Thanksgiving has been called by the wrong name for too long


Photo courtesy: Jill Crimm

Prowl News Editor Lucyjane Crimm celebrates Turkey Thanking Day by thanking a group of turkeys.

Every year families gather together to eat a bountiful meal, the main dish traditionally being turkey, and list off all they’re thankful for: family, friends or the football game. 

But that’s not the true meaning of Thanksgiving, or as it should be called, Turkey Thanking Day. 

“For the truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird,” founding father Benjamin Franklin said in a letter comparing the bald eagle to the turkey. “He is . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.”

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. This was a great stride for the turkey community. Unfortunately though, the meaning of Turkey Thanking Day has been lost with the years. It’s not about the food, football or being with your family—it’s about acknowledging the majestic turkey.

“Serving turkey at Thanksgiving is a time-honored American tradition,” communications manager of the National Turkey Federation Ms. Shelby Shaw said. “When many people think of Thanksgiving, they imagine the Norman Rockwell painting from 1943 featuring a delicious golden-brown turkey as the centerpiece of the table. Recipes passed down for generations . . . help maintain these beloved traditions.”

There are so many ways to prepare turkey, so don’t feel limited by the classic oven approach; turkey can never ‘get old.’ If prepared various ways by a creative mind, a turkey isn’t just a Turkey Thanking Day meal. It’s a pre- and post-Turkey Thanking Day meal.

“Turkey drinks in the flavors used to marinade or season it, so its flavor and tenderness is unmatched,” Ms. Shaw said. “Turkey being a larger bird also allows for more servings, or leftovers, making it a great option for hosting. Turkey prepared on the grill or smoker is a great way to think outside the oven and really let its flavors shine.”

Turkeys are so prominent that since 1947, it has been a White House tradition to choose a turkey as the National Thanksgiving Turkey. This tradition started when the National Turkey Federation gave a live turkey to President Harry Truman.

“Each year, the presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President of the United States takes place the week of Thanksgiving,” Ms. Shaw said.This year’s turkeys are traveling from Iowa, and they’re expected to arrive in Washington, D.C. [Nov. 22].”

This year, before you sit down for your annual Turkey Thanking Day dinner, take a second to thank a turkey, whether it’s a wild turkey, a frozen turkey in Wal-Mart or your pet turkey.

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