.

Between thin slices of lightly buttered white or brown bread, place thin slices of turkey breast; spread a little cranberry jelly over this and sprinkle with finely chopped celery.



YOU CAN FOLLOW hmmweeklygram on Instagram.


WE FURTHER PRESENT, from the Indignity back catalog, sourced from the copious larder of the Internet Archive, a recipe for Club Sandwiches, and a story—which we don’t believe—from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

Breast cold roast turkey or chicken
Broiled bacon or ham
Crisp white lettuce leaf
Dill pickles or sliced tomato
Mayonnaise dressing
Toasted sliced white bread

Trim crust from large square slices of bread and toast a delicate brown; then butter them. Insert a layer of bacon, one of thinly sliced dill pickle or tomato, and one of cold fowl. Cover with a lettuce leaf spread with mayonnaise, add top slice of toast, trim neatly, and cut diagonally into triangles. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately on hot plates.

These sandwiches, to be at their best, should be made and served in the shortest possible time.

In a club sandwich, which in itself is a very fair luncheon, the chicken should be thin, the bacon very crisp, the lettuce fresh, and the mayonnaise and butter plentiful.

To make a cold club sandwich use moderately thin cut bread in place of the toast, and cold sliced ham substituted for the crisp bacon. The chicken, lettuce, and dressing remain the same.

Origin of the Club Sandwich.—It will not surprise any who knows how frequently most excellent things are born of necessity to know that the club sandwich originated through accident.

A man, we are told, arrived at his home one night after the family and servants had retired, and being hungry, sought the pantry and the ice chest in search of something to eat. There were remnants of many things in the source of supplies, but no thing that seemed to be present in sufficient abundance to satisfy his appetite. The man wanted, anyway, some toast. So he toasted a couple of slices of bread. Then he looked for butter, and incidentally something to accompany the toast as a relish. Besides the butter he found mayonnaise, two or three slices of cold broiled bacon, and some pieces of cold chicken. These he put together on a slice of the toast, and found, in a tomato, a compliment for all the ingredients at hand. Then he capped his composition with the second slice of toast, ate, and was happy. The name “club” was given to it through its adoption by a club of which the originator was a member. To his friends, also members of the club, he spoke of the sandwich, and they had one made, then and there, at the club, as an experiment, and referred to it afterward as the “club sandwich.” As such, its name went out to other clubs, restaurants, and individuals, and as such it has remained. At least, this is the story as it is generally told.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy a sandwich or sandwiches inspired by these offerings, kindly send a picture to us at

Thank you for reading Indignity! We appreciate your interest and support, and we encourage you to find more of our work over at Popula.