Gobble This: Little Known Turkey Facts
The first Thanksgiving may be significant for bringing together the Pilgrims and Native American Indians. But the feast we celebrate today wasn’t recognized as a holiday until Honest Abe took office.
President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday on October 3, 1863, hoping to bring two warring factions to the table. Lincoln hoped all Americans, from both the North and South, would use the holiday to “heal the wounds of the nation”, caught up in the Civil War.
For most people today, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season of eating and socializing with family and friends.
The turkey takes center stage at most Thanksgiving dinners, and most recipes are passed down through generations. After all, who can resist their mother’s traditional bird, bursting with grandma’s chestnut stuffing – surrounded by bogs of cranberries, veggies and the rest?
The Pilgrims didn’t fill their plates with stuffing on the first Thanksgiving, opting to use vegetables, fruit and dry herbs to fill the bird because they never thought to use bread. Bread stuffing was introduced to the first Pilgrims years later; by more “sophisticated” settlers who shared family recipes.
Retail experts estimate that more than seven million turkeys are sold in New York City in the weeks and days leading to Thanksgiving. The average family, with three children and two adults, typically carves up a turkey weighing between 20 and 22 pounds.
Americans nationwide will consume approximately 500 million 20-24 pound turkeys this Thanksgiving, bursting with 535 million pounds of stuffing.
Professional chefs recommend that cooks use sliced bread, rather than whole loaves, to stuff their birds. Chefs also recommend that you use only fresh bread, not day-old bread that can change the taste of the stuffing.
By the way, stuffing is only stuffing when it’s cooked outside the bird, and it’s known as dressing when it cooks inside the turkey.
Did you know that the typical meal gobbled down on Thanksgiving could tally more than 3,000 calories?