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BY PAUL SULLIVAN , the valley dispatch

Paul Sullivan’s vintage columns appear every Friday in The Valley Dispatch. He wrote this one in 1996. Sullivan’s WBZ-radio show airs Monday through Friday from 8 to midnight.

This year, it’s my turn to cook the turkey again.

How I regret not having paid enough attention to the method my mother used to make the traditional feast. Those hours I wasted watching football are coming back to haunt me.

But as in the past, I headed to a local school and asked some students how I should prepare my bird. It’s a method that has served me well in the past.

Some of the highlights from my past outings include such novel cooking tips as “Put it in a pan and then kill it,” and the simple four-step method of “Peel it, juice it, cook it, eat it.”

This year my Thanksgiving Day cuisine consultants come from Kathy Sullivan’s kindergarten class at the McDonough Arts Magnet School in Lowell.

From a lad named Ryan, we have the low-heat method of turkey roasting: “Put it in oven, cook it at 4 degrees for six hours. Put some grease on it and take it out of the oven when the turkey beeps.”

His classmate Lindsay is more into the polite method: “You put it on the plate in the oven. You heat it in the oven, eat it and say ‘thanks.’”

Little Simone’s recipe sounds like textbook Irish cuisine: “Put it in water, boil it, and add salt and pepper.”

I am a little worried about Carlos’ cholesterol level after hearing his suggestion: “You cook it with cheese and take it out with a big spoon and eat it.”

Bobbi wants to make sure there’s no chance of any salmonella poisoning, thus she makes sure her bird is well done: “Put it in the oven for 20 hours. Take it out and eat it.”

Little Chan and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to cooking turkey: “Put it in the oven and burn it for a long time, then eat it.”

Catherine does it the instant way: “Put gravy on it, put stuffing inside and the cranberry sauce that tastes like hot stuff. Cook it for 5 minutes.” Presto!

And Alicia knows the effort that goes into preparing traditional Thanksgiving fare: “You put it in the pan and then the oven and cook it. After all this work you eat it.”

Not surprisingly, many in this generation assume that turkeys are born with pop-up timers. Says Briana: “You put some water on it, then you put it in the oven and when the thing pops up, you take it out and eat it.” Suggests Mark: “Put it in the oven, and when the blue thing insides pops out, eat.”

Yigin touts the need for a well-balanced meal: “Mix it up, put it in soup. Cook it a long time and eat it with tomatoes.”

Fallon decided that, to fully explain to me how to cook a turkey, she had to diagram it. After receiving a very nice picture of a turkey that looked surprisingly like the outline of a hand, I got the picture.

But she must have figured it was a little beyond me; she ended her recipe with this advice; “Why don’t you just make a pumpkin pie? It’s easier!”

I think Fallon is right.

To comment on this story, e-mail Paul Sullivan at psullivan@lowellsun.com.