Talking Turkey At Thanksgiving

Today is my favorite holiday of the year.

TurkeyTrimNo presents to buy.

And as Canadian Snowbirds we have the opportunity of celebrating Thanksgiving in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and again today.

The only thing to spend is time with family, food, and football.

The Thanksgiving holiday is an opportune time to consider turkeydom—the wild stock and those top-heavy, farm-raised birds that are pardoned and spared from the dinner table each Thanksgiving by the President of the United States.

You know you’ll probably eat too much. But what do you really know about Thanksgiving? What do you know about the headliner of the day, Tom Turkey?

Wild Turkeys are native to North America, with some interesting historical and geographical twists along the way. The common turkey was tamed between 800 and 200 BC by the people of pre-Columbian Mexico. Up until about 1100 AD, the Pueblo peoples raised turkeys primarily for their feathers for use in rituals, ceremonies, and textiles.

Then in the 1500s, European explorers carried wild turkeys back to Europe, where the birds were further domesticated. When early English settlers brought turkeys to Eastern North America a century later, the species crossed the ocean once again.

Wild Turkey at Flatrock Brook Nature Center, in Englewood, New Jersey (Source: 1000birds.com)
Wild Turkey at Flatrock Brook Nature Center, in Englewood, New Jersey (Source: 1000birds.com)

Wild turkeys live in hardwood forests and marshlands. Equipped with powerful legs and clawed toes, they are adept at raking through leaf litter and moderate snow depths. Their broad diet includes over 600 types of fruits, nuts, waste grains, grasses, and insects. At night, Wild turkeys roost in trees for shelter and predator protection.

Appearance-wise, the Wild Turkey won’t win a beauty contest. Males have blue or gray featherless necks and heads that can shift color according to the bird’s emotional state. When angry or during courtship displays, the neck and head turn a radiant red. The male toms are the larger sex that boasts a spikey “beard” of feathers protruding from their mid-chest.

The snood is a fleshy flap that hangs from the beak; prominent bumps on the head and throat are termed carbuncles, while the wattles drape from under the chin. These physical characteristics are far more pronounced in domestic turkeys.

Most commercial turkey farmers breed their birds to have white feathers because white feathers leave no spots on the skin when plucked. Bred exclusively for the table, flightless domestic turkeys are 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat. This differs from their wild relatives, whose breast flesh is darker due to their active flight habits.

thanksgiving-footballThe two types of meat differ nutritionally. White meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat. The rich flavor of dark meat is especially valued in soup and stew recipes. Dark meat holds up well in rich marinades and is a perfect choice for grilling and barbecuing.

Benjamin Franklin, who proposed the turkey as the official United States’ bird, was dismayed when the bald eagle was chosen over the turkey. Franklin wrote to his daughter, referring to the eagle’s “bad moral character,” saying, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country! The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.”

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, supposedly as a response to a campaign organized by magazine editor Sara Joseph Hale.
In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day forward one week, as it is presently celebrated.

In 2012, more than 253.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 210 million were consumed in the United States. An estimated 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas, and 19 million at Easter.

Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that approximately 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2012.

turkeyDeep fried turkey originated in the southern United States but is popular today throughout North America. Quickly cooked, deep-fried turkey is rich in flavor with a golden brown crispy exterior while moist and fork-tender on the interior.

Turkey consumption has nearly doubled over the past 25 years. In 2012, per capita turkey consumption was 16 pounds compared to 8.3 pounds in 1975.

Turkey can be used in so many cooking methods, including stovetop, oven, microwave, and grill. The wide range of cuts and products available such as ground turkey, turkey ham, turkey franks, turkey pastrami, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, and deli turkey make this protein easy to incorporate into any meal.

Did you Know?

Only tom turkeys gobble. Hen turkeys make a clicking noise.

Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 20 miles per hour.

Read More

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle

Many will be on the road traveling today and throughout this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle (Photo: kparis.buzznet.com)
Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle (Photo: kparis.buzznet.com)

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel weekend in America, and RVers are out in force, back on the road, crossing the country in their RVs to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends.

And many Snowbirds are traveling south to their favorite Sunbelt roost to avoid the rigors of another northern winter.

I have so much to be thankful for! I give thanks to my partner—my wife Dania, my co-pilot—and our family and friends.

With a lifelong love of travel, a condo-on-wheels has always been our destiny. Yes, we’re living our dream! We’ve wintered in Southern CaliforniaArizonaTexas, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Our RV travels have taken us to over 40 states and four western provinces.

I am thankful as Canadian Snowbirds that we have the opportunity of celebrating Thanksgiving in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and again in November.

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good Wi-Fi.

Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle
Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle

We’re thankful that RV travel is so popular in our own vast and wonderful countries. We are fortunate that the RV industry has rebounded and that RVing is supported coast-to-coast!

I’m thankful for our continued health and safety while traveling. Any time you venture onto highways, you are rolling the dice. So far we’ve enjoyed over 140,000 miles of safe and mostly carefree travel as we cruise the highways and byways of our two great nations!

I am thankful for our freedom. As Americans and Canadians we take so much for granted when it comes to freedom. We have freedom of speech, expression, the right to vote, and so much more that others across the world only dream of. That freedom came at a price—and that is the lives of many of our servicemen and women.  So, I also would like to give thanks to our troops.

Oh yeah … and I give thanks to the Internet which has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts on RV Travel.

Stay tuned, friends…the best is yet to come!

What are you thankful for?

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend from our family here to you and yours.  We hope it will be full of amazing food, love and laughter and of course–great wines!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels…and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good WiFi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good WiFi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanksgiving Day Stats

Key to any Thanksgiving Day menu are a fat turkey and cranberry sauce.

An estimated 254 million turkeys were raised for slaughter in the U.S. during 2012, up 2 percent from 2011’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service.

About 46 million of those turkeys ended up on U.S. dinner tables on Thanksgiving—or about 736 million pounds (334 million kilograms) of turkey meat, according to estimates from the National Turkey Federation.

Minnesota is the United States’ top turkey-producing state, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana, and California. These “big seven” states produce more than two of every three U.S.-raised birds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

U.S. farmers also produced an estimated 768 million pounds (348 million kilograms) of cranberries in 2012, which, like turkeys, are native to the Americas. The top producers are Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

The U.S. grew 2.6 billion pounds (1.18 billion kilograms) of sweet potatoes—many in North Carolina, Mississippi, California, Texas, and Louisiana—and produced more than 1.2 billion pounds (544 million kilograms) of pumpkins. Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio grow the most U.S. pumpkins.

Worth Pondering…

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

—Edward Sandford Martin

Read More

Giving Thanks & RVing

Many will be on the road traveling today and throughout this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good WiFi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel weekend in America, and RVers are out in force, back on the road, crossing the country in their RVs to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends.

And many Snowbirds are traveling south to their favorite Sunbelt roost to avoid the rigors of another northern winter.

I have so much to be thankful for! I give thanks to my partner—my wife Dania, my co-pilot—and our family and friends.

With a lifelong love of travel, a condo-on-wheels has always been our destiny. Yes, we’re living our dream! We’ve wintered in Southern CaliforniaArizonaTexas, and Florida. Our RV travels have taken us to over 40 states and four western provinces.

I am thankful as Canadian Snowbirds that we have the opportunity of celebrating Thanksgiving in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and again in November.

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to reflect on life, liberty, and the pursuit of full hookup campgrounds with really good Wi-Fi.

We’re thankful that RV travel is so popular in our own vast and wonderful countries. We are fortunate that the RV industry is rebounding and that RVing is supported coast-to-coast!

I’m thankful for our continued health and safety while traveling. Any time you venture onto highways, you are rolling the dice. So far we’ve enjoyed over 125,000 miles of safe and mostly carefree travel as we cruise the highways and byways of our two great nations!

I am thankful for our freedom. As Americans and Canadians we take so much for granted when it comes to freedom.  We have freedom of speech, expression, the right to vote, and so much more that others across the world only dream of.  That freedom came at a price—and that is the lives of many of our servicemen and women.  So, I also would like to give thanks to our troops.

Combining Birding and Photography with our life on the road is like enjoying pecan pie with Blue Bell ice cream for dessert following a turkey feast on Thanksgiving Day! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Combining Birding and Photography with our life on the road is like enjoying pecan pie with Blue Bell ice cream for dessert following a turkey feast on Thanksgiving Day! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Oh yeah … and I give thanks to the Internet which has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts on RV Travel.

Stay tuned, friends…the best is yet to come!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels…and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Worth Pondering…

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

—Edward Sandford Martin

Read More