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Thanksgiving serves up traditions
2 Thanksgiving pic
Ben Robinson and Kelsey Cagle feast on a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob at Robinson Elementary School on Thursday. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips

• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.

• Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.

• Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

• If you must use a turkey fryer, make sure it is outdoors and in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures that could catch on fire.

• Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen and use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.


Turkey, dressing, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes are traditional staples for many families each Thanksgiving.

But so are biscuits, bacon and pancakes, according to Matthew Bennett, a fourth grader at Robinson Elementary.

"Every year, we always go to my grandma's house and have Thanksgiving breakfast. It's so good," he said rubbing his belly.

The tradition of sitting down at the table for breakfast on Thanksgiving is also a tradition for Barbara Wallace and her family.

"I cook breakfast for my family every Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving morning. We go to my son's house, and then we divide up and everybody decorates the yard with all my Christmas stuff," she said.

It was a much different tale when she was a young girl when she spent Thanksgiving waiting for her dad to bring home the family's meat for the winter season.

"We really didn't have a Thanksgiving meal. When we were little, my daddy would kill the hog. Then we'd get the tenderloin, then the bacon, then the sausage and then the roast," she said. "I remember one year it snowed on Thanksgiving, too. We just squealed and yelled we were so excited."

Growing up in Denmark, Hannah Gear said she loved the new holiday traditions she learned about when she moved to the United States at the age of 23 in 1959.

"I remember the first time I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, because we didn't have Thanksgiving back home in Denmark," she said. "I put it in the pan the wrong way with the breast down. My brother-in-law said it was the juiciest meat he'd ever had, because all the juice went down to the bottom in the white meat."

Gear has since mastered the art of roasting a turkey, and continues to incorporate customary Danish dishes in her holiday cooking, including a rice pudding with whipped cream and raspberry sauce.

Keeping with tradition, she'll hide a nut in the center of the dessert

"It's said that whoever finds the nut will have good luck," she said.