Is Turkey Trending?

Turkey. It is a hot topic right now. You could even say its trending. People are trying to decide how big of a one to cook, how they should cook it, or should they even cook one at all. The President will pardon one lucky bird from doing his duty of becoming a meal. As of right now, the word turkey is trending with 620 thousand tweets, but the thing is, turkey was trending long before Twitter was even thought of.

History

In the beginning, the turkey was regarded as a god by the Aztecs and had two celebrations for the mighty turkey. It has fallen a little bit in esteem in today’s time. The Spanish were the first non-natives to discover turkeys.  They described them as a sort of peacock with great hanging chins. It would take years for the name turkey to stick to the bird. Because of Columbus and his mistake in geography, the birds were called anything from the rooster of India, the Peru bird, Lebanese bird, and the Ethiopian bird. The word turkey probably came from the Turkish merchants who knew of them or from the Indians that called them tukka, tukka because of the way they sounded.

The Aztecs weren’t the only ones to hold the turkey in high esteem. Benjamin Franklin,  thought the bird was of good moral, calling it a Bird of Courage. You may have heard that Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird; however, there is some dispute about that fact. In a letter to his daughter, he says that the eagle on the seal looks like a turkey. He went on to say that this was better as the eagle was not of good moral compared to the courageous turkey. Even if the turkey did not rise to be an emblem of America, it has certainly become iconic on at least one day of the year–Thanksgiving.

The Modern Turkey

turkeyToday’s domesticated turkey is much different than the ones that the Indians and explorers saw. Wild turkeys are brown and can fly, but domesticated turkeys (the ones in your supermarket) are white and cannot fly. The domesticated turkey is about twice the size of a wild turkey, explaining its flightless state. Domesticated turkeys have been bred to have white plumage so it does not discolor the meat. Wild turkeys need their brown plumage to blend in to their surroundings; they are also a lot quieter than their domestic cousins. That is probably a good thing so they don’t get eaten by predators. There are other heritage breeds of turkeys that come in gray, black and white, and red too.

Source:http://www.wideopenspaces.com/turkey-slam-pics/

Turkey Production Facts

turkey graph

  • Turkey production has increased 110% since 1970
  • In 2014, there were 237.5 million turkeys grown by farmers
  • North Carolina is the 2nd largest producer of turkeys behind Minnesota
  • The average person ate 15.8 pounds of turkey in 2014
  • Consumers turkey consumption has doubled in the last 30 years
  • 20,000-25,000 people are employed in America to help grow turkeys.

Turkey Trends

Cage Free: If you see this on a label, know that all turkeys are raised cage free. Domesticated turkeys are grown in large barns with free choice of water, plenty of feed, and shelter from the elements.

Hormone Free: Under federal law, it is illegal for any poultry to receive hormones. If you see this label, read the fine print. It will tell you that it is against the law. Don’t pay extra for a label.

Avian Influenza: This has been a major issue across America this year, claiming more than 40 million turkeys and chickens. While devastating for farmers and birds, it poses little threat to humans. No cases have been reported in American humans. It may pose a slight threat to your wallet, though. Turkey prices are around 15-20 cents higher than last year.

Thanksgiving Turkey

  • 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving
  • 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving
  • The average turkey bought for Thanksgiving weighs 16 pounds
  • 70% of the turkey is white meat and 30% is dark

The turkey has certainly proven itself as a bird worthy of esteem. It was trending hundreds of years ago, and it is still trending today. So, gobble up that gobbler and Happy Thanksgiving!

trending turkey


Sources:

National Turkey Federation

North Carolina Poultry Federation

Colonial Williamsburg

University of Illinois

The Smithsonian

PBS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

USDA

The Poultry Site

Meet the New Faces of Food Network–The Brothers

Our family is heavily involved in 4-H, and one of the things that we participate in every year is presentations. It has taught all of us kids to learn public speaking skills and confidence–something that I have been extremely thankful for over the years. This year, was the boys’ first time doing a presentation. Following in their older brother’s footsteps, they chose to do the outdoor cookery category. In this section, they have to actually cook a piece of meat for judges on charcoal grills. Do you know how cute a 9 and 10 year old are grilling? Let’s just say they could be the stars of Food Network.

It isn’t just about grilling some scrumptious food, though. The kids have to field the judges’ questions about what temperature to cook the meat to, why they wear gloves (side note: Mom was quizzing Gid on why he should wear gloves, and was trying to get him to remember the word salmonella by thinking of fish. He had the worst time picking the right fish. If you hear him say the flounder disease, you know what he’s talking about), grill safety, and even nutritional facts about their meat. When they age up to senior level, they have to give an additional presentation discussing the industry and more for a chance to go to nationals. Impressed yet?

The boys had already grilled at the county level, and were now competing at the district level. Gideon is still a Cloverbud, so he was non-competitive. Isaac was a junior and ended up winning gold, so he will be headed  to state next month. They were both cooking turkey tenderloin. Now, I used to be a only turkey at Thanksgiving kind of girl, but when we started grilling turkey tenderloins for these presentations, I reevaluated life. It is so very good, especially if you follow their recipes (see below). I know I may be partial, but I think my brothers are just too cute and ever so talented.

turk gid

turk i

Waiting for the coals
Waiting for the coals

turk raw

turk temp

turk cut

turk gid cut

turkey judge

turk judges

Clearly, it was superb
Clearly, it was superb

turk boys

turk family

Isaac and Gideon have very opposite personalities. Isaac is more quiet and Gideon is sassy, so it is only fitting that their recipes parallel with their personalities. They have been kind enough to share their special recipes with you guys so you too may enjoy turkey this summer. Here is Gideon’s. It is has more of a kick.

turkey on targetIssac’s is more subdued and sweet.

tasty turkey

Not only is it delicious, but turkey is also nutritious.

turk nut

And don’t forget, turkey needs to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and to wash your hands after handling raw meat lest you get “flounder diseases.”

I hope you enjoy the recipes and be sure to look out for Food Network’s new faces–The Brothers–coming soon. 😉

the bros