I have some "turkey trivia" for you to share with your guests at this year's Thanksgiving meal......
Until 1863, Thanksgiving Day had not been celebrated annually since the first feast in 1621. This changed in 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale (the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb) encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer."
About 300 million turkeys are produced each year. About 45 million (15%, or about 675 million pounds) are consumed at Thanksgiving. Ninety percent of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas.
According to a survey commissioned by the National Turkey Federation the top five ways consumers eat leftover turkey are: (1) Sandwich (67%); (2) Soup or stew (20%); (3) Salad (14%); (4) Casserole (12%); and (5) Stir-fry (6%).
The average American ate between 18 and 19 pounds of turkey in 1996. Sandwiches are the most popular form of turkey consumption.
Californians are the biggest turkey eaters in the country. They eat three pounds more turkey than the average American consumer.
The Israelis eat more than 22 pounds of turkey each year, largely because red-meat production in Israel is limited and it is expensive.
Domestic turkeys are raised in just about every state. North Carolina produces the most turkeys, while Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.
How did the turkey get its name? No one seems to know for sure, but we are certain how the turkey got it's nickname, gobbler. It comes from the loud "gobble, gobble, gobble" that the turkey makes. Only the male turkeys (called toms) gobble, while the females (called hens) make a clicking noise.
Domestic turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 25 miles an hour.
A fully grown turkey has over 3,500 feathers.
Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They fly to their roosts around sunset.
A wild turkey has excellent vision and hearing. Their field of vision is about 270 degrees. This is one reason why they easily elude some hunters.
The fleshy growth from the base of the beak, which is very long on male turkeys and hangs down over the beak, is called the snood.
Out of this world meal. When US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin sat down to eat their first meal on the moon in their historic 1969 voyage, their foil food packets contained roasted turkey and all the trimmings.
Benjamin Franklin tried to switch our national symbol from the Eagle to the Turkey.
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