CRESTVIEW — Before Thanksgiving break, Walker Elementary School kindergarten teacher Mary Riley taught students a thing or two about 17th-century hardships, and then gave a practical demonstration.
“When the Pilgrims wanted something to eat, did they go to the grocery store and buy it?” she asked the kids.
After a chorus of no’s, one student pointed out there were no grocery stores in Plymouth Plantation colony.
So what did Pilgrims do if they needed butter?
“They had to make it themselves,” Riley said.
With that, she half filled a quart jar with heavy cream — cuing 14 young butter churners to get to work.
Students took turns shaking the jar, inserting each student’s name in a ditty Riley taught the kids:
“Lila’s at the garden gate,
Waiting with the butter plate,
Come, butter, come.
Come, butter, come.”
After two trips around the circle of kids, the cream thickened but wasn’t even at whipped cream stage yet.
“We’re going to have to get a lot more children!” Sydney Bywater said after a second turn shaking the jar.
But soon, as the song changed to “The A, B, C’s” and then “The Wheels on the Bus,” the kids noticed the cream changing from a liquid to a solid. After 15 minutes of shaking, the butter was ready.
Michelle Williams’ first-grade classroom could have used the butter ball .
“We’re making apple pie!” the teacher said as her students took turns producing ingredients. Ariana Griffin gave the apples, brown sugar and spices a stir. Next, it was time to make the piecrust dough.
As their teacher assisted, Robert Corthell and Louis Ludwig carefully measured a cup of flour, and leveled it before dumping into a mixing bowl. With Williams’ assistance, students Lauren Downing, Sydnee Spence and Aniya Seals chopped butter into the flour, and then Sophia Fisher led classmates who mixed the dough.
With dough rolled out and placed in a pie pan, and the filling poured in, the pie was ready for baking in school cafeteria ovens, along with individual-sized pumpkin pies the kids made.
Thanksgiving feasting came a week early for some Walker Owls, who could eat the treats they helped make.
In addition, as Riley pointed out, they brought home culinary skills to help their families prepare the holiday dinner.