Do you know what the Pilgrims at Plymouth had at their first Thanksgiving? They did not have the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberries and pumpkin pies. They had fish, chicken, rabbit and lobster…beans and chestnuts, dried fruits, cabbage, carrots and eggs—definitely not what we might think they had for their first feast. Also, their feast lasted for three days. Another interesting fact I learned is that the Pilgrims did not use forks, but they ate with spoons, knives and their hands.
Do you know who wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States? It was Benjamin Franklin. Well, I’m glad they picked the bald eagle instead—much more majestic. So, how did Thanksgiving become a national holiday? Sarah Josepha Hale, who was a magazine editor, asked President Lincoln to declare this day a holiday. This occurred in 1863. When did the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade first come about? That tradition dates back to the early 1920’s. Another fun fact I learned is that “since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He ‘pardons’ it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.”
Does your state rank highest in largest consumers of turkey? Well, if you live in California, then it does. Every year, about 280 million turkeys are purchased all for celebrations on Thanksgiving Day—just one day a year. Do you know the weight of the largest turkey ever raised? It was 86 lbs…which is about the size of a large dog. Hmm, I also found out that turkey has more protein than chicken or beef—I wonder why we don’t eat more turkey during the year. Do you gobble or cluck? Well, if you’re a male turkey, you gobble—females cluck. Free range turkeys can fly, but those raised, commercially, cannot—maybe that’s because they’re too fat!
This next fact really surprised me. Turkeys can have heart attacks. “The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.” WOW! Well, if you’d like more information on these facts, check out this website: Thanksgiving Fun Facts