STATES CHRONICLE – Although Thanksgiving is an old holiday celebrated by Americans, specialists argue that there are still unknown facts about this tradition. We all know that the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is bound to include a big turkey nicely roasted and seasoned with a lot of spices. It was long thought that is easier to raise turkeys than to hunt them. Even old Mayans’ traditions had proved this fact when they had domesticated wild turkeys located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, approximately 2,300 years back.
Americans should be thankful to the ancient Mayans tribe for the feast they have celebrated on November 24. Studies have shown that all other domestic breeds which occurred in Europe had as origins the American poultry. Back in the 15th century, Spanish conquerors from Mexico have traded and brought the domesticated birds in Europe for the first time, together with other products like tobacco, potatoes, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and chocolate.
These “big birds” as they were called in many countries at that time were sold as “turkeys” on the European markets. The same name was attributed to these birds in Scotland for the turkey-sized capercaillies and the guinea fowl. Back at the time, the turkey was used to designate any big bird. What is even more striking is that in Europe people started consuming the meat of these birds before the Pilgrims fed with wild turkeys in America.
By 1575, the turkey reached to replace goose on English tables, despite the fact that in Europe this type of bird was extremely expensive. By 1672, around Cape Cod, Plymouth and Boston were hunting activities were intense, the turkey becomes to be a rare bird here. Following an external circuit, Europeans would bring back to America genetically modified birds to lie as a cornerstone to the significant farming industry boost that occurred in the 1900s.
Nowadays, almost three hundred million turkeys are purchased in America. Statistics estimated that approximately 45 million of birds are bought for Thanksgiving and other 22 million are purchased for Christmas. The advantage we have today is that we are not forced to go hunting to enjoy such a tasty meal like our ancestors did back then. Apparently, there exist two kinds of turkey meat, where one is a light meat, and the other is a dark but moist and tastier one. Some Americans prefer one type of meat over the other, sharing different opinions about the taste and the structure.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia