Greener BeeGreen TipsKids tips for Thanksgiving dinner

Dorr Elementary School second grader Cole Murphy holds the recipe he created for Thanksgiving dinner.


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Later this week …Thanksgiving.

Tummies rumble already for turkey and dressing, green-bean casserole, smashed taters, homemade dinner rolls, cranberry something or other, and pumpkin pie.

And to help get things cookin’ in your kitchen, we have borrowed some tips and recipes from Dorr Elementary School students in the Springfield Schools district.

RELATED: Talkin’ Thanksgiving turkey with students, patrons

Many recipes call for baking a bird, large or little, while other students wrote directions to make their favorite holiday food, including chili dogs (more on those later).

Second-grade students in Kathy Zeitler’s class got their creative juices flowing by coloring paper printed with outlines of ovens. Pull down the paper flap on the oven door to reveal the recipes.

Many students at Dorr Elementary agreed. The best ingredient of the holiday meal: time spent with family.

Some recipes highlighted the area’s rural flavor. For instance, this from 7-year-old Sophie Phillips:

“My uncle has a farm. He used to have turkeys, but they all died. Now he catches wild ones. He puts them in a cage until Thanksgiving. He just waits until the turkeys are sleeping and then he kills them. He had a white chicken that was really mean, so he cut off his head and made soup out of him. My grandma makes turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, and gravy for Thanksgiving. She gets everything at Kroger. She wears blue plastic gloves, like a doctor because she doesn’t want to get icky. Then she puts the potatoes, carrots, and peas in the turkey through the hole in its butt. She takes all the extra stuff like the head, eyes, heart, and feet and puts it in the chili. It’s really good!”

As some students noted, a turkey is a tough bird to catch and kill. A bow and arrow is best, or a sharp knife, several said.

Dorr Elementary School fourth graders Collin Leasure, left, and Olivia Beck, right, talk about the recipes they created for Thanksgiving dinner in class.


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Sophie and other students said they love the holiday because it is an opportunity to get together with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other relatives. Too, students said they like to help in the kitchen or assist with setting the table, putting the forks, knives, and spoons in their proper places on folded napkins.

Cleaning up the kitchen? Heads nodded in agreement. That’s for the grown-ups.

And, recipes revealed, not everyone is a fan of the holiday fowl.

Joshua Fallgren, 8, shared this:

“I go to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. I take my Tablet because it’s a long trip. We might bring corn on the cob or a green bean casserole. I’m afraid to try the green bean casserole because my mom doesn’t like to cook and she always makes it for Thanksgiving. It’s gushy and looks like gookie and stuff. I don’t think I’d like it, but the turkey my aunt gets from Walmart is pretty good. My estimation is she cooks it for 20 to 30 minutes at 110 degrees because it’s always ready when we get there. Actually, I’m not really a turkey man. I usually just stick with the ham.”

And ham comes from where? ”I think it comes for a cow,” Joshua said, but then paused to consider the question. No, no. Beef comes from a cow; ham used to be a pig. He said he likes the bread rolls served at the Thanksgiving dinner. “I don’t like mashed potatoes. I have not liked them since I was a baby.” What about pumpkin pie? “I am more of a fan of apple,” he said.

In other recipes, notations on what happens to all those feathers.

Cole Murphy, 7, who prefers chicken legs, wrote: “On Thanksgiving my mom and grandma buy a turkey from Kroger’s or Sam’s. It only cost about $5.00 or $10.00 dollars. They don’t get really expensive turkeys there and we don’t get a big one because no one in my family really likes turkey. At the farmer’s store you can buy the turkey with feathers and everything, but at Kroger’s they just throw them away. We just eat the turkey and watch the Animal Channel. They never show a turkey on Animal Channel. They probably don’t want you to see the turkey die. That might ruin your dinner.”

Dorr Elementary School second grader Sherone White holds the recipe he created for Thanksgiving dinner.


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Sherone White, 7, said she lives on a farm. Here are her tips: “First you have to get a turkey. We get one from the big field with the whole bunch of trees. Set the oven for hot and warm mixed. Then you cook it for about five minutes. Then my grandma puts in all the ingredients like 5 cups salt and some spicy barbeque sauce. Just a little dab of barbeque sauce. She makes potatoes too, but I don’t like smashed things. My grandma cuts the feathers off the turkey with a sharp knife when it comes out of the oven. Sometimes she throws the feathers away, but last time we set them on the patio and by the front door. Then we ate vanilla ice cream with all kinds of toppings and watched the birds pick them up. It was nice!”

Mrs. Zeitler, their teacher, said students enjoy Thanksgiving Day. “They get excited to be with their family and take part in the preparations. They tell me that they go shopping and help pick out ingredients. That’s what makes the holiday so special for them.”

Students in Jennifer Lenart’s fourth-grade class at Dorr Elementary said they like holiday traditions: feasting, TV watching, napping, playing cards, going outdoors, and spending the day with relatives.

Analicia Gomez’s recipe for mashed potatoes included directions for nine skinned, and cut up, potatoes. “Put the potatoes in a pot then mash them up with a hammer.” Ingredients include milk, butter, cheese, a bit of salt and pepper, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of bacon (optional).

We’re going with the bacon on this one; not optional, not optional at all.

Now about those chili dogs, or rather “chilly dogs.” Jeffrey Myers doesn’t eat turkey; a relative makes him the alternative food by cutting the hot dogs, filling them with chilly sauce, and baking them for 25 minutes at 600 degrees.

Classmate Olivia Beck bypasses meat dishes. She’s been a vegetarian since learning about the butchering process. “I don’t like killing animals.” She eats mashed potatoes and desserts on Thanksgiving, a holiday, she said, that is more about the guests than the food. “It is a time to gather together. It is the time of year to spend with friends and family and stuff.” She wrote a recipe for stuffing, using bread crumbs, water, celery, and milk.

A mention of deviled eggs turned talk to raccoons that have killed egg-laying chickens at the homes of two student who recalled sad memories of finding remains of birds and piles of feathers where hens were killed and eaten by the marauding masked mammals.

Another student chimed in: “We don’ have that problem. We just have a smelly cat.”

Collin Leasure, 10, told about the first Thanksgiving that took place when the “pioneers and Indians” finally figured out a way to get along and work together.

A very precise method was outlined by Collin in his recipe: “Cut a small incision in turkey with knife. Take a little of the insides out with a spoon. Put turkey in pot/pan and brush dressing on with brush. Put turkey in oven at 1,000 degrees for 3½ hours. When done take out and stuff the turkey with stuffing. Then serve on platter with herbs.”

Collin loves Thanksgiving because he gets to play games and spend time with his relatives. He talked about the tradition of who brings what dishes for the meal.

When asked who makes the turkey, he was quick to reply: “Bob Evans.”

Contact Janet Romaker at: or 419-724-6006.

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