Why do we eat turkey at Thanksgiving?

Alexander Hamilton once said, “On Thanksgiving Day, no American citizen can abstain from turkeys.” Hamilton’s proclamation has become a reality, and according to the National Federation of Turkey, about 45 to 46 million turkeys are consumed every Thanksgiving.

Ashley Rose Young, a historian at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, told CNBC that Hamilton is known to be a believer in turkey. “It was all part of a bigger idea to bring national sensitivity to the United States by consuming the same type of food,” he told The News with Shepard Smith in an interview. “So Turkey, being a bird native and native to North America, has really distinguished the American table, for example, from the British table.”

Rose Young explained that historians do not believe that turkeys were eaten during the “first Thanksgiving” of 1621 and that there were probably meat, geese and ducks at the table. He said it became a huge myth preached by literature and author Sarah Hale, who, more than 240 years later, encouraged decades to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. It was declared a holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

“[Hale] he thought the pilgrims and the Wampanoag probably consumed turkeys, although we now know that this is not historically accurate. But his vision was huge and it really spread the word about turkey to people outside of New England and other parts of the United States, ”he said.

The real answer to why we consume turkeys, including popular Thanksgiving dishes like pumpkins and blueberries, Rose Young says is largely due to migration from New England. “Turkey has become the national dish we eat on Thanksgiving, through a decades-long process of New England regional food consumed during traditional harvest festivals that travels through the United States as an American living on the East Coast and in the United States. South over time it moved west. “

The Smithsonian historian added that the popularity of the bird has spread for more pragmatic reasons. He was native to North America for the first time and already lived on people’s qualities, so he was comfortable. Second, unlike chicken, turkeys between 15 and 20 pounds can feed many people.

Mike Geller – who owns Mike’s Organic, a Connecticut-based farm-to-home delivery service and organic market – echoed Rose Young’s emotions. He noted, however, that 2020 is one of the first years when consumers are asking for smaller turkeys because of the coronavirus epidemic.

“Turkey is a tradition at Thanksgiving, and this year, even when gatherings are significantly different and shrunk, it’s interesting to see that people are still looking for turkeys, albeit for the most part in the smallest possible size,” Geller explained. “We usually sell the same number of small turkeys as the largest turkeys; however, this year we sold ten times as many puppies at Mike’s Organic as the big turkeys.”