‘Tuekey and masht ptaytows’: County school children share favorite Thanksgiving recipes

“Es el dia de acsoi de grasia”

In the American tradition, our communal gratitude is manifest in the Thanksgiving holiday meal: abundance such as “tuekey and masht ptaytows,” “mufens” and “pumcan pie.”Vanessa Quintana takes a look at what fellow Mid Valley Elementary student Aya Yasui is drawing — see below for Aya’s completed work.

Photo by Trisha Walker
In the American tradition, our communal gratitude is manifest in the Thanksgiving holiday meal: abundance such as “tuekey and masht ptaytows,” “mufens” and “pumcan pie.”Vanessa Quintana takes a look at what fellow Mid Valley Elementary student Aya Yasui is drawing — see below for Aya’s completed work.


Students at Mid Valley Elementary and Horizon Christian have very definite ideas about what should be served at Thanksgiving — including turkey and potatoes with lots of butter. Above, grade 1-2 Horizon students Josie Norton and Sydney Burgoyne work on their recipes and drawings.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?

That’s the question I asked students at Mid Valley Elementary and Horizon Christian School last week. “Turkey” was the overwhelming answer — but how to prepare it is a bit of a mystery.

Mid Valley second grader Maite Ulloa drew a picture of a turkey, but when pressed for a recipe, responded, “I don’t know how. I never see people cooking a turkey.”

Kindergartener Isaura Belen Magaña knew just what recipe she wanted to share — Dead Cooked Turkey — but wasn’t sure how to prepare it, either. “First you shoot it,” she offered helpfully.

Apparently, most kids haven’t noticed the freezers filled with plastic-wrapped birds at the grocery store; Hunter Leeson, in the 1-2 classroom at Horizon, also took a “farm to table” approach, advising in his written recipe, “You catch a turkey and kill it then cook it and eat it.” He then added a side dish recommendation: “You get a potatoe smash it entil its just right and I like butter with it.”


An impressionistic view of a cooked turkey by Horizon Christian School student Kale Langford is one more example of the creativity shown by students as they prepared for the week-long break.

These kids are big fans of butter, perhaps exemplified best by Horizon’s Jacob Wolf — his picture of mashed potatoes had butter shooting out of it in every direction.

Some of the kids passed on writing a recipe — most of these were too worried about getting it right — but had very specific ideas about what a Thanksgiving table should hold.

Lillian Level, of Horizon, wrote, “I like to have scqosh and trkey and mash ptatos with ranch in them and froot sallid and apple pie and I like mufens with gravy in side them and green beens with gravy. With me ants and unckles and my mom and dad and me grama and cram barey in the jar on and sum time I have pumpin pie.”

Mid Valley kindergartener Aya Elizabeth Yasui took a different approach: “Eggs/5, cupcakes/10, chrici/1, plets/20, fores/20.” (That’s turkey, plates and forks.)

“I lik to hav trcy and masht ptaytows and with tham I like grave and I like pamcan pie and iscrem,” penned Jocelyn Worsham, grade 1-2, Horizon.

“My favorite food to eat is ham and turkey with smash potatoes,” wrote Natalie Hernandez, a fifth grader at Mid Valley. “It’s my favorite because it’s the best.”


Mid Valley’s Jimena Castillo Vera thoughtfully composes her recipe for turkey.

It wasn’t all turkey and potatoes, however — Abraham Villegas, Mid Valley kindergartener, said his favorite was Thanksgiving Jell-O — and provided the following instructions: “Use the recipes. Use the ingredients and the stuff to make it. Then eat it.”


Aya Yasui, Mid Valley, drew a picture of a Thanksgiving feast for a crowd.

And yes, the meaning of the holiday — giving thanks — was evident in the kids’ drawings, too. Mid Valley first grader Vanesa Quitana drew a picture of an outdoor Thanksgiving feast — with one turkey for the humans and nine plates of dog food for her pets. “Es el dia de acsoi de grasia,” she wrote on the back. “I have more to say,” she told me later, “but my hand hurts. You can have it now.”


Mid Valley kindergartener Abraham Villegas, takes a simple approach: just read the Jell-O package for instructions.


Horizon’s Emily Hardin proves cornbread can be colorful.

A selection of student recipes, in their own words:

How to make pupcin pie

You put 2 cups of flawr

You put 1 tee spoons of yeste

You put 1 tee spoon of solt

Then put blue berry jam

Then put it in the uvin for 2 hours

— Robert Wilson, grade 1-2, Horizon

Deviled eggs

Hard b eggs



Sesing peper

Chili poten



— Samantha Kaiber, grade 3, Mid Valley

Oreo cheesecake



1 cheese

1 milk








1 egg


Oreo shells

Wipe cream

— Samantha Kaiber, grade 3, Mid Valley

Panc caks

This is haoo you mac panc caks you yous eggs and milk and the panc cak badr and then you cuk it and then you eat it.

— Eamon Johnson, grade 1-2, Horizon


  1. Get tuekey
  2. And cook de tuekey
  3. Cook de turkey for 9
  4. Den take de tuekey
  5. Tak de turkey out oven
  6. Eat de tuekey
  7. Save some tuekey

— Jimena Castillo Vera, grade 1, Mid Valley


Jacob Wolf, Horizon, shows his love for mashed potatoes — with lots of butter.


  1. Peel the potatoes.
  2. Put them in the pot.
  3. Heet them up for 28m
  4. Smash them up.
  5. Put salt and peper on it.
  6. Eat it!!!!
  7. Then there’s you masheded potaters.

— Annalese Rinella, grade 1-2, Horizon


  1. My mom first get a plate.
  2. She gets the milk and water.
  3. And then mixes it. And then she puts it in the oven.

— Gimena Macias, grade 5, Mid Valley

The Steaming Punch

  1. Buy Hawaian punch and dry ice.
  2. Put the Hawaian Punch into a black bowl. Then put the dry ice on a metal plate.
  3. Put warm water on the tray. Then put the black bowl on. Enjoy!

— Cooper Yasui, grade 4, Mid Valley

Corn bred

Put frosting

Put edible beds on it

Then put a rapr on it

— Emily Hardin, grade 1-2, Horizon

Apple Pie

*Ask a grown-up to cut with knife.

3 apples (ripe)

Cut the 3 apples into fourths. Place in refrigerator.

Meanwhile … put 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of sugar, split 2 eggs. Mix batter and refrigerate. What you made: CRUST BOWL.

Put apples out. Get bowl and mix to mash apples. Put apples in crust bowl. *Use knife to cut around the crust, after put in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Put the apple pie out of the refrigerator. Heat for 2 minutes. Take out and let it cool off. Last rule: ENJOY!!!!

— Makenzie Yasui, grade 2, Mid Valley


Magdalyn Rogers, Horizon, gives step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the meal.

Patato with mleted chese

  1. Koat it up.
  2. Paot chese on it.
  3. Paot in a pan.
  4. Set timer.

— Faith Erickson, grade 1-2, Horizon

Stawberry and cheery milk shake

  1. 3 straw berry’s
  2. 3 cheerys
  3. 6 cups of milk
  4. Put ingridients in a cup with a lid on top and shake it and blend it when your done drink it.

— Rayla Yasui, grade 2, Mid Valley


Mid Valley’s Vanesa Quitana depicts a happy Thanksgiving scene — with plenty of food for her pets.

Mash butaitos

You mash the butaitos and then you poot them in a pot and maik them soft. I like green bens and mash butaitois and muckybred.

— Karis Caldwell, grade 1-2, Horizon

Dne and chese

  1. Get torta
  2. Get dnse
  3. Cut chese
  4. Cook
  5. Rap

— Alex Wilson, grade 1-2, Horizon

Invited to dinner

Joshua Serak, in the 1-2 classroom at Horizon, opted to draw a picture instead of transcribing a recipe — a perfectly acceptable alternative, I told the kids, as many were worried that their recipes weren’t going to be correct.


Joshua and Trisha share Thanksgiving dinner.

As I made my way around the classroom to answer questions, Joshua kept calling me back to check on the progress of his picture. He’d drawn a Thanksgiving table, complete with fake turkey, real turkey and a turkey leg (and a light fixture above, he said proudly) — and two chairs in different sizes. One was for a shorter person, he explained, and one for a taller person. With a last-minute flourish, he decided to add two people to his drawing — himself on the taller chair and me on the shorter.

“You don’t need a tall chair,” he said, gesturing to my 6-foot frame. “And you’re playing with the fake turkey.” “I would totally play with a fake turkey,” I told him, “and you’re right, I don’t need a taller chair.”

Pleased, he said he was eating the turkey leg, and that I could now collect his picture — but first I had to spell my name for him. It’s not every day you find yourself sitting at a tall table on a short chair playing with a fake turkey and wearing a pilgrim’s hat. The picture is now hanging in my office. Thanks, Joshua.

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