40 interesting facts about Thanksgiving and the food you’ll eat – from birds too corpulent to replicate to plumbers having to do extra time.
1. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey as the U.S. national bird; he thought the bald eagle had a “bad character.”
2. George Bush Sr. started the tradition of the U.S. president “pardoning” the turkey presented to him.
3. In all, 280 million turkeys are sold in the US for Thanksgiving celebrations.
4. Most are eaten in California.
5. The average turkey people buy weighs about 15 lbs.
6.Which made it too heavy to fly.
7. …and unable to reproduce on its own.
8. Turkey meat contains more protein than chicken or beef.
9. About 4000 years ago, Indians in Peru were the first to domesticate the potato.
10. They are vegetables, but due to their carbs nutritionally more akin to rice and bread.
11. The world’s largest producer of potatoes is China.
12. Potatoes contain a small amount of poison.
13. But also a lot of vitamin C and B, as well as many minerals.
14. They consist of 80% water and 20% solids.
15. That explains why an 8 ounce potato only has 100 kcal.
16. But most are eaten as fries, adding loads of fat.
17. Botanically, cranberries are called “false berries,” because the fruit grows beneath the flower.
18. To Dutch and German settlers they looked like cranes, hence the original name “crane berry.”
19. Today Americans consume about 400 million pounds, 20% alone during Thanksgiving week.
20. Although many people believe it, they do not grow in water.
21. Commercial harvesting started in New England, where the fruit protected sailors from scurvy.
22. They float in water due to a small air pocket inside.
23. Which is why cranberry fields are flooded for harvest and may have led to #20.
24. The air pocket also makes them bounce. If they don’t, they aren’t fresh.
The Pumpkin Pie
25. During colonial times, pumpkins were used for the crust of pies, not the filling.
27. Not only the pumpkins themselves are edible, their flowers are too.
28. Their name comes from Greek “pepon” – “large melon.”
29. They belong to the same botanical family as squash and cucumbers.
30. The average pumpkin weighs 5 lbs.
31. 100 g of pumpkin have about 26 kcal.
32. The 50 million pumpkin pies eaten during Thanksgiving have more.
The Dinner As A Whole
33. The first Thanksgiving dinner occurred in 1623.
34. It consisted of wild turkeys, fowl, fish, corn and barley.
35. …making today’s Thanksgiving dinner a fleeting resemblance.
36. The settlers likely also didn’t eat today’s average 4,500 kcal per person during Thanksgiving.
37. To burn this many calories in one go, you’d need to run 1 1/2 marathons.
38. Yet people estimate that on average they’ll eat only 1,700 kcal.
39. But if you are the person preparing the whole dinner, you’ll already burn about 750 kcal!
40. Plumbers get 60% more calls the day after Thanksgiving than on other days.
The reasons for the last I leave to your imagination. Nonetheless, I hope you found this enlightening and with that, to all my American friends, I send a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the day!
Picture courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt.