Thanksgiving is a time for family and ridiculous amounts of food, and what better family to spend your gluttonous holiday than The Simpsons?
When contemplating Thanksgiving Simpsons episodes, one sticks out in my mind: Season 2’s “Bart vs Thanksgiving.” The episode opens with Marge humming as she scoops out the guts out of a raw turkey, and it only gets more Thanksgiving-y from there. Sure, there’s “Homer vs Dignity” and “Homer the Moe” (both great), but in these episodes, Thanksgiving is a side note to Mr. Burns torturing Homer for money and Moe converting his bar to “PoMo.” In “Bart vs Thanksgiving,” the focus is squarely on Thanksgiving and Bart’s belligerence.
To sum up, Bart trashes Lisa’s handmade Thanksgiving centerpiece and runs away when Homer and Marge punish him. After selling some blood, he ends up at a homeless shelter and has a brief stint as a hobo (it’s a weird one). After the family sees him on the news, they feel bad for being so hard on him. He sneaks back home and apologizes to Lisa, and the Simpsons happily sit down together for a late night leftover meal. A personal highlight is when Bart offers to help Marge in the kitchen, but doesn’t know where anything is or how to do anything. I think of this scene often when my husband offers to help me in the kitchen, and then opens every drawer looking for the can opener (love you, Dan).
There are lots of food references in this episode, including Patty’s “trout almondine” (shudder), Selma’s Swedish meatballs, Marge’s overly-basted bird, the homeless shelter’s lackluster meal, and Thanksgiving dinner at the Springfield Retirement Home. The last is a great little scene, and seemed like an interesting place to start cooking. As Homer enters the retirement home to pick up Grandpa, he passes a sign that reads “Thank you for not discussing the outside world.” Inside, a man that works at the retirement home is making announcements before their meal: “Now, before we sit down to our delicious turkey puree, I have some happy news. The following people have families that wish they could be here today.”
There are a couple of wonderfully sad jokes stuck in there, and the turkey purée piqued my interest. People purée cooked meat all the time for babies, right? Would it be like a healthier version of pâté? Perhaps turkey puree would become a meaty dip that takes Thanksgiving by storm!
I started by slicing roasted white meat turkey and adding it to the blender. I added a couple of tablespoons of gravy and let it rip. I had to stop and start a few times and scrape down the sides, adding a bit of chicken broth to loosen things up, but eventually it blended into a smooth pulp. I cannot explain with words how unappetizing it looked while whirling in the blender. I’ll spare you the visual.
Maybe it would taste better than it looked? This is an actual thought that went through my head, and seemed real dumb as soon as I took a spoonful. Sure it tasted fine because it tasted like turkey, but it had the most unappetizing texture I’ve encountered in a while (well, since this). It made me really happy to no longer be a baby and to still have all of my teeth.
So that was a bust, but all hope was not lost. The episode ends with a touching reconciliation, and the whole family sits down in their pajamas to eat leftover turkey sandwiches. I took this inspiration and ran with it, creating a delicious leftover Thanksgiving sandwich. I’d highly recommend sitting down with this sandwich and this episode late on Thanksgiving night, preferably in your PJ’s and with family. Oh, and make sure you make all of the gross Simpsons eating noises while you’re at it. Mmm… leftovers.
Late Night Thanksgiving Sandwiches
Slice the rolls in half and toast the rolls or bread lightly on both sides.
Starting on the bottom, add a layer of cranberry sauce, followed by turkey, sprouts, and gravy. Top with the roll tops or your other slice of bread.
- Leftover rolls or slices of bread
- Leftover sliced turkey
- Leftover gravy
- Leftover cranberry sauce
- Leftover Brussels sprouts
Laurel Randolph is a food and lifestyle writer hailing from Tennessee and living in Los Angeles. She enjoys cooking, baking and candlestick making. Tweet at her face: @laurelrandy.