Bryce Kittrell, Elijah Haysler, Isaiah Hines, Kiley Leonard, Molly Ward, Rainee Bennett, Westin Cunnius, Yareli Resendiz

Bryce Kittrell, Elijah Haysler, Isaiah Hines, Kiley Leonard, Molly Ward, Rainee Bennett, Westin Cunnius, Yareli Resendiz

Second graders are so innocent, bless their hearts.

Ever helpful, they stand ready to assist parents in preparing next week’s holiday meal.

But while their enthusiasm runs high, the same can’t be said for their food safety knowledge.

They have no grasp of food borne illnesses like salmonella. So take it from The Purcell Register, parents. You may want to wait a few more years before you put them in charge of roasting the holiday bird.

I went to Purcell Elementary School this week to query kids – specifically second graders – on their food preparation knowledge.

Not that I’m picking on kids.

There are plenty of adults who struggle with Turkey Roasting 101. 

I recall one holiday meal for which a family member volunteered to roast the turkey.

When others went to stuff the bird before placing it on the table, they discovered a charred paper bag filled with extremely well-done giblets still in the cavity.

But I digress.

Kiley Leonard, 7, assured me she can “cook scrambled eggs by myself.”

“I really do like cooking,” she said.

So how would she cook a turkey or a ham?

First you pre-heat the oven to 60 degrees before popping the turkey in for “30 or 20 minutes.”

A solid 30 minutes to bake a ham and if 60 degrees was good enough for a turkey, it’s “probably” good enough for a ham.

Westin Cunnius, 8-1/2, said he will make the pumpkin pie for his family and may handle the task of stuffing the turkey with, well, stuffing.

He is creative with his pumpkin pies, sometimes using a recipe “but not all the time.”

As for cooking a turkey “maybe 25 minutes at 250 degrees” will get the job done.

Elijah Haysler, 8, broke down cooking a turkey in simple steps.

Step 1 – kill a turkey.

Step 2 – pluck the feathers.

Step 3 – cook it 40 to 50 minutes at 132 degrees. And don’t forget to check the temperature with a meat thermometer before serving the bird.

Rainee Bennett, 7, plans on helping her Dad with the meal prep on Thanksgiving.

“He’s good at cooking,” she said. “I just like helping him.”

At the Bennett house, Thanksgiving always means turkey. Always.

If asked, Rainee is ready to  roast that fowl 50 minutes at 50 degrees. She will also be baking pies – pumpkin spice, pumpkin and apple.

Uh, pumpkin spice and pumpkin? What is pumpkin spice pie?

“I just made it up,” she said. “It sounds good!”

Yareli Resendiz, 8, is another pie baker and will try her hand with pumpkin and cherry pies.

“I like to cook,” she said.

And if her Mom asks, she’ll help with the turkey.


“I’d put it in the oven and cook it 20 minutes,” she said, adding the oven would be set to 40 degrees.

Molly Ward, 8, is her Mom’s constant helpmate in the kitchen.

While she mostly bakes, she’s willing to branch out into meats.

Turkey is done, she said, when it’s been cooked for two hours at 40 degrees.

I don’t know whether to be more concerned about that turkey or any pies she may bake.

Same 40-degree oven, but eight hours for pies.

Isaiah Hines, 8, said the Thanksgiving menu at his house will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and green beans.

“I’ll help with the green beans,” he said.

He’ll also peel the spuds.

As for the turkey, 30 minutes at 20 degrees.

Bryce Kittrell, 8, would like to do more than he’s allowed.

For example, he would like to make the turkey, declaring it done after 20 minutes in a 75-degree oven.

“My Mom thinks I’m going to get burned on stuff,” he said. “She said I can only do the parts that’s not dangerous; she doesn’t want me getting cut or breaking my bones,” he said.

He paused a moment and then continued a little wistfully.

“I like to peel apples.”

So there you have it. A second graders’ primer on holiday meal preparation.

Bon appetit!

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