It’s Turkey Day! The bird is basting, the cranberries are cooking, the salad is assembled, and there is much football and tryptophan to come. Also a parade of upside-down puppets.
Since we will be gobbling the gobbler later (theoretically, anyway. Turns out only male turkeys gobble and children of mine eat politely—but the wording was too good to pass up.), I thought you might like to learn something about the birds.
IMHO, turkeys are only attractive when nicely roasted with fixings nearby. They are not likely to be winners in the Miss Universe–Bird Edition reality show. Also, they are dangly. Both male and female turkeys have a snood (the dangly thing on their faces) and a wattle (the red dangly thing under their chin). Neither gender is blessed with many head feathers (and the few that are there are generally dangly).
Male turkeys are directly related to chameleons as their head and wattle can change color with excitement or emotion. Pretty female walks by—color change. Ready to fight—color change. No reliable research on gender bending turkeys.
Speaking of gender, one (not me) can tell a turkey’s gender from its droppings–males produce spiral-shaped poop and females have poop that is shaped like the letter J.
While they won’t win the beauty part of the pageant, turkeys will probably do well in the geography portion of the contest because they can learn precise details of huge areas. There isn’t a geography portion of the contest? Stinks to be a turkey.
Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that are highly social. They create lasting social bonds with each other and are very affectionate.
Turkeys are omnivorous and will try many different foods. To my knowledge no turkey has ever eaten haggis, but what do I know.
Alaska and Hawaii are the only two states without extensive wild turkey populations. I have not been able to get reliable data on the number of turkey tourists.
The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. The largest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds. I have no idea where someone found an oven big enough for that bird.
White meat is the most popular part of the turkey, so turkeys have been bred to have huge breasts. (think the Dolly Parton of the bird world). Domesticated turkeys are no longer able to mate because their man boobs get in the way. (Baby turkeys are now made via artificial insemination. Bet that makes you think of a couple of jobs you’re just as glad not to have.)
Californians eat the most turkey in the United States. Funny, I would have guessed Washington, D.C.
The phrase “turkey shoot” comes from an early Thanksgiving tradition (late 19th century) of tying turkeys behind logs on Thanksgiving morning with only their bald little heads showing. There would then be a marksmanship contest to shoot off the turkeys’ heads. Yum. I prefer watching the parade and not contemplating how the turkey got to the kitchen.
The most popular ways to serve leftover turkey are: sandwich, stew, chili/soup, casseroles, burgers, and the good, old-fashioned gnaw it off the bone. But leftovers are a discussion for tomorrow when there might be leftovers.
Gobble tov and Happy Thanksgiving!