Are you smarter than a fifth grader — Mich??le Samarya-Timm turkey edition

Guest barfblogger Michéle Samarya-Timm, a Health Educator for the Franklin Township Health Department in New Jersey, decided I could use some blogging relief while awaiting the birth of my fifth daughter. It’s been an emotional ride, and I greatly appreciate the help.

Michéle writes, as an educator, it’s always interesting to discover what people in my community know (or don’t know) about food safety. And what their kids pick up from the kitchen.

A common project in grade schools this time of year is having the students write directions on how to cook a turkey. Sometimes, they’re even more educated than their parents…and sometimes not. Here’s a sampling from the web:

Kids Turkey directions

By: Drew — I put it in the oven at 100 degrees and cook it for 6 hours.

By: Doni – Put it in the oven and set it for 28 minutes at 388 degrees.
By: Brandon — I think the temperature of the oven is 251 degrees. My mom puts it in there for twenty minutes.

By: Quinn — My mom sets the oven for 400 degrees and cooks it for 7 minutes.

By Seth: You cook a turkey for 10 minutes. Then wait for ten minutes. Then cook the turkey at 2500 degrees.

By Savannah: First get everything you need. That would be turkey, tinfoil, spray bottle, pan, thermometer, and stuffing. Turn on the oven to the right degrees. Cook it for 20 minutes.

By Spencer: Buy a turkey. Then, stuff it. Put it in the oven for all day and night at 100 degrees. Take it out of the oven and put it on the table. Make sure you take the little red thing out.

By: Johanna — My mom bought a turkey. She put it in a pan and cooked it and cooked it. The temperature was 27 degrees. Hot! Then my mom cut the turkey’s head off and feet and wings and ate it.

By Madison: Cook the turkey for 25 minutes. Get it out as soon as it is done. But before you put in the little red thing. When the red things pop out that means the turkey is done. Then take it out.

By: Dylan — First you pull off the feathers. Next you clean it. Third, you put some seasoning on it. Next, you put a thermometer in. Fifth, you put it in a pan. Sixth, you put it in the stove. Next, you put it to 95 degrees. Next, you cook the turkey for sixty minutes.

I so appreciate the humor in Thanksgiving prep through a child’s eyes, but the handwashing advocate in me really wishes at least one mentioned soap and water as an important part of food preparation.

Hopefully, their parents will refer to the USDA Food Safety Education resource,, the Butterball Turkey Talkline, , FSnet and other experts for handwashing steps and other tips to ensure a foodsafe Thanksgiving.