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Armstrong students put Thanksgiving feasts on the table |

Armstrong students put Thanksgiving feasts on the table

Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
West Shamokin High School students (from left) Christa Marsh, Alison Brocias and Shannon Neff work on a Thanksgiving dessert during methods of cookery class.
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
West Shamokin High School teacher Angela Poster recaps to her class the proper way to handle a turkey when preparing it for the oven. Poster teaches a methods of cookery class at the school.

Thanksgiving may have been more than a week away, but West Shamokin senior Scott Bish had his sights set on one thing as teacher Angela Poster addressed her methods of cookery class this week.

“Talk turkey to me,” Bish said, as the teacher showed the class how to get the holiday bird ready for the oven on Monday. “That’s all I’m looking for — that turkey.”

Students at West Shamokin and Ford City high schools celebrated Thanksgiving in the classroom a week early Thursday, after making desserts, side dishes and getting ready to roast turkeys in the days leading up to the holiday.

Two large turkeys, stuffing balls, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls and bread, homemade noodles, sweet potato pudding, deviled eggs and a desserts such as pumpkin cheesecake and a pineapple upside-down cake were on the menu at West Shamokin.

“We’ve definitely been busy all week,” Poster said. “That’s good, since we’re making enough to feed 50 people. I just hope they get the experience to enter into their own kitchens to be able to make a large family meal at home.”

At Ford City, teacher Jolena McFarland said about 40 students cooked two turkeys, side dishes and desserts. All the students, as well as many faculty and staff members, were invited to the feast.

Both of the schools have been hosting the Thanksgiving meal prepared by students for more than a decade.

“The whole thing is about coming together and everybody pitching in. We cook together, eat together and clean together like a big family,” McFarland said. “It’s one way our students get to enjoy the fruits of their labor and share a special meal with their friends. It’s become a slightly sentimental affair.”

Although she had never made such a large meal, West Shamokin senior Bailee DiFilippo said getting to eat the feast with her classmates will make all of their work worth it.

“It took a lot to do all of this. It’s a lot of hard work,” DiFilippo said. “But I think knowing that I helped make it will really make it taste better.”

Aside from causing a sense of camaraderie among students, Poster said teachers are stressing the importance of learning how to cook large meals so it doesn’t become an art lost to fast food restaurants and microwave cuisine.

“The kids tend to eat so many more convenience foods, so it’s good we teach them the basics of cooking for their families,” Poster said. “It’s an important experience, because they don’t realize a lot of what it takes to pull off a large meal.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].

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