The Roundup -

10 Tasty Turkey Tidbits


Feasting on Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings is something many of us eagerly anticipate. Deep conversation over dinner about the details of one’s personal life or the election results...not so much. If you think you might find yourself in search of non-controversial conversation starters while enjoying your holiday meal, consider the tasty turkey tidbits below.

1. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey on the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings for 10 is much anticipated. This year’s tally is something to be thankful for, coming in at $49.87 - down 24 cents (less than 1 percent) compared to 2015.

2. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, supposedly as a response to a campaign organized by magazine editor Sara Joseph Hale. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day forward one week to the fourth Thursday of November, as it is presently celebrated. Plymouth Plantation recounts the history of the first Thanksgiving, as Gov. William Bradford’s description of the Pilgrims’ first autumn in Plymouth makes clear, “There was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.”

3. In 2015, more than 233 million turkeys were raised, with about 212 million consumed in the U.S. Thanksgiving is the biggest day for turkey consumption (46 million), followed by Christmas (22 million) and Easter (19 million).

4. Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds. In 2015, per capita turkey consumption was 16 pounds, compared to 8.3 pounds in 1975.

5. Benjamin Franklin, who proposed the turkey as the official United States’ bird, was dismayed when the bald eagle was chosen instead. Franklin wrote to his daughter, referring to the eagle’s “bad moral character,” saying, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country! The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.”

6. The naturally mild taste of turkey, a nutrient-rich protein, combines readily with different seasonings, making it an ideal choice in spicy ethnic dishes, as a substitute for higher-fat meats in favorite recipes and as a complement to other foods on the plate.

7. Many people report drowsiness after eating Thanksgiving dinner. While turkey often receives the blame, recent studies suggest that carbohydrate-rich meals may cause sleepiness by increasing the number of tryptophans in the brain. So, the unusually large, multi-course, carbohydrate-rich meal most people eat on Thanksgiving is more likely the reason a late afternoon nap seems like such a good idea.

8. White meat turkey is generally preferred in the U.S. A turkey typically has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat. White meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat. The rich flavor of dark meat is especially valued in soup and stew recipes. It also holds up well in rich marinades and is a perfect choice for grilling and barbecuing.

9. 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).

10. Only tom (male) turkeys gobble; hens (females) make a clicking noise.

*Numbers 2-10 courtesy of the National Turkey Federation.


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