This month, we begin with a history about Thanksgiving and turkeys to kick off your holiday festivities.
Turkeys originated in North America, and were used as food by Native American Indians as far back as 1000 AD.
Early settlers and the Indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. They served Turkey and deer meat, along with a variety of native fruits and vegetables. Potatoes arrived many years later with the first Irish settlers. There was also no pumpkin pie; in colonial times, it was served as a stew.
George Washington declared the first official Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of the month; it would not become the 4th Thursday of November until Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency in 1941.
In 1784, Ben Franklin attempted to declare the turkey, not the eagle, as America’s national bird, because it was native to our country.
In 1989, George H. W. Bush pardoned the first Thanksgiving turkey, a White House tradition that has remained ever since.
The traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924, and was first televised in 1952. The Tom Turkey float made its first appearance in 1971. It remains a highlight of the day, along with football.
Do you talk turkey?
Male turkeys are called toms, females are called hens, and baby turkeys are called poults. The long, loose skin on the turkey’s neck is called a wattle. Turkey eggs are light brown and speckled, and about twice the size of a chicken egg.
The sleepiness some people feel after eating a turkey dinner is said to be due to an amino acid in the turkey meat called tryptophan, a chemical that relaxes your body.
Enough already, let’s eat!
Traditional Thanksgiving Day foods have included roast turkey, dressing or “stuffing”, mashed potatoes and gravy, yeast rolls, cranberries, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Today, there are many variations and choices of meat, vegetables, side dishes, and desserts such as apple, pecan, or mince meat pie.
What is your favorite side dish or pie? Do any of you save the carcass and make turkey soup? I love doing that. Show of hands: how many of you serve leftovers for several days after the holiday meal? I prefer hot turkey and gravy over rolls or bread, and my son makes quick work of the turkey legs, dressing, and jellied cranberries.
If you still have room for dessert, check out this recipe for the perfect pumpkin pie.
My little dog, Lucky and I wish you all a safe Happy Thanksgiving; may it bring you many blessings.