By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER -- Students at Minster Elementary School have some tasty ideas when it comes to what was served at the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621.
Their suggested menu ranges from turkey and mashed potatoes to ham sandwiches and potato chips, with pumpkin pie and chocolate milk added for good measure.
First-grader Ben Stubbs believes Pilgrims and Indians, not to be confused with the Cleveland variety, headed to the woods in search of a gobbler big enough to feed the whole crowd. He isn't sure whether bullets or arrows downed the bird.
"They picked off all the feathers and cut the turkey in two big pieces," kindergartner Nate Moeller exclaims. "Somebody cooked it over a fire for 25 minutes until the timer went off."
Stubbs suggests ham sandwiches, roast beef and fried chicken also topped the menu with everything cooked over a campfire the way Boy Scouts do. "There was a lot of stuff to make," he says, contemplating all the preparations with a wrinkled brow. "It probably took a couple hours; but they just had to open the potato chips. They're already cooked."
Fellow first-grader Savanah Luthman believes everyone had a job.
"Pilgrim ladies fixed turkey and ham," she says. "The Indian ladies probably did the dishes because they didn't have paper plates. The men played cards with red and white chips after spending the morning in the woods."
Austin Reichert reflects on everything he has learned in kindergarten and roughly half the first grade before suggesting the meal included two kinds of turkey (white and dark), wild buffalo meat, canned potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, applesauce, cranberry salad, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie with Cool Whip.
"I'm finished," he announces proudly. "I can't think of one more thing to eat."
The Indians brought roast beef, whole wheat bread and peanut butter, according to fellow 7-year-old Aaron Ernst. Their canteens yielded cold water from a nearby stream, and they came dressed to the hilt in clothes made from deerskin. They wore blankets instead of coats and tucked eagle feathers in their headbands.
"I don't know what they did after dinner," he adds as an afterthought. "Maybe somebody brought a football."
According to first-grader Ali Borgerding, the meal undoubtedly featured plenty of pie -- apple, cherry, pumpkin and even dirt pie, a sweet confection her mother makes with Oreo cookies.
"Everybody drank juice from boxes with little straws," she adds with a shy smile. "Mommies like them 'cause they don't spill on the floor."
Kindergartner Emma Goodwin says the Indians supplied baskets laden with fried fish. "Some people don't like turkey," she explains quietly. "Fish is good if your mom cooks it right."
A discussion quickly ensues as kindergartners consider the matter of dessert and beverages. Some wonder aloud about the likelihood of Rice Krispie Treats and granola bars; others dirt pudding and plump pears.
Gavin Bernhold thinks apples and bananas added the right touch of sweetness to a hardy meal, while Marcus Ernst is sure the menu featured strawberry ice cream or at least vanilla with chocolate topping.
"They had water from the water fountain and chocolate milk," Abby Brown adds enthusiastically. A handful of boys across the way laugh hysterically before one pipes up, "Where did the Pilgrims get chocolate milk?"
Paige Thobe comes to her friend's aid, adding philosophically "Everybody knows chocolate milk comes from brown cows."