It’s that time of year again, a time when family and friends gather to reflect on the things they’re most thankful for. And most of us will do it around a glistening fat bird roasted to golden-brown perfection, the Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving without them, so we thought it appropriate to spend a minute highlighting some gobbler fun facts. Enjoy.
Big business. It’s probably not surprising that America is the leading producer (and consumer) of turkeys. The industry this year produced about 245 million turkeys. Minnesota, with about 42.5 million, was the single largest producer. The industry claims the creation of 374,000 jobs, paying more than $21 billion in wages.
In the beginning. Turkeys were first domesticated in central Mexico and parts of the Southwestern U.S. by native peoples at least 2,000 years ago. Spanish explorers to the area brought turkeys back to Europe in the 16th Century. It’s thought the English coined the name turkey after associating the birds with the Turkish merchants who often sold the birds in England.
Gobbler traits. Domesticated turkeys can’t fly, but wild ones can—and up to speeds of 55 miles per hour! They can run fast too, up to 25 miles per hour. And when called for, they can even tuck their wings behind them and swim. Both males and females (toms and hens) have jiggly appendages hanging from their faces called snoods, as well as dangly red bits of flesh under the chin called wattles.
Close call. Each year, one lucky turkey gets spared from the chopping block with a presidential pardon. The tradition, which includes sending the turkey to a farm to live out the rest of its relatively short life, began with President George H.W. Bush in 1989. Before him, it’s said presidents Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy also found room in their hearts for an occasional Thanksgiving presidential turkey pardon.
Debunked. Despite what many of us have been told at Thanksgiving feasts for years, eating turkey doesn’t actually make you sleepy. The myth stems from the fact that turkey meat contains tryptophan, an amino acid associated with brain chemicals involved in sleep. But pound for pound, cheddar cheese contains more tryptophan than turkey. If you’re feeling tired after a big meal, it’s likely due to foods loaded with carbohydrates.
At Infinite Energy, were thankful for all of our great customers. And we’d like to wish all of you the happiest of times this Thanksgiving season.