In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he had three ships and left from Spain where he sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

From there, ol' Chris picked a bunch of scurvy pilgrims and an airborne Garfield balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as hungry hitchhikers. Once they arrived on Plymouth Rock, this ragtag crew met up with some Native Americans and everyone ate a whole lot of turkey, three-bean salad and that weird gelatin-y cranberry stuff while watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" on Netflix. 

And this, dear readers, is the reason we stuff our pieholes with food on the fourth Thursday of November.

OK, we may have been off on a few of the "facts." But the truth is Thanksgiving isn't about history. Instead, it's about eating.

And what better way is there to spend an entire 24-hour period ingesting so much food that our organs begin to shift?

We'd like to tip our wide-brimmed, belt-buckled pilgrim's hat to a few local people who are brave enough to keep their Turkey Day festivities going long after the bloom has come off Black Friday. 

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Food Turkey Sandwich

Pierce Street Coffee Works' sandwich artist Abigail Bourassa smears cream cheese onto two thick slabs of pumpernickel bread. After that, she'll add thinly-sliced pieces of turkey, cranberry sauce, sunflower seeds and alfalfa sprouts for the Nutty Bird sandwich, which has been called "a Thanksgiving dinner between two slices of bread." 

THANKSGIVING DINNER BETWEEN TWO SLICES OF BREAD

Artist Ron Johns loved being a world traveler.

After all, he visited 32 countries in a very short time. 

However, Johns also had a family to support. This is why he decided to move back to Iowa, which had been his home since he was a kid.

"I opened Pierce Street Coffee Works 23 years ago," he said, inside the eclectically decorated coffee shop at 1920 Pierce St. "I wanted the shop to reflect my travels."

Indeed, many of Coffee Works' signature lattes, cappuccinos and espressos held an international pedigree that was atypical to the cups of joe being brewed at other places.

Plus the breakfast and lunch menus offered healthy baked goods, soups and sandwiches that utilized quality ingredients.

However, Coffee Works' most popular sandwich didn't seem very continental. One could consider it All-American comfort food.

The eatery's Nutty Bird -- thinly-sliced smoked turkey, cream cheese cranberry sauce, sunflower seeds and alfalfa sprouts  served between two thick slices of pumpernickel -- was a home run since Day One.

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Food Turkey Sandwich

Self-named "sandwich artist" Abigail Bourassa makes a Nutty Bird turkey sandwich at Pierce Street Coffee Works. The sandwich has been the 1920 Pierce St. eatery's top seller for more than 23 years.

"People have described it as being 'Thanksgiving dinner between two slices of bread,'" Johns said. "I just think of it as being a very filling sandwich."

Surprisingly, Johns can't take credit for the creation of the Nutty Bird. He said the recipe actually belonged to a former Coffee Works employee.

"She was actually my first employee," Johns remembered. "She had worked in a coffee shop in Minneapolis and brought the recipe here."

Even though it has since been joined by other creatively named sandwiches like the Crunchy Cow and the Big Apple (which is currently a favorite of Johns'), the Nutty Bird flies high with Coffee Works' customers.

Plus Johns has seen imitations on his competitors' menu boards.

"They didn't steal the idea," he said. "They just came to realize it was one delicious sandwich."

But come Thanksgiving Day, won't people be sick of turkey?

"I thought they would be, but no," Johns said. "The Nutty Bird is a consistent seller 12 months out of the year."

With perfect timing, a customer ordered Johns' signature sandwiches as he discussed the Nutty Bird. 

"Guess there's no such things as too much Thanksgiving," he said with a smile.

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Thanksgiving Cocktail

SoHo Kitchen & Bar's chief mixologist for the past five years, Kortney Barbee love to create seasonal drinks that utilize creative ingredients.

THANKSGIVING DINNER IN A COCKTAIL GLASS

As SoHo Kitchen & Bar's resident mixologist, Kortney Barbee gets to be a master chef and a mad scientist behind the bar of the popular 1024 Fourth St. restaurant.

You have to admit it takes a creative mind to come up with a pear berry cocktail.

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Thanksgiving Cocktail

Want a Thanksgiving dessert in a cocktail glass? SoHo Kitchen & Bar's Kortney Barbee recommends a Peach Berry cocktail will put you in a festive mood. 

"I take some Ameretto vodka, pear cider, orange bitters and a splash of cranberry juices," Barbee said while creating the cocktail. "Add some skewered cranberries and you have a drink that will remind you of Thanksgiving any day of the year."

Both a trend spotter and a bar manager, she said SoHo customers clamor for heavier beers and festive mixed drinks as the temps cool off.

Which is why Barbee is whetting whistles with mules with plenty of kick.

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Thanksgiving Cocktail

SoHo Kitchen & Bar's Orange Cranberry Mule is made with a Mandarin Orange-flavored vodka, fruit juices and plenty of spicy ginger beer.

"I make SoHo's Orange Cranberry Mule with Absolut mandarin orange vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice and plenty of spicy ginger beer," she said, pouring the concoction into a gunmetal cup. "It's the cranberry that makes it appropriate for the holidays."

Are there visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? Nope, then how about something chocolate-y?

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Thanksgiving Cocktail

Accepting a challenge by SoHo Kitchen & Bar owner Julie Schoenherr, Kortney Barbee created a cocktail that is made with a vanilla whiskey, a hazelnut liqueur, Kahlua and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate candy piece.

As a challenge posed by SoHo owner Julie Schoenherr, Barbee created a Ferrero Rocher-inspired cocktail that contains Crown Royal vanilla whiskey, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Kahlua and a sampling of the ubiquitous Italian-made candy.

"I thought a chocolate cocktail would be too sweet," she said. "But I think it is the perfect holiday cocktail."

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Thanksgiving Cocktail

SoHo Kitchen & Bar's Kortney Barbee said incorporating cranberries, orange and, even, chocolate, can give holiday drinks extra panache.

THANKSGIVING DINNER INSIDE A WAFFLE IRON

Sioux City Journal online production manager Rob Kritzer is known for being a bit of a gourmand.

You may recall his Herculean effort to tackle Junkyard Pub n' Grub's six-pound Salvage Yard burger challenge was chronicled in the Weekender  in September.

(SPOILER ALERT: Kritzer didn't make it.)

That didn't stop this intrepid foodie from sharing the longstanding way his family gets rid of Turkey Day leftovers.

"We'll put aside some leftover turkey and, more important, leftover stuffing," Kritzer said. "We'll put the extra stuffing inside a waffle maker, cooking it until crispy. Once done, we'll put turkey between two pieces of the stuffing. That way, we'll have a post-Thanksgiving waffle sandwich."

THE KRITZER FAMILY STUFFING RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

Two loaves bread that's been broken into one-inch pieces

One dozen eggs

Six - eight ounces, sage (more or less depending on taste

Two onions

One bunch, celery

Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil the neck, heart and gizzards. Let cool and mix the above ingredients. 

ADVICE FROM THE EXPERT: "You may need some more chicken stock," Kritzer said. "It tastes better when it is moist. I cook my turkey in a roaster with lots of water in it. Baste with drippings from the turkey frequently. All together, cook for about two hours."

While Thanksgiving comes but once a year, we can hold on to some of the tastes for a while longer. 

Now, where the hell are those Tums when we need 'em?

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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