Turkey Day Traditions of KHS Teachers


Mrs. Ann Costanzo always spends her days in an apron doing what she loves: teaching culinary arts.

Kourtni Tucker, Staff Writer

How does Kempsville celebrate Thanksgiving? We asked YOU, our readers, what your plans were, and you responded: the top votes were a tie between ‘traditional’ celebrations of food and valuing spending time with family. Only a few indicated non-traditional celebrations were important, and even less said they spend the day prepping for Black Friday shopping! Your opinions are important to us,

We also asked Kempsville faculty about their family’s celebrations of this quintessential American holiday. Mrs. Ann Costanzo, a culinary arts teacher, has her own way of making Thanksgiving meals. She begins by prepping days in advance. She makes her pies and other deserts beforehand. She also begins thawing the turkey in advance. On Thanksgiving Day, she wakes up at six in the morning. The turkey is fried and its innards are used in gravy. She makes mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, too. However, it doesn’t end there. The carcass is used to make turkey stock.

After watching football, the family goes for seconds. However, the food is never left out for no longer than two hours. “I make sure that I don’t do time-temperature abuse”, Costanzo says. Time-temperature abuse is when food isn’t stored/held at proper temperatures. Bacteria grows on/in food and causes sickness. Take that as a warning, and be careful with how long your food sits out in the open!

The next teacher interviewed was Mrs. Kim Genge.  She prepares food then brings it to her sister’s house around noon. One dish that sets apart the Genge feast is their traditional cauliflower-cabbage salad. Black Friday shopping is also a tradition of hers. Last year, she went to Wal-Mart at 6 in the morning and left around 5 pm.

One final teacher interviewed is Mrs. Sarah Marks. She watches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with family. The Marks’ have breakfast, and then make a multitude of food. While most of their dinner consists of traditional Thanksgiving foods, the thing that makes their feast unique is their Jell-o salad. However, according to Marks, it is only an occasional item. Both the poll and teacher’s responses suggest that being with family and friends is the real treat of Thanksgiving.

The ingredients for Costanzo’s Sausage Stuffing is as follows:

  • 1 package of stuffing (your choice) or homemade bread crumbs (seasoned)
  • 1 pound of Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 3 stalks of celery (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 32oz of vegetable stock (canned stock is allowed)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning and sage seasoning (for taste)
  • Oysters (if desired)

The directions for making Costanzo’s Sausage Stuffing are as follows:

  • Chop celery and onion. Set aside.
  • Brown sausage, onions, and celery. Set aside to cool.
  • Combine the stuffing, sausage, celery, and onions in a bowl.
  • Heat vegetable stock to warm and add to above mixture just until moist.
  • Combine thoroughly.
  • Add poultry and sage seasonings to taste (the amount used depends on the taste)
  • Place mixture in a baking dish and bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Add the oysters in (if desired)

The ingredients for Costanzo’s Potato Rolls are as follows:

  • 5-7 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 packages of rapid rise yeast
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup instant warm mashed potato
  • Raisins (if desired)

The directions for making Costanzo’s Potato Rolls are as follows:

  • Start with 5 cups of all-purpose flour in a bowl
  • Place the yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and water into the flour.
  • Place warm potato mixture into bowl.
  • Mix well until incorporated.
  • Place into a fresh bowl that has been lightly coated with oil.
  • Place dough into a new bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Check dough after a few hours and punch down if necessary.
  • Roll out dough into a rectangle.
  • Place melted butter on top and spread.
  • Sprinkle top with 1 cup sugar and ⅛ cup cinnamon mixture.
  • Place raisins on if desired.
  • Roll dough tightly and cut into ½ inch rolls.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375˚ for about 30-45 minutes (depending on oven)

The recipe for Genge’s Cauliflower-Cabbage Salad is as follows:

  • 1 head of cauliflower split into 12 bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 head of cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of mayonnaise, ⅓ cup of sugar, and ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese mixed together
  • Insert salad dressing and mix all the ingredients together in one dish
  • Lay a pound of fried bacon on top of mixture
  • Set in the fridge for 24 hours