Why do we serve turkey on Thanksgiving Day?
When we say Thanksgiving, one thing comes into our mind. Turkey. Its aroma filling up the entire kitchen saying it’s time to feast. But did you ever wonder why do we serve turkeys during the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving? How did we end up with this practice?
Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is the time when we give thanks for having to finish off the work and expressing our gratitude for all the blessings that we received throughout the year.
It all started in 1621 when Pilgrims held a feast in Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. They invited Wampanoag Indians, and everyone feasted on turkey and pumpkin pie. Though there is no real evidence that turkey was served at the Pilgrim’s first thanksgiving, throughout the years, turkey has became an essential part of the Thanksgiving tradition that more than 90 percent of Americans eat it on Thanksgiving Day.
When Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, turkey has already been associated with Christmas but was also considered a meal of great importance at Thanksgiving. Some culinary historians believe that Scrooge’s gift of a Christmas turkey to the Cratchit of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843 and widely read in the United States, helped established the turkey’s place at the center of the holiday meal for both modest and affluent households.
The wild turkey is native to northern Mexico and the eastern Unites States. Later it was domesticated in Mexico, and was brought into Europe early in the 16th century. Among the big birds and other poultry animals, turkey was ideal for a fall feast. Turkeys are born during the spring and would be perfect by Thanksgiving because they would spend about seven months eating insects and worms on the farm, growing to about 10 pounds. They are fresh, cheap and big enough to feed the whole family.
Historians may argue whether turkey was indeed served during the first thanksgiving or not but one thing is for sure, we will all be serving turkey every Thanksgiving Day because it is a delicious meal. SMay it be roasted, smoked or deep-fried turkey dish, the moist and tender bird will surely be on our table. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, “The turkey is a much more respectable Bird and withal a true original Native of North America”.