In countries like the United States of America, Brazil, and Canada, most families religiously celebrate thanksgiving every year. The tradition of thanksgiving is said to go way back in history. The first thanksgiving was believed to be celebrated by the pilgrims of Plymouth in 1621 as recorded by two eyewitnesses, William Bradford and Edward Winslow
According to fossil reports, the cultivation and consumption of this large bird have been around for almost 5 million years. Wow! That’s a long time, right? Legends have it that the domestication of turkey began in Mexico, hundreds of years before the city even saw any Europeans. The delicious large bird was brought to America in the sixteenth century by people who wanted to settle down there and now, they are a very popular source of meat in all the 48 continental states.
Celebrations of the harvest and the idea of giving thanks have been a popular tradition for centuries in numerous countries around the globe, but it was by no means a national holiday, until the nineteenth century.
Thanksgiving is an annual event that is celebrated mostly in November. But some countries celebrate it in October too. The highlight of the traditional thanksgiving celebration is the contemporary thanksgiving dinner itself.
The dinner consists of a large dining table filled with many delicacies to feed a large hungry family. Authentic thanksgiving dinner would contain the large bird in the center of the table. This dish of turkey is so popular that thanksgiving is also called “turkey day” by many. The turkey is filled with flavors and is preferably slowly roasted to tenderness, for a day or two.
The large bird is decorated with baked and chopped carrots, apples, chestnuts, tree nuts, raisins, onions, and celery as stuffing. Surrounding the star of the evening is an array of side dishes like pumpkin pie, green bean casserole my, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravies, and many different types of bread or Bread rolls. Beverages like fermented apple cider, cocktails, wine, or just sweet teas that compliment the heavy dinner are further served with these sides, too.
Turkey is such a popular festival food that Americans consume about one-third of their total turkey consumption during the thanksgiving- Christmas holidays. Every year, exclusive broad-breasted turkeys that are white are bred especially for the purpose of thanksgiving and other similar annual feasts. They are quite large and can grow as big as 35-40 pounds, if not more. American and few other nationalities take thanksgiving very seriously, since it is deeply ingrained in their culture since 1947.
Our ancestors were rather smart and practical while choosing this big bird to feast on, during occasions that flock large numbers of people. They preferred to use turkeys instead of chickens or any other large animals like cows, goats as these animals were far more valuable when alive.
A dozen chickens would provide them with dozens of eggs every day once they are even done with thanksgiving. And also since the meat content of a turkey is more than chickens, they didn’t have to worry about meat for a couple of days. Cows and goats were good sources of milk and they also worked on the fields so they didn’t think, cooking them up on thanksgiving was a wise decision too.
So, was this large bird always a part of thanksgiving day??
From what has been recorded by Edward Winslow and William Bradford, one can conclude that turkey was very much around during their time since they have written about hunting turkeys, but there is no evidence to prove that this large bird was the centerpiece around which thanksgiving revolved even then like it is today. They never mentioned anywhere that turkeys were even part of the feast of the thanksgiving culture. However, it was mentioned that the use of duck, goose, fish, and lobster was quite common for this harvest celebration dinner.
All the facts and benefits you most certainly did not know about your thanksgiving showstopper- the turkey. The turkey that is pasture l-raised is said to be higher on the levels of omega3 when compared to turkeys bred by factory farmers.
- The meat of dark turkeys is not just believed to be packed with more minerals and vitamins but also more calories and fat content as compared to that of the white turkey.
- The turkey is considered as fully cooked only when the internal temperature of the large bird reaches about 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The meat of the large bird is so rich and packed with vitamins. Vitamin B-6, B12, selenium, zinc, niacin, and choline.
- Turkey contains traces of amino acid tryptophan but not enough to make you sleepy after the lovely thanksgiving dinner.
- It is an excellent source of protein that keeps you feeling fuller for a long. It gives your mind the feeling of satiety or that feeling of satisfaction after a great meal.
- The high-quality protein in turkey meat helps aid weight loss and maintain lean muscle mass.
- The protein in turkey also regulates insulin levels and helps keep them stable.
- The excessive fat content in turkey can be decreased by getting rid of its skin and a healthier lean meat dish can be enjoyed instead.
Regardless of whether or not turkey was a part of thanksgiving in the sixteenth century, it is widely enjoyed by the western population. Turkey as a centerpiece on this favorite harvest celebration, is a wonderful source of high-quality protein and has many health benefits. It is only a bonus that we enjoy a nice and rich meal of turkey on Thanksgiving and other occasions like Christmas and New Year.