Let’s Talk Turkey

A few facts about turkey, from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids

Ben Franklin despised eagles and lobbied hard to name the turkey our national bird. (He lost.)

There are about 4.5 million wild turkeys living free in the United States. They can fly 55 mph and run 25 mph. Domesticated turkeys, however, have been bred to be so overweight and front-heavy that they can’t build up any significant speed, loft, or distance.

For more than 100 years Massachusetts had no wild turkeys. But thanks to a reintroduction program in nearby New York in the 1970s, more than 20,000 now roam the state.

Most American ice-cream trucks play a song called “Turkey in the Straw.” (British trucks play “Greensleeves.”)

Big Bird’s costume includes about 6,000 turkey feathers dyed yellow.

The first in-flight meal: turkey and vegetables, served aboard the luxury 16-passenger Russian Ilia Mouriametz biplanes in 1914. The meals stopped later that year when the large airplanes were converted into heavy bombers for World War I. 

First Swanson’s TV Dinner, released in 1954: turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes.

Turkeys originated in Mexico. Introduced to Spain in the 1500s, Turkish merchants sold the birds all over Europe (one theory as to how they got their name). The turkeys we eat today are descendants of those European birds.

The Pilgrims were familiar with turkeys before reaching the New World— they brought them in 1620.

See also: Let's Talk Turkey

Bonus: Here are some excuses the kids at your Thanksgiving feast may use for being picky about what they eat.

Turophobia: Fear of cheese.

Lachanophobia: Fear of vegetables.

Alliumphobia: Fear of garlic.

Mycophobia: Fear of mushrooms.

Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Carnophobia: Fear of meat.

Ichthyophobia: Fear of fish.

Oenophobia: Fear of wine.

Cibophobia: Fear of eating.

(YouTube link)

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The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids. Weighing in at over 400 pages, it's a fact-a-palooza of obscure information.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!


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