Monday, November 19, 2012

The Turkeys Three (and a little history)

Where has the time gone? There are just a few more days until Thanksgiving. 
I figured if we were gonna do some turkey crafts, it had to be now!

We had to get our hands and feet dirty to make a turkey!

Here we used cupcake liners to make colorful feathers for the Mr. and Mrs.

His feathers are a painted paper plate that has been cut into a wedge shape.

Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

There may be plenty of reasons why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but the fact remains that a roasted wild turkey makes for a wonderful delicacy with which to celebrate the festive season with the entire family! According to Benjamin Franklin, turkey is more respectable than the eagle and a true original native of North America. In fact, he wanted to establish turkey as the national bird of America instead of the bald eagle! We wouldn't be eating it today, had Ben Franklin's wish been carried out!

Legend has it that the Colonists were in the search of a cheap and easily available option that would sufficiently satiate the hunger of a large company. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I was celebrating a harvest festival with peacock meat and wild boar, along with a baked goose. When she was informed that the Spanish Armada, on its way to attack England, had sunk, the Queen was so delighted that she ordered an additional roast goose. Thus, goose became the favorite bird at the harvest celebration in England. This custom was carried over to America by early settlers who replaced roasted goose with roasted turkey, as wild turkeys were more abundantly found (they are not migratory birds) than geese, which are difficult to rear. Thus, a new tradition of serving turkey at Thanksgiving celebrations was born. Some say that eating turkey in affluent families came into practice in England in the 15th century itself, when it was very expensive.

More scientifically speaking, since turkeys are born in the spring season and take about 9 months to mature, feeding on insects, worms, and acorns till maturity (giving the meat its taste), they are perfect for being feasted on in fall, by which time they weigh as much as ten pounds! That is a lot of turkey to make pies, lots of pies! Pies were a staple winter food for American homes and they made all sorts of them.

Another story behind eating turkey on Thanksgiving goes like this:
By 1540s, England had already adopted the turkey as a part of its Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the harvest. The tradition of turkey is rooted in the 'History of Plymouth Plantation', which was written by William Bradford, the Pilgrim Governor. The book states that when, in 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in America, sailing from Plymouth in England, they brought the practice of eating turkeys with them. In 1621, the first Thanksgiving harvest feast was cooked to praise the Lord. They were to dine with Wampanoag Indians, a Native American Indian tribe of hunters that gathered all types of meats, who took them for hunting wild birds (according to the letters of pilgrim Edward Winslow) as per their signed treaty for peaceful co-existence. On the behest of the Pilgrims, turkeys were hunted and served during the course of the feast. But the Governor's documents were lost, having been taken away by the British during the War of Independence.

Thanks to Charles Dickens, turkey for Thanksgiving was further popularized through his best-selling book A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, which describes the traditional English Christmas feast. Bob Cratchit's family is handed over a turkey from Scrooge (his first act of kindness) as a Christmas present to finish their meal. At the time this book was published, turkeys were easily available in grocery stores but could only be afforded by wealthy families.


  1. Love learning about the history of the Turkey:) I will share with my kids. Nice turkey pictures by your children:) Thanks for sharing on the NOBh

  2. cute, cute turkey! Love all the Thanksgiving history info too!
    Lisa @ Life is Great in a 31 by 8

  3. Love the finger and foot turkey! Genius! Following from the UK via GFC Bloghop :-)

  4. I'm excited you joined the the CHQ Blog Hop this week! Hoping you make some new bloggy friends and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
    xo, Meredith @

  5. The turkey crafts are very cute. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

  6. So funny! We just did similar turkeys today, but with feathers!

  7. these are adorable...thanks for sharing on Hey Mom, Look What I Did at Adventures In Mommy Land!