Involve (and teach) Others to Prepare Holiday Meals

November 25, 2013 | Peggy Martin

When you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year consider asking other family members to work alongside you.  This way, you will have some great family time, they get the satisfaction of learning how to make the meal, they learn skills which can save them money in the future and you get help.  It’s a win-win situation.

I forget why we didn’t go to a relative’s house the first time I attempted a Thanksgiving meal on my own, but I DO remember some of the things that went wrong:

  • I didn’t allow enough time for the turkey to thaw,
  • I wasn’t sure when the turkey was done,
  • I didn’t take the pouch with the turkey neck, gizzards out so it was in there when we started carving, and
  • The rolls didn’t get done until after the meal.

I heard a great story about the Pocahontas County, IA 4-H program. Last year three Master Food Volunteers taught ten 4-Hers and their parents how to make a Thanksgiving meal. They used our $30 serves 8 a healthy Holiday Dinner as a guide. The participants learned hand washing, use of a meat thermometer, proper measurement of dry and wet ingredients, oven safety, and the science behind cooking meat to proper internal temperature.

The youth said that as a result of the program they will use a meat thermometer more often, put the meat thermometer in the leg of the turkey, help cook their families’ thanksgiving meal, wash hands more often, pay more attention when measuring, and do more cooking.

Those kids have a great start at cooking healthy foods so they don’t have to pay for frozen or box meals or spend extra to eat out.  Way to go Pocahontas County 4-H!

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Peggy Martin

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