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Children give their theories on how to cook turkeys

POSTED: December 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Kids' wisdom on cooking a turkey

Get a glimpse at how kids would cook a turkey if you gave them the chance.

It’s probably an evolutionary defense mechanism for mankind that most elementary schoolers aren’t tall enough to see over the kitchen counter and cook.

A recent visit to the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids revealed that while the little darlings sure know how to eat turkey, they haven’t been privy to what’s happening on top of the kitchen counter. Although they’ve been dragged through multiple grocery stores all over the county collecting ingredients for the big day, many youngsters have only vague ideas of how to prepare the decadent Thanksgiving feast that inevitably makes its way to a silver platter on the dining room table.

Taylor Pirday, 10, said it’s not her job to make the turkey, but she does have an idea of how it’s done.

"I guess you buy the turkey at the store and if you want, you inject the flavor in there," she said.

Leah Hornsey, 7, said preparing the gobbler is simple: "You buy it, then you cook it and you set the table and then eat it."

Poof! Just like that.

J.J. Schmitt, 6, came all the way from Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family in Hall County. He said you definitely cook that bird at about 85 degrees.

"You bake it for half an hour," he said. "It would probably taste really good. I know it. It has to."

Pirday, wise in her last year of elementary school, garners her cooking skills from Paula Deen.

"I’ve seen on TV you have to cook it over night," she said. "At 375 degrees — everything is always 375."

While kids can gather enough from their counter level vantage point to comprehend how the turkey operation unfolds, the real mystery is what’s in the dressing — or the Northern adaptation called stuffing?

Some said it only makes sense to put chicken in there. Others said vegetables, such as green beans, were more appropriate. Three-year-old Chicago native Conner Schmitt said turkeys should be stuffed with candy canes.

Cati Cook, 7, obviously has been paying attention to some of the Thanksgiving cooking action that she estimates goes on for two days at her house.

"I’m pretty sure it’s chicken, celery and whatever that brown stuff is called," Cati said of dressing ingredients. "Then we put it in tin foil and put it on the table and then wait for the guests to come."

Cati’s 6-year-old sister, Ally Cook, added her 2 cents to the pot: "Then we cook the corn and the green beans and then serve it to the customers."

If you find yourself as stumped as these kids, don’t worry. There’s help.

Since 1981, Butterball has manned a turkey help hot line at 800-288-8372. Don’t feel silly about calling. You’ll be in good company. Nearly 50 home economists and nutritionists will be on hand to answer your questions along with the other 100,000 calls they’ll get from desperate turkey chef wannabes this holiday season.

But don’t expect the experts to be able to throw you a lifeline if your turkey is still frozen today. On average, it takes a 16-pound turkey about three days to thaw in the refrigerator, which means you’re going to have to inform your guests Thanksgiving dinner will now be served Sunday.


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