Spring chickens tackle turkey

By Clay Wilson

They say there's no accounting for taste.

For instance, why does Emeril Lagasse suggest complementing the Thanksgiving turkey with corn pudding, fresh cranberry compote and candied sweet potatoes, while Sarah Beth Ireland prefers heated-up crackers with cheese melted on them, black peas and vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup?

Perhaps it's because, while Emeril has had 44 years to prepare such delicacies as brandy and orange-mashed sweet potatoes in orange cups, Sarah Beth has only had five years to help her mother with treats like macaroni and cheese.

Nevertheless, a lack of culinary experience didn't prevent Sarah Beth and other local children from offering up their recipes for a Thanksgiving feast.

The children surveyed attend the Academy for the Brilliant Child, a Montessori school in McDonough. Last year, school founder Kimberly Hardin had the children concoct their own recipes for Thanksgiving meals, and she put the results into a cookbook for the parents.

At the time, Chance Amell was 4 years old. He decided to make bread, and his recipe consisted of three cups of flour and three lollipops "to make it sticky," baked for three hours and then given to everyone who doesn't have food.

Now, with another year under his belt, Chance tackled the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving feast, the turkey.

"(I would) chop its head off, take the feathers off," he said. "I would cook it for three hours – pretty hot."

Chance's recipe is somewhat close – at least in the cooking time – to that of his mother, Amy. She said she would buy a fresh turkey (already beheaded) at a local grocery store, stuff it with a mixture including apple cider, soy sauce, sage and golden delicious apples, and roast it at 325 degrees for about four hours.

Seven-year-old Savannah Hood's turkey would not be quite as done as Amy Amell's.

"I'd buy a turkey, I'd come home and I'd put lemon and vegetables around it," she said. "Then I'd bake it in the oven at least 20 or 30 minutes, and then I'd put it on the table and then I'd cook some more stuff."

Asked the temperature at which the bird would bake, Savannah said 100 degrees.

For sides, Savannah would have cornbread, pumpkin pie, green beans, asparagus and macaroni and cheese.

While she was listing the menu, her brother, 3-year-old Ashton, was busy stirring a muffin mix under the watchful eye of father Kennard. He said he would complete the mix of flour and water by adding chocolate milk and popcorn and putting it in the microwave for 50 minutes.

Of course, after the big day, there are usually some leftovers. And for the turkey, Sarah Beth Ireland's advice, even though offered for the first-day fare, still applies:

"You can make some turkey sandwiches ?," she said.