Ben Franklin’s “Bird of Courage”

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, there are a few things to share about these majestic domesticated birds. The modern domesticated turkey is more than just the centerpiece of our traditional holiday family feast. This large bird of poultry primarily raised for food is a descendant of the wild turkey.

This tasty bird we call the turkey has been linked with the ancient Mesoamerican trickster god known as Tezcatlipoca and was first domesticated by the Mesoamericans. The Aztecs raised the turkey as one of their major sources of protein, but did you know that they used its feathers as a means of creative expression, as did many other Mesoamerican cultures. Wow, turkey art!

Turkey feather fibers have been blended with nylon and spun into yarn and used for knitting, while the USDA has patented a procedure for removing the stiff quill from the fibers which make up the feather. As this is a potential untapped supply of natural fibers, research has been conducted at Philadelphia University to determine textile applications for feather fibers.

Turkey Breeds – Some of the more distinguished breeds include; the Spanish Black, the Royal Palm, the Broad-Breasted White, the Broad-Breasted Bronze, the Blue Slate, the Bourbon Red, the Chocolate, the Heritage, and the Norfolk Black, to name a few.

Popular Tasty Turkey Dishes – The traditional baked turkey, the deep fried turkey, the turkey roast, turkey soup, turkey burgers and don’t forget there’s also turkey chili. A truly global meal, in Israel turkey, rather than lamb, is typically used to make shawarma and of course there’s the ever popular turkey sandwich.

5 Interesting Turkey Facts:

1. The average domesticated turkey has a 10 year lifespan.

2. Turkey meat with mole sauce is the unofficial national dish of Mexico.

3. Turkey dung is used to fuel electric power plants in western Minnesota.

4. Each year around Thanksgiving time one lucky turkey receives an official Presidential Pardon and sent off to live out its days at a petting zoo.

5. Benjamin Franklin regarded the turkey as a noble bird and preferred it to the eagle as the proposed symbol for the new United States, describing it as a “Bird of Courage.”

Participants at the First Thanksgiving – Heralded as a quintessential American family gathering, the original participants at that first Thanksgiving likely included: a few Indian Princesses, some Fearless Pilgrims and Brave Indians. Also in attendance were Colonial Soldiers, Sexy Indians, and some seriously Cute Pilgrim Children, all humbled, happy and satiated by the tasty bird.

Without a doubt, this grand bird of poultry is more than just delicious!


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