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Happy Thanksgiving!


Evil Penevil
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Wishing all members of Thailand-247 

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Ever wonder why we call a turkey a turkey?  The answer goes back more than 600 years.  In the 15th century, African birds called guinea fowl were exported to Britain by Turkish merchants of the Ottoman Empire.  The birds were called Turkey cocks or hens and the name was eventually shortened to "turkeys" or "turkies."  When English explorers reached North America in the 1500s and saw the bird we today call the wild turkey, they thought it was a relative of the (guinea fowl) "turkey" with which they were familiar.  The name stuck.

A guinea fowl on the left, a wild turkey on the right.

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The wild turkey was quickly domesticated by English farmers, but was still a very different bird than the one we enjoy today at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It was much leaner and the tough meat had a gamey taste.  It would not have been roasted whole but cut up and served as a stew or in a meat pie.  The head, neck and wings were used as decorations on festive occasions, as in Still Life with a Turkey Pie by the Dutch artist Pieter Claesz in 1627 ...

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or this painting by G. Vervorn in 1658 ...


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Most Americans believe the Thanksgiving holiday can be traced back to 1621 when the Pilgrims of  Plymouth Colony invited members of the local Wampanoag tribe to a harvest feast that lasted three days. That event did take place, but not in the form it is usually pictured.  The painting below reflects a very romantic version that arose during the 1800s and continues to this day.  More on that in a follow-up post.

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Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Evi

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