Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsStatistics

Valley Life | foot notes

November 17, 2000|JAMES E. FOWLER

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and a sumptuous feast to celebrate our good fortune. The guest of honor at most homes will not be a pilgrim, but a turkey. But what do we really know about our one reluctant guest?

* The turkey (meleagris gallapavo) is a native game bird of North America originally found in wild abundance from Canada to Central America. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 mph and can run about 20 mph. Contrary to popular belief, only male turkeys gobble. Females cluck.

* The turkey was first domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. The conquering Spanish took the domesticated turkey back to Europe in about 1519. By 1541, turkeys were being raised in Italy, France and England. Roast turkey soon became a popular holiday dish in England. English colonists later reintroduced the European-bred, domesticated turkey (descendant of the Mexican turkey) to America.

* "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." Benjamin Franklin, 1784.

* Today, about 276 million turkeys are raised each year in the United States, according to the National Turkey Federation. U. S. turkey consumption has increased 216% since 1975. This year, that will be about 18 pounds of bird per person. The United States is second only to Israel in per-capita turkey consumption. Israelis eat almost 29 pounds of turkey per person. North Carolina is the leading turkey-producing state with about 46 million birds a year. California is sixth with about 20 million. Mexico is the largest importer of U. S. turkey meat.

* A study by doctors from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston released this week found that an unusually large meal quadruples the risk of a heart attack in the first two hours after eating. The risk is even greater--10 times--during the first hour. But after three hours, the extra risk is almost gone.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|