Thanksgiving Trivia #2 – TURKEY!
Presidentially pardoned turkeys are now sent to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate in Virginia to live out their final days. History of the Presidential turkey pardon can be read HERE on History.com
Female turkeys do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble. A male turkey is called a tom, a female is a hen, and a youngster is a poult. The wild turkey can fly (although it prefers to walk or run) for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 20 miles per hour. The domestic turkey is not an agile flyer but will perch in trees to stay safe from predators. The average life span of a domestic turkey from birth to freezer is 26 weeks. The average life span of a wild turkey is three or four years.
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…….
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 is listed among the top 10 foods for your eyes because it’s rich in zinc (plus the B-vitamin niacin protects against cataracts).
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.
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle. In a letter to his daughter–
“For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly…like those among men who live by sharping and robbing…he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little king-bird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district…For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours…”
Three towns have been named after the holiday’s starring player — Turkey, Texas, Turkey Creek, LA. and Turkey, N.C. — each with less than 500 residents. Legend has it that the pheasant’s name came from the wayward traveler Christopher Columbus, who thought he was in India when he arrived in “The New World” and, hence, dubbed the pheasant a “tuka,” an Indian term for peacock. The name stuck.