By Erika Weisensee, Oregon Mom
Have you noticed that Thanksgiving side dishes like potatoes, stuffing, and pie can sometimes steal the show? I’m going to ask that we pay a little more attention to the turkey. Let’s be thankful for turkeys and their role in helping Americans give thanks for hundreds of years.
Courtesy of the National Turkey Federation (www.eatturkey.com ) here’s some turkey trivia to share with your family:
- Benjamin Franklin, who proposed the turkey as the official United States’ bird, was reportedly dismayed when the bald eagle was chosen over the turkey.
- Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation (NTF) has presented the President of the United States with a live turkey and two dressed turkeys in celebration of Thanksgiving. After the ceremony, the live bird retires to Mount Vernon to live out the rest of its years.
- In 2010, more than 226 million turkeys were consumed in the United States. NTF estimates that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter.
- The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds.
- White meat is generally preferred in the United States while other countries choose the dark meat. A turkey typically has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
- Turkey consumption has nearly doubled over the past 25 years. In 2010, per capita turkey consumption was 16.4 pounds compared to 8.3 pounds in 1975.
- Turkey often takes the blame for making people sleepy after their Thanksgiving meal, but recent studies suggest that it’s not turkey on its own but the large carbohydrate-rich meal that causes sleepiness by increasing the number of tryptophans in the brain.