Android app for cooking Thanksgiving turkeys created with help of local teens
by Jeff Richards
Contributing Writer
Nov 28, 2013 | 1032 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GCHS students Tim Pogue and Wiley Sheldon work on a turkey cooking app they developed for a local woman. Photo courtesy of Saina Carey
GCHS students Tim Pogue and Wiley Sheldon work on a turkey cooking app they developed for a local woman. Photo courtesy of Saina Carey
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Two Grand County High School students recently helped a Moab woman publish a mobile application that will help users calculate when to put their holiday turkey in the oven, and how long to cook it.

Saina Carey said she hired GCHS seniors Tim Pogue and Wiley Sheldon to write the customized app, after first thinking of the idea behind it many years ago.

“About 36 years ago, while hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for 16 people, I became frustrated trying to figure out what size turkey to buy, and what time I needed to put the turkey in the oven for our 3:30 p.m. dinner,” Carey explained. “Naturally, I called my mother [a home economics teacher], and asked her how long it took to cook a turkey.”

“She told me it depends on the weight of the turkey,” Carey added. “The experts say, you should cook a turkey in an oven at 325 degrees and use the guidelines of 15 minutes per pound unstuffed, and 20 minutes per pound stuffed, then let is stand 30 minutes before you carve it so that the juices stay in.” 

Carey said she struggled to figure out the calculations.

“My mom’s response was, ‘It’s backwards math ... ” Carey recalled. “It’s a pain in the neck to figure out. Each year we have a different size turkey, different number of guests ... I thought to myself, I hate backward math; no wonder we only have turkey once a year.” 

Carey said she worked out a turkey cooking worksheet on graph paper, then transferred the information to an Excel spreadsheet years later. But she needed help to take it further.

“I still couldn’t find anyone in Moab that could transfer the formula to a workable app,” Carey said. “I started talking to out of the area programmers from Silicon Valley and Microsoft. Nobody could figure out how to make the formula work.”

“After many years of frustration, I threw my hands in the air and said sarcastically ‘Maybe I should ask a teenager – they know everything,” Carey joked. 

Carey contacted Grand County High School and was given the names of a couple of computer whizzes, namely Pogue and Sheldon. 

“Three minutes into our first meeting ... both boys each jotted down the same formula on a scrap piece of paper and slid it over to me and said quietly, ‘This is your formula,’” Carey recalled. “Shocked, I said, ‘Can you make an app that works out of it?’” 

The teens then nodded in affirmation, and Carey hired them to write an Android app called TurkeyChef.

“I was surprised when she first asked about it, because it really wasn’t that complicated at all,” said Pogue, who has been programming computers for more than half his life. “Once we had the formula figured out, all we had to do was design the application.”

“It was fun,” added Sheldon, who enjoys designing websites and is also an aspiring pilot. “My main job was to just test everything and make sure it worked.”

Carey said the teens have also created and Easter app for her called HamChef and have already started working on yet another app, soon to be launched.

“Remember when you get frustrated, save yourself some time, and ask a teenager,” she said.” Sometimes, they really do know everything.”

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