Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feasting like the Pilgrims

I love history and I love food.  Add in a dash of my passion for hands on and you have Thanksgiving in my classroom.

First the food....we cook a feast.  I am crazy, I know.   I have a roaster and I cook the turkey in there.  I stuff it with celery, onions, apples, and sometimes an orange.  It sits and cooks all day (well until about 11:30).   I forgot to take a picture when it was all brown and yummy.  This is right before I put the lid on at 6:30 in the morning (yes, I came to school early).

We have a campfire ring at school where I light some charcoal...however I have used my charcoal table on particularly a snowy November.  In the charcoal we cook Rhodes frozen rolls in dutch ovens (amazing simple, but the effect and taste is wonderful) and potatoes.  Each student cleans one potato and wraps it in tin foil.  They cook on the coals for about an hour and a half.

Cranberries are an American food and traditional for Thanksgiving.  We grind our own.  I have a grinder (I actually think I have husband keeps picking them up at thrift stores).   It is not hard to work and I have done it by myself....but if you have mom helpers, this is a great time to use them.  My grinder attaches to a desk or cutting board with a big screw.  I put a tray to catch the cranberries as they come out of the grinder and a bowl underneath to catch the liquid (which is yummy and I save it).  I use one orange (cut in wedges) for each bag of whole cranberries.  Each student gets a chance to turn the handle and I do enough for everyone to have a turn (leftovers find their way to my Thanksgiving table).  This is a to taste recipe...want more orange flavor, add another.  Need it to be sweeter?  Add some sugar, brown or white.  This gets made early in the day, I have seatwork activities going on for students who are waiting their turn.

Next carrots...I have a bunch of cheap peelers and I let each student peel one carrot.  Very funny to see what the carrots look like when they come back to me.  I cut them into carrot sticks.  The best place to do this is outside on a warm day, but if it is too cold I try to remember to put something under the trash can because not all of the peels make the trash.  Think easy clean up.  Another good place for mom helpers.

The last thing we do is make butter.  This we do all at the same time.  I have two cases of half pint canning jars (the skinny shape is best) that I use every year.  I half fill each jar with cream (heavy cream makes butter quicker but regular works fine too).  Be sure the lid is on securely and shake.  Shake and shake and shake!  Then shake some more.  First it is whipped cream....keep shaking.  After what seems too clumps and separates and it is butter!  I pour the liquid (buttermilk) into an empty jar and the butter goes on a paper plate with a paper towel underneath.  I put it on paper because there will still be liquid that comes out of the butter.  You could squeeze it a bit with a spoon.  I will sometimes do that to make it a little more solid.

When everything is cooked we eat with our reading buddies (who bring the apple juice and dessert).  The last few years it has been warm enough to eat outside.

My great high school aide.

Wishing you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  I was going to say healthy....but hey it's Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!


  1. Terri,
    I love your ideas! You do a fantastic job of involving the students in all of this! Camille

    1. I get funny looks from other teachers....but I love doing this. I love getting the students involved and my whole hallway smells good all day. :)