The Times paid a visit to Tracy Markey’s first grade class at Centennial Arts Academy in Gainesville to ask first-
graders just how to cook that turkey and what sort of things go along with a slice of the old gobbler.
Of the 20 children interviewed for the story, none of them suggested setting the oven temperature any higher than 90 degrees.
In fact, most of them suggested settings more in line with your freezer, around 10 degrees, to cook a turkey.
First-graders are very much into the details of this preparation stuff. Among their most specific instructions was removal of the turkey’s head. More animated children illustrated this by a chopping motion with their hand.
"You buy a turkey and then you roast it and then you chop it up," said Brendt Kelly, 6. Pretty good instruction, until he suggested an oven setting of 90 degrees for just two minutes.
Aliyah Martin, 6, was very intense and specific as she rattled off turkey preparations.
"I would go to the store and buy one," she said. " Then I would take it home and put it on the counter and check the stove for four minutes. Then, take it out and eat it for dinner."
Maggie Coburn, 6, was soft spoken but clear about turkey handling.
"You cut the head off and kill it," Maggie said, speaking just above a whisper. "Then you put it in the oven." She would complement her beheaded turkey with mashed potatoes and a cookie for dessert.
Andrew Pack, 7, said that his turkey will be served with a favorite side dish: steak.
As for those side dishes, a survey conducted by the company that produces Butterball turkeys, showed that nationally, the most common side dishes are mashed potatoes (95 percent), cranberry sauce (81 percent), candied yams (63 percent), green bean casserole (59 percent) and gravy (46 percent).
Here in the South, candied yams or sweet potatoes are a major staple of the Southern Thanksgiving, with 72 percent of families likely to have the side dish with dinner, versus only 47 percent in New England.
Although the majority of Southerners prepare their turkeys in an open pan, cooks in this region are also more likely than any other region to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving.
One in four people in the South are likely to serve pecan pie for dessert.
In contrast, none of the respondents from the mountain region chose pecan pie.
For those who find themselves with unresolved turkey issues, Butterball once again has professionals available to answer questions on how to prepare a holiday turkey. The line is staffed with more than 50 home economists and turkey experts at 1-800-288-8372.
If all else fails, there are a number of restaurants offering a complete Thanksgiving feast today.
Linda’s Country Harvest in the Quality Inn on Jesse Jewell Parkway will be serving from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The price is $10.95 per person
The Best Western Lanier Centre said that their Thanksgiving buffet was sold out.
Lake Lanier Islands will have two seatings for a lavish buffet which includes a large variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, appetizers and desserts. The price is $36 for adults, $32 for seniors, $19 for children 12 and under and children under six are free.
If that doesn’t work, Waffle House locations will remain open around the clock.