This sandwich recipe is not my own. In the early part of 1997, I was a single, unwed, unemployed mother. I was trying to get work, even though I loved being home with my daughter Leah, I wanted to get off public assistance as soon as possible.
I was brought up that people need to earn their own way, there is no shame in getting assistance in times of need but there is shame in leaching off the government or the generosity of others when you are able to work and provide for your family.
It was difficult for me to find a job, I lived in a town of 5,000 people, jobs were scarce and no one wanted to hire a single mother…too risky, so I was told. We had a little store called the Penny Saver and they advertised the need for a deli worker. I applied and got an interview.
I arrived to my interview, early, the owner took me upstairs (I believe the Penny Saver used to be an old house) for my interview. The usual questions were asked and then I was asked if I had any children, “yes, a newborn”, then the owner proceeded to ask if I was married, and I said “no”. A look came over his face, I knew what was coming. “Young unwed mothers are too unreliable.” Not again, the same story.
By now I was desperate and I had nothing to lose. I pleaded my case, I told him that I was trying to get off public assistance, to be a productive member of society. I assured him that I had child care support from my family and my high school best friend. I didn’t need the money, I got that through public assistance and it was more then he would be paying me. I needed to earn my own money, be responsible, set a good example for my child and make my family proud.
Something I said, some look I must have had, convinced him to hire me. I got that job working in the deli, I never missed a day of work and I was a good employee. I didn’t work there for long (moved on to a better paying job), but it got me started on the right path, a path of self pride and self worth, a path that has carried through for the rest of my life.
This sandwich was one of the most requested sandwiches we served. So popular it was served year round…typically on white soft bread.
What does all this have to do with Thanksgiving? This year I’m looking back and realizing that a lot of things that I’m thankful for now are due to things that happened in my past. I’m thankful that someone years ago took a chance on a young single parent. I’m glad that my parents taught me to be self sufficient and proud. I’m thankful that I had a supportive family and friend that took care of my little girl while I tried to do the right thing. I’m glad that I had public assistance (I needed it) and even more glad I stopped needing it. I’m thankful that I was an unwed single mother, it showed me how strong I am. I’m thankful about all of my trials and tribulations because they have made me who I am today.
This year take a look back and give thanks to the past that created the now.
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon whole berry cranberry sauce (more if desired)
- 4 ounces, sliced turkey
- 4 slices sandwich bread
- Mix the softened cream cheese and cranberry sauce until well blended. Spread half of the cream cheese spread onto on slice of bread, layer sliced turkey on top. Cover with a second slice of bread.