Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving!

Five fat turkeys are we.
We spent all night in a tree.
When the cook came around,
We were no where to be found
And that's why we're here you see!

TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) writer, editor and author of the devil's dictionary

here's some trivia about thanksgiving for your holiday entertainment:

in december 1960 the pilgrims arrived in north america on the mayflower and were the first to celebrate thanksgiving in the new world during the fall of 1621 in plymouth, massachusetts. however, thanksgiving is just another take on harvest festivals which of course date back much earlier than the pilgrims arrival in north america.

here's an interesting quote by w.u. westermayer (whoever he/she is) on the american thanksgiving:
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
the wampanoag indians were the people who taught the pilgrims how to cultivate the land and were invited guests at the first thanksgiving. this thanksgiving, by the way lasted three days.

new york officially made thanksgiving an official holiday in 1817.

in 1827 sarah josepha hale of boston, a writer and editor , is credited as the individual most responsible for making thanksgiving a national holiday. previously thanksgiving was celebrated only in new england. hale wrote letters to five presidents – zachary taylor, millard filmore, franklin pierce, james Buchanan and abraham lincoln. her letter to lincoln did the trick. . on october 3, 1863 abraham lincoln issued a 'thanksgiving proclamation' and officially declared the last thursday of november as thanksgiving and a national day for giving thanks and prayer. prior to 1863, presidents would make an annual proclamation to specify which day thanksgiving was to be held. george washington issued the first national thanksgiving day proclamation in 1789.

in 1941 congress passed a bill which declared thanksgiving be held on the fourth thursday of november. prior to 1941, in spite of lincoln's proclamation, since the date of thanksgiving was not a matter of law, presidents or states would ‘declare’ thanksgiving on a thursday other than the last thursday of the month. for example in the midst of the depression, fdr moved thanksgiving to the third thursday in order to help stimulate the economy. if a year had five thursdays in november – watch out confusion ran rampant!

in addition to her efforts to make thanksgiving a holiday, sarah jospha hale is the author of the popular nursery rhyme ‘mary had a little lamb’ – perhaps this is why lamb is not a traditional thanksgiving menu item?

since at least 1947, the national turkey federation has presented the president with one live turkey and two dressed turkey in a ceremony known as the national thanksgiving turkey presentation. the live turkey is pardoned and lives out the rest of its days on a peaceful farm. it is commonly held that this pardoning tradition began with harry truman in 1947, however, no one has found any evidence for this. the earliest turkey pardon on record is in 1989 when george h.w. bush made a big deal over a turkey pardon. others claim that the tradition dates back to abe when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey.

in 2007, the u.s. per capita consumption was 17.5 pounds of turkey – in the u.s. 97% of turkey consumed is done at thanksgiving. since 1970 turkey consumption in the u.s. has increased by 116% and production has increased by 300% - lots of other countries have jumped on the turkey eating bandwagon. in fact, 87% of people in the uk have a traditional roast turkey and israelis eat the most turkeys at 28 pounds per person.

the first thanksgiving feast consisted of deer, codfish and boiled pumpkin. the pilgrims had no ovens to bake bread and no sugar or milk so most certainly they didn’t have any type of holiday pie!

I wish everyone a happy thanksgiving! I hope the spirit of thanksgiving - of togetherness, gratitude, counting blessings, prayer, and eating well (but not too much!) is with you every day - not just on the fourth thursday of november (or whatever day your country calls its national day of prayer and giving thanks).

photo: five turkeys somewhere in rural ohio

12 comments:

R.L. Bourges said...

I'm not surprised about the figures on turkey consumption in Israel - I never ate so much turkey as during the three years I lived there. (I still prepare turkey cutlets fairly often, pounded and flattened, then cooked the way you would veal scallopine, with a garnish of caper. gobble-gobble.)

Hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving, petite souris.

tut-tut said...

happy thanksgiving to you!

Merle Sneed said...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Gary said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Reya Mellicker said...

Awww, they're so cute. Nice feathers.

Happiest T-day to you, dear Mouse.

Squirrel said...

Happy Turkey Day!


We only get turkey once a year (it big roasted feasty form anyway)

but I do get the occasional turkey avocado sprout sandwich once in a while.

Barbara said...

You are such a good teacher! Did those 5 white turkeys pose for you?

The Blue Elephant said...

For me the most fascinating thing about Thanksgiving is that is really due to native American named Squanto -- taken to England where he learned English, returning to the American continent only to be captured by a slaver who took him to Spain, where a sympathetic priest made sure he made it to England where he then returned to the American continent, discovered the starving Puritans whom he taught fishing and farming, saving them, bringing them at harvest time a customary native thankskgiving ritual that happened to mesh with the English celebration called Harvest Home -- but perhaps you learned all this from Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. Anyway, thank you Squanto. Sorry that your tribe was decimated European disease.

Megan said...

Happy Thanksgiving, wonderful Kim!

Coffee Messiah said...

Hope yours was nice.

We went and had Dim Sum. The lady whos seen us there off and on for about 12 yrs asked if we were going to have turkey later and was surprised when we said no.

Usually it's very crowded. Were told since the gambling casinos opened, that's where they go for the holidays.

Very strange.

One more turkey to go (out 1-20-2009)

lettuce said...

happy thanksgiving kimy!

what very pristine looking turkeys those are

i'd sooner have venison, given the choice....

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for all the wishes!! back to you all and the best to you and yours!!