Monday, 24 April 2017

T is for Turkey …




T for This Time … you get the history – the T for Turkeys in the UK and USA are much the same … so not a lot of British information available for me to post up …

Slate Turkey



Turkeys have been around for millennia (originating in Mexico/ Americas) … but were brought to Britain in the 1520s (via Spain) by Yorkshireman William Strickland, a navigator, who sailed on early voyages of exploration to the Americas …


The Lectern in St Andrew's Church
showing the turkey carving and
Coat of Arms below






… on his return to Bristol he sold the birds and is credited with their introduction into Britain … being granted a Coat of Arms … the bird motif is incorporated into it. 







c/o Britain Express photo
While in St Andrew’s Church, Boynton, East Yorkshire the lectern has been beautifully carved in the shape of a turkey …


The Poultry Club of Great Britain - link below - we have the nominate race here - the bronze with white in its tail ... was the breed introduced to us ... 




A Norfolk Bronze
The birds had been identified as a type of guineafowl … and in those early days were called “turkey fowl” before being shortened to just “turkey”…


... this was because there were 'Turkey Merchants' bringing in a range of goods from the Middle East to be traded ... thus 'turkey' was appropriated for the bird ...




Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey, although Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas … it replaced peacocks on the table in Royal Courts.



Bourbon Red Turkey

By 1720 … turkeys were walking from Norfolk to the London markets in small flocks of 300 – 1,000.  They started in August and fed on stubble fields and feeding stations along the drove … as with geese their feet were dipped in tar …




Narragansett Turkey Hens


There are 43 breeds of turkey in the UK … but many of them are very similar to their American cousins … so the best place to look is the RBST site for Turkeys under the Poultry section … 







That is T for Turkey Treats and Treasures of the Thanksgiving Table and the Christmas Table … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …




Counties with the letter T
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England: Tyne and Wear
Northern Ireland: Tyrone
Scotland:  None
Wales:  None


Turkey History and Other Facts ...  c/o British Turkey Co


Poultry Club of Great Britain - history of Turkeys




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

62 comments:

Nilanjana Bose said...

I didn't know they were guinea fowls. Wonder if they tasted better than peacocks?

Elephant's Child said...

It isn't rational, but I am glad that peacocks were taken off the dinner table. But then I would be glad if turkeys were too. I am not vegetarian for animalarian reasons, but I am increasingly finding it hard to justify killing. Of anything.

DeeDee said...

I for some reason find Turkey's a bit ugly.
And they always look so pissed at everyone.

A Peice Of My Life

Sara C. Snider said...

I'm now wondering what peacocks taste like and how similar (or dissimilar) they are to turkeys. Also, how excellent to have a turkey on one's coat of arms. :D

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar said...

I wonder who it was that decided that turkeys would make a fine meal. I had no idea there were so many types.

Shirley Corder said...

Looking at the photos I have to say the turkey is physically an incredibly complex bird. I certainly didn't know he was a type of guinea fowl. Goodness! T is for Tempting Titles as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.

bazza said...

Turkeys were incorrectly identified as a type of Guinea Fowl. I think turkey should be eaten all year round like chicken; it's a very healthy meat containing tryptophans.
I don't know why but I am reminded of the tramp who was in court for catching, cooking and eating coy carp from a royal park. The magistrate asked, "I'm curious, what did it taste like?"
"Much like swan my lord!"
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s deficient Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's usually really easy to identify turkeys...lots of identifiers there! I'm with Bazza...I try to cook more with turkey since it's so much lighter.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Interesting. I'm even hearing a character ask what the difference between turkey, peacock and guinea fowl is - especially when no feathers are seen ;-) Can be a fun scene in a story... Happy A-to-Z-ing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Re Bazza’s comment below – I see the muddle I got into – the scientific name of Turkey is Meleagris Gallopava, from Latin gallus, meaning cock, and pavo, meaning chicken like.
Meleagris is the Roman name for guineafowl, suggestive of the early confusion of the turkey with guineafowl …

Right now to the comments:

@ Nila – see note above … I guess someone realised that the turkey could be fattened up more than a peacock …

@ EC – yes I know … killing to eat is a troublesome aspect in today’ world – yet it’s something the human has done since it (the human) came into existence …

@ DeeDee – they’re not attractive are they – but they do have good meat … I’d be pissed off too - if all I was ever looked at for was to be eaten?!

@ Sara – I’ve no idea – though I’m sure someone somewhere could tell us … the Coat of Arms is an excellent idea – but I love the lectern wood-worked turkey …

@ Cynthia – I guess when they wanted to eat something it had to be caught and killed – probably turkeys could be ‘farmed’ quite easily – hence available to be eaten …

@ Shirley – why turkeys have certain accoutrements seems strange doesn’t it – but there’ll be a reason …

Please see my note at the beginning of these comments re turkey and guinea fowl …


@ Bazza – thanks … I got in a real muddle with the Roman names and hoped I’d get away with being vague – no such luck! Still at the beginning of these comments – I’ve clarified things a little – so thank you for alerting me!!!

Tryptophans I know little about … and just looked, but decided I’m healthy (thankfully) so I’ll leave that investigation for now! But good to know about …

The joke about the Carp and the Swan is just great … wonderful … was he let off for being clever, or was he then banged up for longer for the further serious transgressions – who knows!!

@ Elizabeth – it’s a good meat to use – it goes quite a long way … I tend to only have it at Christmas … when it tastes delicious!

@ Ronel – you could try cooking the birds one inside the other, then you’d have the feathers left to talk to each other and develop into characters … but good story telling that’d be sure …

Cheers to you all – I hope this has clarified the guinea fowl aspect! Hilary

Kim Blades said...

Another informative and colourful post. My sister has turkeys and guinea fowl as pets on her smallholding in the Natal Midlands. I am surprised they are related, they don't look at all alike.

Bob Scotney said...

Wild turkeys visit my daughter's property in Michigan - this drives her dogs wild. I'm glad that turkey vultures that she sees there do not grace our skies.
The Tees Valley area is being promoted in our area and there will be an election for its first mayor on May 4th - but no matter what they decide I still regard ourselves as living in Yorkshire.

crgalvin said...

Oh, tar on their feet.. our turkeys were free range on the farm. Ate lots of turkey 'dinde' when we were in France for 4 years, quite common in the supermarkets there, more likely to be found in specialist shops here in Australia except at Christmas when they are everywhere.

Jean Davis said...

Tarring the feet of the turkeys and geese sounds rather cruel.

We have a lot of wild turkeys around and flocks of them wander through our yard all year round. I counted 39 of them the last time they came by. My favorite time is when they have all their little chicks following along with their little feet trying to keep up.
Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

Ruth Schiffmann said...

We have a lot of turkey here. It's pretty common to see them by the side of the road and have to stop traffic to let them leisurely cross. I was at the library the other night around dusk and saw them up in a tree. That was a first. I never thought of them as particularly attractive birds, but I still slow the car to see them, and I saw one with its feathers all poufed up the other day, which was fun.

Deborah Weber said...

To my mind turkeys are very odd looking birds - like a bunch of leftover assorted parts got randomly stuck together. Even though I don't eat turkey, I fit it hard to look turkeys in the eye. :-)

Emily Bloomquist said...

Interesting that peacocks used to be the Christmas meal of choice. I have not had peacock but there is a farm raising them about an hour from me. Will have to find out if they raise them for food or feathers - probably a combination.

Thanks for another informative post Hilary.

Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Tide Pools in Puerto López

Out on the prairie said...

I have the Bourbon Red, they are good to eat

C.D. Gallant-King said...

We have wild turkeys in our area, they're huge ugly birds that look like vultures. If you see a flock of them gathered on the side of the road it looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie...

Karen Lange said...

I did not know much of this! Thanks for enlightening us. A poultry club - who knew? But it makes sense, there are clubs for most everything else, right? Appreciate your research here. Have a wonderful week! :)

Susan Scott said...

I always thought that the turkey was an American bird - well, I'm learning. That Bourbon Red Turkey is a handsome creature. In fact all of them are quite pleasing to me. Wonder where the phrase 'going cold turkey' came from? Perhaps the turkey itself? Thanks Hilary, interesting!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

That's one of the coolest lecterns I've ever seen! Ha, I love that you ended with a roasted turkey. The wild turkeys around here are coming out. I saw ten the other day blocking the sidewalk.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Hilary, we often see the wild turkey in the Smoky Mountains near the road or in open fields. They don't seem too disturbed by the traffic. Happy a2zing!

~Curious as a Cathy
Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “T” (Treehouse)

Christine Rains said...

The turkey population has exploded in our area in the last five years. We even get them in our backyard. They're fun to watch, but they're huge birds and cause a lot of car accidents.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh! The Bronze and Red look pretty!
Your post reminded me of my FarmVille days. I was a champ in that Facebook game. And I had so many turkeys!
Ahh! Good old days! :P
Happy AtoZing!
Chicky @ www.mysteriouskaddu.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kim – they’re not related as I explained in a comment above … I got muddled up with Roman times – well they did too! Also lots of evolution since Roman days .. how lovely to have a sister with turkeys and guinea fowl as pets … what fun!

@ Bob – wild turkeys are a different kettle of fish aren’t they and I can believe drive her dogs wild. It sounds like if we had turkey vultures here we’d have a dreadful time …

Fun to read about the Tees Valley being promoted over Yorkshire … and you’ll be getting a mayor … well maybe not a good idea – not sure about these Unitary Authorities – sounds like you’ve made your mind up though. Not having had to think about one … I’m sort of in the dark … I hope you get your candidate of choice – reminds me I must open my voting papers …

@ Carmel – the tar hardens on their feet … walking the flock to market takes its toll … this was the way it was done – back in the days – Medieval days onwards …

We are getting more turkey in the supermarkets now – rather than just at Christmas …

@ Jean – no: tarring of their feet is kind … it protects them against the long walk ahead …

Wild turkeys I imagine are somewhat loved and loathed … but when they have their little chicks …must be a delight to see …

@ Ruth – good to see you and thank you for coming by … yes the turkey can fly short distances … and escape if necessary up trees … lovely to have seen that sight from the library – and oh definitely can’t run them over … pouffed up feathers – a cosmetic makeover?

@ Emily – having just checked - peacock is a very dry meat and there’s not a lot of it … I think I’d stick to turkey. But I’m sure they are being raised for their feathers as too their meat for the locals.

@ Steve – I bet the Bourbon Red is a pretty good meal – plump breast.

@ CD – wild turkeys sound like fairly challenging birds and I imagine are unattractive … love your description …

@ Karen – well it’s great you’re interested … we seem to have clubs for everything –but at least the records are there and the gene pool is kept …

@ Susan – I know … I thought it came from Turkey – so Mexico was a surprise. The Bourbon Red is handsome – except Steve of Out on the Prairie eats his!! …
Cold Turkey comes from America .. a variation on ‘to talk turkey’ … so talk straight and true and not go ‘cold turkey’ …

@ Holly – isn’t that lectern beautiful … I loved the photo. Yes had to end with a bit of food – always good for a comment or two … Gosh do they really block the pavements when they land … that’s quite intimidating …

@ Cathy – I have to say I’d love to see a flock of them near an open road – and have always wanted to see the Smoky Mountains … it’s amazing how animals/birds adapt to life …

@ Christine – yes I’m not sure how happy I’d be with flocks of wild turkeys around … and of course cause car accidents too – that’s not good …

@ Chicky – the Bourbon Red does look a fine specimen doesn’t it … oh gosh I never played FarmVille – but am glad this post brought back happy memories …

Thanks so much to you all – extra snippets, some things answered … I have, I have … those Roman turkeys come guinea fowl, the tarring of the feet and now ‘cold turkey’ … I learn from you –thank you … cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Very colourful birds! I don't remember this, but when I was a baby, my mother had a vegetable garden and kept chickens and she says she raised a turkey from an egg. I have the awful feeling my Dad may have eaten the birds, eventually...

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I'm scared to death of turkeys, I was attacked once as a child. That aside, the Bourbon Red is a real beauty! And I do love a turkey dinner, that attack makes it easier to eat them...
Have a lovely week,
Andrea

Robert Bennett said...

Another fun fact (unless I missed it), Turkeys were originally supposed to be the official bird of the US...not the Bald Eagle.

Sophie Duncan said...

I do like a nice bit of bronze turkey. :) I had not idea there were 43 breeds to choose from though!
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

FinnBadger said...

I am amazed how turkey is only really served at Thanksgiving here, but other countries at other times, too.

Phillip | T is for Teeth

cleemckenzie said...

I had no idea the turkey originally came from this side of the planet. I do remember that Franklin proposed it at the national bird for the US, but was voted down and we got the eagle instead. Now that history makes sense. Thanks, Hilary.

Keith's Ramblings said...

I've never given much thought to the Turkey, except at Christmas of course when I eat goose! Until reading this I thought the most popular breeds were Tesco and Sainsbury!

Another day in Amble Bay!

Vinodini Iyer said...

I've never eaten or cooked a full turkey. I often wonder how they manage to cook such a big bird. Your posts are always so informative.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Like Lee, I am glad that Benjamin Franklin was voted down for making the turkey the national bird and symbol. Any creature who drowns by looking up into the rain would make a terrible national symbol -- too accurate to some of our citizens says the ghost of Mark Twain! :-)

Jacqui Murray said...

The more I learn about turkeys, the less I want to eat them at Thanksgiving. Maybe a nice Cornish Game Hen instead.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Everyone loves turkey. We have a few wild flocks near us. I see them often if I'm driving at dawn or dusk.

Liz A. said...

I had wondered how they got the name. I didn't know they had been taken over so early historically. (Although, that's when the first voyages were happening, so I shouldn't be surprised.)

Lynn said...

They are such majestic birds, aren't they? I enjoyed this post, Hilary.

Joanne said...

Old Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the USA national bird. He was out voted. The bald eagle won.

Cozy in Texas said...

I'm with Elephant's Child, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to eat animals and poultry.
Ann

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue – I’m sure your family very sensibly ate those birds … we had chickens but not a turkey – I remember seeing my mother pluck the feathers …

@ Andrea – I can believe they’ve got nasty bites … I don’t like balloons … because they burst and there was a loud bang! Completely different – but a childhood anxiety. The Bourbon Red does look a pretty bird ... a roast turkey dinner is just brilliant isn’t it – doesn’t happen often enough!

@ Robert – yes turkeys were proposed as the official bird of the States, but the Bald Eagle was selected … Benjamin Franklin was out voted by Congress …

@ Sophie – a good roast is delicious isn’t it … and yes 43 breeds of turkeys …

@ Phillip – we only tend to have turkey at Christmas – occasionally it gets served up at other times as a roast … but there are legs, breasts etc available in our supermarkets now …

@ Lee – I was surprised to see where Turkeys came from originally … but makes sense when I think about the history – as you have realised too …

@ Keith – well if we had fewer for Christmas dinner I guess we’d go for a smaller bird but your goose is a real treat … yes lots of supermarket breeds aren’t there …

@ Vinodini – we all manage to roast them up at Christmas time … good timing is the order of the day … just glad you’ve enjoyed the postings – thank you ….

@ Roland – I think Benjamin Franklin didn’t make a good choice – thank fully he was voted down … and you have the Bald Eagle … not sure I understand the drowning by rain point … I’m probably being thick ..?

@ Jacqui – sorry about this re your Thanksgiving turkey – or maybe not now … I had to find out about Cornish Game Hens a while ago ... when I was posting something – oh yes ‘O’ two years ago …

@ Susan – well not quite everyone! The flocks flying around at dawn and dusk must be lovely to see …

@ Liz – ah well now you know – how the Turkey was named … its history is interesting … as is history …

@ Lynn – they are majestic animals … and I’m glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Joanne – yes ‘old Ben’ was outvoted … and you have the Bald Eagle …

@ Ann - thanks for your comment and I can understand not wanting to eat animals or birds ... I vary my meals across the choices - vegetarian, bird, animal and fish ... but humans need to eat something ... it's a difficult time -

Cheers to you all – thanks for visiting … Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

I think I remember reading somewhere before that they originated in Mexico and the Americas and were possibly quite revered - wasn't the god Quezatlcoatl (probably spelt wrong) portrayed with turkey feathers or something similar? Probably very wrong on that!

John Holton said...

There are stories of turkeys looking up at the sky while it's raining and drowning. I'm pretty sure that's a legend, though. Ben Franklin thought enough of the turkey that he suggested it as the official bird of the United States, but somehow the bald eagle won out...

Trudy said...

I join others in voicing that I'm glad the peacock was replaced on the dinner table!

I buy meat from a local farm. One time I was at the farm store and a turkey kept walking around my feet. He wasn't holding a picket sign or anything, but I couldn't bring myself to order a turkey from the farm that year.

Trudy @ Reel Focus
Food in Film: Turkey

Jo said...

I had no idea there were different breeds of turkey. I am sure learning a lot from you Hilary. Of course we have wild turkeys in North America which don't really look very edible any more. Too used to the ones we get from the stores with big fat breasts.

Jz said...

I've had turkeys try to out-race my car, much as a dog will, but that's about the extent of my personal turkey interaction. (Altho' I do have an old turkey caller in the closet of the guest bedroom ... which, upon second reading, sounds worse than it actually is...)

Courtney Turner said...

I used to think turkeys were not eaten in England until I saw a Dr. Who episode and the family was eating turkey for Christmas dinner. Then watching the Tudors, a series, Henry the 8th was eating a white peacock, which was shocking. I feel sad that my images of England are so shaped by tv but there it is!

Maui Jungalow

Betsy Brock said...

Benjamin Franklin wanted our country bird to be the turkey. Thankfully, the Bald Eagle was chosen...haha. I'm wondering if those that voted considered the fact that the country's bird could not be eaten. It just wouldn't be right! hahaha...

bookworm said...

Living in the Northeast United States, I am quite familiar with turkeys. We have wild turkeys everywhere in our state. I haven't ever eaten a wild one, but my husband and I, years ago, raised some bronze turkeys, which look much like the wild kind, and they were so (apologies to the vegetarians present) delicious. I enjoyed your post on some heritage breeds of our native birds. The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Fascinating history, but I like the taste of Mr.Turkey even more. :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I only eat fish and poultry and turkey is my favorite meat.

Kalpanaa M said...

Turkeys are fascinating birds and I loved reading your information rich post about them.

Unity #Lexicon of Leaving

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick – I’m sure they were revered by the Quetzalcoatls … but not sure it was the turkey as much as a feathered serpent! So good thinking …!

@ John – well thank you for clarifying that ‘tale’ about turkeys looking up the sky while it’s raining and then drowning … the Ben Franklin choice was vetoed … so now you have the eagle …

@ Trudy – looking at Courtney’s comment below I’m quite glad I didn’t search out the peacock story any more … But I do have to say if I saw a turkey at my feet I wouldn’t want to have one for my Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner …

@ Jo – well I’m teaching myself a lot … the wild ones don’t look so appetising do they … but a full breasted Turkey with the Christmas, or Thanksgiving trimmings are the best …

@ Jz – I imagine a flock of turkeys would race away against your car … trouble is they can go where they wish … your car only has the road! Now this turkey caller – I’m bemused by ??? and it’s in your guest bedroom … and it is ‘old’ …. stranger and stranger!?

@ Courtney – Ah well – live and learn by tv? I hadn’t heard of a tv programme with Henry VIII eating a white peacock … probably not stretching the rules of incredulity – I see it was a young peacock cooked, then inserted back into a feathered case to be brought to the table looking like a peacock should … Well I checked – 500 years later …

@ Betsy – well that would be a good thought wouldn’t it –having a national bird that could not be eaten … makes perfect sense… so they both happily lived on …

@ Bookworm – it seems wild turkeys are all over the States – I would think a wild one would be somewhat tough. Obviously the bronze turkeys made excellent eaters … for us humans that’s what counts …

@ Susan – good to see you … yes I enjoy turkey - it makes a delicious roast (for a lot of people!) …

@ Arleen – I eat all things in moderation … but not a lot of turkey except at Christmas time or other festive occasions … I love fish though …

@ Kalpanaa - glad you enjoyed the post ... there is a lot of information to the turkey - but then they've been around for 10 million years (there are fossil records to prove it) - they deserve a lot of history! (which I now note I didn't put in the post!)

Thanks everyone – well you’ve helped me sort out turkeys and now I just need to remember all the information! Cheers and we rock on to ‘U’ … Hilary

Darla M Sands said...

Great history! For decades I thought Benjamin Franklin lobbied that the turkey be the United States' national bird. I learned he only mentioned the idea in passing in one of his many correspondences. ~sigh~ Another fun myth dispelled, sort of like the unicorn. ~snicker~ Be well!

http://darlamsands.blogspot.com/

Birgit said...

I'm playing catch up! The mighty turkey! So that is how the bird was introduced to your fair land. I had to snicker about Henry the VIII since I always thought he would eat anything. They can be such ornery birds and I was chased by them more than once at my neighbours. They are good to eat and actually packed with zinc which helps with immunity and if you get a cold

Sharon M Himsl said...

Glad the Americas could contribute something in return :) Have never heard of dipping the turkey's feet in tar for walking. I hope it wasn't painful.

"Female Scientists Before Our Time"
Shells–Tales–Sails


Rhonda Albom said...

In New Zealand, it is suggested not to eat turkeys in months containing the letter "R". The reasoning is that during these months, turkeys eat crickets and this causes the meat to be bitter.

Sarah Zama said...

Oh, is that why they are called turckies? I've always wondered abotu that :-)

@JazzFeathers
The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

Michelle Wallace said...

The Checkers stores here in S.A. have been selling the Turducken which is a combination of turkey, duck and chicken - especially towards the Christmas season.

Chrys Fey said...

The Bourbon Red Turkey is handsome in that picture. The turkey does have an interesting history. It was almost the National Bird for the US!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Darla - lovely to see .. and I'm glad my post has clarified your thoughts re the national bird of the USA ... the Bald Eagle is pretty special ... and you're not regularly eating the national bird!

@ Birgit - good to see you and thanks for coming by. Yes apparently that is how the turkey got over here ... I must say they must have been grateful to easily promote the turkey via Henry VIII - he must have eaten tons of food?!

I've never been chased or surrounded by turkeys - in fact not by hens either ... but interesting to know about the zinc element ... we are eating them more often here ...

@ Sharon - well sometimes! I'm glad it was the turkey - it's a great meat.

The poultry's feet were always coated in tar - as a protection when they were walked to market ... so was helpful ...

@ Rhonda - that's interesting about not eating turkeys in the R months and how their cricket diet affects their taste ...

@ Sarah - yes .. how the turkey got his name ...

@ Michelle - that will certainly grab some consumers ... I have deboned turkeys in my time (40 years ago!) and stuffed with a chicken and some other stuffing-like ingredients - it makes a good party dish ...

@ Chrys - the Bourbon Red does look a handsome bird ... and an interesting history and cultural history too ...

Thanks so much - some 'turkey' clarified for you all ... cheers Hilary