Want to impress your guests on Thanksgiving? Or, maybe a brain twisting trivia game to pass the hours while the bird cooks is on the planned entertainment agenda. Here are random bits of holiday-related minutia to help ya out.
Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), who tirelessly worked to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, also was the first person to advocate women as teachers in public schools, the first to advocate day nurseries to assist working mothers, and the first to propose public playgrounds. She was also the author of two dozen books and hundreds of poems, including “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
Female turkeys (called hens) do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble.
The first meal that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate after walking on the moon was roasted turkey from foil packets. It wasn’t Thanksgiving, but turkey does have a special sort of American je ne sais quoi.
TV dinners have Thanksgiving to thank. In 1953, someone at Swanson misjudged the number of frozen turkeys it would sell that Thanksgiving — by 26 TONS! Swanson executive Gerry Thomas came up with a brilliant plan: Why not slice up the meat and repackage with some trimmings on the side? Cornbread stuffing, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes were packaged in a tray similar to those used for airline meals, and were sold for 98 cents. The TV dinner was born!
Turkey contains the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan, which does make you sleepy. However, there’s not enough tryptophan in a serving of turkey to cause drowsiness, and in order for tryptophan to really make you sleepy you need to eat it on an empty stomach, and that’s certainly going to happen on Thanksgiving! In reality, you probably get sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner because you eat a lot of food in a short period of time, plus the wine…….
Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries were not eaten by Native Americans but used to treat arrow wounds and to dye clothes.
Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states, together they produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Total U.S. production was over 1.5 billion pounds.
Apparently going home for the holidays means meeting up with old friends and family members and heading out to the local bar! The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest night of the year for bar sales, even bigger than New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and The Super Bowl.
And to complete today’s “fun facts” session, here is the history of Thanksgiving as children know it!