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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project


Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Creative turkey recipes from third graders

Thanksgiving's over with the number one turkey meal of the year, but Christmas isn't far behind and a turkey or two make their way to the Christmas dining table, at least in our family celebrations.

So it's about time to check in with Darla Sobotka's third grade students at Mount Ayr Community elementary school to see how their Thanksgiving turkeys turned out with their plans for cooking the birds. There might be some lessons for the future. At least I hope many of the students rethink their turkey cooking recipes before they invite me to dinner. Each year Mrs. Sobotka asks her students to tell how they would prepare a Thanksgiving feast. Being from a community of outdoor enthusiasts several of the students weren't going to bother going to the store to get their big bird, the first step in the process.

Hunter Haveman and Sammy McGill began their turkey acquisition process the same way -- by hunting and skinning the turkey. Chase Smith would hunt his turkey with a double-barrel shotgun. Trent Stewart would travel to Kansas to look for the best tom turkey to shoot. Quentin Gregg is also a turkey hunter, but he would be sure to tag it before he brought it home. John Shields would go out to the farm to shoot his bird and Cade Clymer would first go to the pasture to shoot his turkey. Drew Willis would go get a turkey from a farm and kill it himself.

Most of the class would just go to the store and buy the turkey but Hannah Jackson would go a step further and "ask for the best turkey" there. Andrew Belzer had the best of both worlds. He would hunt the turkey, take the "feather" off and then put the turkey in the store, where he would acquire it. There was even a more modern method. Amber Davison would go on-line to order her turkey and have the store deliver it.

Once the turkey was in hand, there were a number of methods of cooking it. Of course most put it in the oven but there were also microwaving, frying, grilling and smoking among the methods offered by the third grade chefs.

It is the timing and temperature of the cooking that throws a wrench into the turkey dinner for most of the aspiring Iron-Chefs. Here they are in range of time. I'll let my readers be the judge of which recipe they want to copy down for Christmas.

"I would cook it on 20 degrees for 20 minutes," wrote Andrew Belzer. I think this might prove to be a little hard to knaw.

Bire Ann Byrd's bird would be pretty close to the same consistency. "I would put the turkey in the oven and cook it at 50 degrees for 10 minutes," she wrote. Billy Webb would use the same time and temperature but he expects it to be crispy when done. Maybe frosty but probably not crispy.

Quentin Gregg's turkey would be cooked for half an hour at 55 degrees while Amber Davison's on-line turkey would be cooked for 80 degres for five minutes to get it ready to serve. I'm afraid these would still be a little solid.

Hannah Jackson's turkey would be baked at 100 degrees for 30 minutes, and Sammy McGill's turkey would be baked for an hour at 122 degrees. Cade Clymer ups the temperature to 150 degrees for the same hour. Hunter Campbell extends the time to two hours but his bird only reaches 200 degrees. The turkey cooks for 10 hours in Jake Hoveland's oven, but at 100 degrees it won't get warm very fast. Still a bit too cold for my taste, I'm afraid.

Trent Stewart ups the time to three hours, but he would "turn it around 176 to 194 degrees" and not get a whole lot accomplished I'm afraid.

I'm not an expert on smokers but unless you cook the turkey first and then just smoke it for flavor. There might be a problem or two with these recipes. Lanie Shiel would have her turkey smoked for one-half hour before serving. John Shields would cook his turkey at 150 degrees for four hours in the smoker. At least we're getting the bird thawed here.

I'm not too familiar with turkey fryers either. I know frying a turkey on the stove for an hour might not yield a scrumptous feast, but I'm not sure what an hour in a turkey deep fat fryer would do. Frying the turkey for an hour is Caitlyn McLead's idea.

When the temperatures climb to where they are cooking the turkey, the times still make an edible product questionable.

Brenden Hightshoe's turkey would cook at 300 degrees for 12 minutes. Hunter Haveman keeps the 300 degrees but increases the time to only 30 minutes. Jasmine Hyde would cook her turky at a precise 323 degrees, but only for 25 minutes.

The tempature climbs to 400 degrees for Keirston Klommhaus and Wes Armstrong but Klommhaus's turkey cooks for only 12 minutes and Armstrong's for just half an hour.

Some recipes missed embarrassment by only telling the time it would take to cook and not a temperature. Maybe Tervor Osborne had a small turkey roast in mind when he said microwaving his turkey for nine minutes would do the trick. A big turkey probably wouldn't work. McKenzie Shields' 30 minutes might be a little bit short no matter what the temperature. Samantha Schaefer would spend an hour cooking hers, but made sure to mention that she would salt it before cooking. Maybe that would help. Ashton Smith would slow roast her turkey for 10 horus without telling readers the temperature, but there is some hope there.

Then you have the turkeys that would be cooked at some extreme temperatures. Gabrielle Hunke's turkey would be hurried along by cooking it at 500 degrees for half an hour. Drew Willis would cook his turkey half a day, but at 600 degrees it might be a bit overdone. I'm not sure where Chase Smith would get his oven, but he would flash cook his for five minutes at 1,000 degrees.

Good luck on finding just the right recipe for your next turkey. There may not be very many edible birds in the bunch, but there certainly are plenty of creative ideas.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, December of 2012

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