I Made Ross' Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich With the Moist-maker—& It's Too Much
Here's the thing about Thanksgiving leftovers; they taste even better the next day. I personally love another round of complex carb-loading prior to hitting up Black Friday sales for a little shopping cardio courtesy of my Thanksgiving leftovers. And as my grandmother used to say, "Waste not, want not." So, whether you hosted a mega T-Day dinner gathering or were a guest who snuck away with a generously portioned to-go box, it's essential to have a game plan to ensure your Thanksgiving leftovers are put to good use.
A classic, easy way to zhuzh up your leftover Thanksgiving dishes is to make a turkey sandwich. However, even this can seem a bit blasé, especially if your turkey supply has already started to dry out. Fortunately, the brilliant minds behind the sitcom Friends came up with a great solution to making the best post-Thanksgiving sandwich, which includes maintaining the juiciness of your leftover turkey.
What's so great about Ross' Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwich?
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."Her secret is she puts an extra slice of gravy-soaked bread in the middle—I call it 'the moist-maker.'"
What essentially differentiates this Geller gobbler of a sammie from other Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches is that it is constructed like a traditional turkey club, but with a gravy-soaked center slice of bread that adds another dimension of rich flavor and moisture to compliment the leftovers used in the sandwich filling. Sure, a name like "the moist-maker" may not sound super appetizing. In fact, many studies conducted on human's aversion to certain terms often include assessing the negative reaction many have to just hearing the word "moist."
But—spoiler alert—this sandwich is supposedly so delicious that Ross believes it is "the only good thing going on in [his] life!"
So, after discovering that someone at his office had eaten his turkey sandwich with the moist-maker while disregarding the note designating it as his, Ross snaps. He gets a new nickname around the office ("Mental Geller"), and people are more inclined to bend to his whims out of sheer intimidation.
Eventually, Ross' boss asks to speak with him about this unusual change in tides, and it is soon revealed that the person responsible for eating Ross' Thanksgiving sandwich without permission is this particular supervisor. And not only did Ross' boss eat the sandwich, but unable to finish it on his own, he threw most of the sandwich away. The fact that someone would not only take his sandwich without permission, but also throw it into the trash without finishing it is the last straw for Dr. Geller. Unable to keep the lid on his true feelings, Ross explodes into a fiery rage.
"My sandwich?! MY SANDWICH?!!!" Ross loudly bellows while eye-to-eye with his boss, causing the pigeons outside to scatter away in terror.
As you can imagine, Ross' meltdown subsequently results in him being asked to visit a psychiatrist and take a leave of absence from his job. Although this show is fiction, something I've always wondered about the Friends Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich is whether or not the siren call of the "moist-maker" leading Ross to lose his mind was really as alluring as it was made it out to be. If the basis of the entire recipe hinges on Thanksgiving leftovers, it's not like it takes a whole lot of time and energy to make—so why was Ross so possessive over his sandwich?
To find out, I decided to recreate Ross' sandwich myself using leftovers from my family's Thanksgiving feast.
What happened when I tried making the 'Friends' Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with the moist-maker
In addition to your tried-and-true Thanksgiving holiday standards, like turkey and cranberry sauce, the beauty of this sandwich is that all Thanksgiving leftovers are fair game. So, you can spice up the basics with dishes that are also unique to your family's own Thanksgiving traditions. For instance, my family goes all out in the soul food department on Thanksgiving—so every year, you can expect to see collard greens, yams, mac 'n cheese, and coleslaw among our Thanksgiving spread.
Though some prefer fresh lettuce on their sandwiches, I substituted that with a little of the collard greens for an additional smoky taste. Also, when I realized I was out of mayo for the outer slices of the sammie, I improvised by using coleslaw as a spread. The sweet crunch of this slaw beautifully accompanied the smoky, spicy flavors of the other ingredients.
The only time I'm ever willing to eat turkey gravy is on a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich—and the moist-maker is obviously the glue holding this sammie recipe together.
If using a piece of sliced bread to make your moist-maker, for the best results, allow it to soak overnight in the gravy. However, if short on time, you can use a small dinner roll, instead. To do this, slice the dinner roll in half, and let it soak in the gravy for about 10–15 minutes. I've found they are not only quick to absorb the gravy, but also fit nicely into the center of the sandwich without making a huge mess upon taking a bite.
How to make this version of Ross Geller's turkey sandwich with the moist-maker
To make this sandwich, you will need:
- 1/2 cup of sliced of brined turkey
- 3 pieces of bread (3 slices of bread or 2 sliced pieces plus 1 dinner roll cut in half )
- 1/4 cup gravy
- 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup of cornbread stuffing
- 2 tbsp mashed potatoes
- Salt, pepper, paprika (to taste)
- 2 tbsp of yams or sweet potato casserole
- 1 tbsp of sautéed collard greens
- 1 tsp of coleslaw
- Deli-style mustard and/or mayonnaise
- A sprinkle of Tabasco
To prepare your sandwich:
- Soak 1 slice of bread or both halves of 1 dinner roll in gravy. Set aside.
- Toast two slices of bread. While laying open-faced, coat the toasted bread with a spread of condiments (mayo and/or mustard and/or coleslaw), followed by a layer of cranberry sauce.
- On one slice of the toasted bread, add a layer of yam or sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and collard greens.
- On the opposite slice of bread, add a layer of mashed potatoes and top with pieces of turkey. Season both open-faced slices of bread as needed.
- With the turkey side still facing up, take the moist-maker that's been soaking in gravy and place it on top.
- Carefully close your whole sandwich by taking the slice with the sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and collard greens and placing it on top.
- Serve immediately.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself reaching for toothpicks and/or many napkins while chowing down on this sandwich—I certainly did. And although I made this sandwich earlier today, I'm still grazing on it as we speak. I completely understand why Ross did not want to share his sandwich, because this it's like a Thanksgiving party in my mouth that I don't want to end. And while I have no plans to waste any morsel of this epic sandwich, I'm definitely going to need backup to help me finish eating it.