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Gobble gobble

Published November 19. 2011 09:01AM

Let's talk turkey. You know, that ugly bird that tastes delicious and is the centerpiece on our Thanksgiving tables?

While perusing the Internet for some facts about the turkey, I learned:

• A young turkey is called a poult. (Is that short for poultry?)

• A male turkey is a stag and a female is a hen (Harry, my Hunter Man, disagrees. He says a male turkey is a "Tom" or a gobbler. I'm going with Hunter Man.)

• The domestic turkey originates in Mexico and was brought over by explorers in the 1500s. (I wonder if it had a Green card?)

• Domesticated turkeys can't fly, but desperate wild turkeys can fly at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. (I'd be flying 155 mph if I thought someone was trying to make me the main course at Thanksgiving dinner!)

• The fleshy growth on a turkey's neck is called a wattle. (Put my picture next to a turkey and you'd think we were twins!)

• Male turkeys also have a fleshy appendage which hangs down from the nose called a snood. (Snood. Who comes up with these words? What's wrong with "that fleshy thing?")

• When a stag is upset or feeling amorous, his wattle and snood become bright red. (I can vouch for this personally. One attempted to make love to me once. I think he saw my wattle and mistook me for the biggest hen he ever saw! No lie!)

• Roast turkey was the first meal eaten on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. (Turkey? Really? That was the best they could come up with? First meal on the moon should have at least rated lobster tail, don't you think?)

• The gizzard is the part of a bird's stomach containing tiny stones that helps grind food for digestion. (Some people eat this? Seriously? How desperate are they?)

• Turkeys can be found in every U.S. state except Alaska. (OK. Maybe they're not as stupid as I thought.)

• A turkey can drown if he looks up when it is raining. (I take that back. Yes, they are.)

• Turkeys have heart attacks. Allegedly, when the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead. (I don't know why, but that picture in my head sends me into the giggles. I can just see a flock of turkeys meandering along pecking for food and along comes a F-18, breaks the sound barrier and 20-30 turkeys clutch their chests and cry, "It's the big one, Tom, the big one!" and flop over dead.)

• A wild turkey's field of vision is about 270 degrees. (I wonder if LasiK would give them the whole 360 degrees?)

• Turkeys have great hearing skills but no ears. (Amazing! Harry's got ears and has lousy hearing skills. Go figure!)

• Only male turkeys gobble. A "tom's" gobble can be heard a mile away. Each spring, male turkeys try to "befriend" as many females as possible. (Turkey Facebook!) They puff up their bodies and spread their pretty tail feathers. They grunt, make a "gobble gobble sound" and strut about shaking their feathers. (I've seen that on "Dancing with the Stars." They called that the Turkey Trot.)

• The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed in at 86 pounds, about the size of a large German Shepherd. (Man, can you imagine all that delicious white meat? Talk about leftovers!)

• Mature turkeys have 3,500 or so feathers. The Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers on their arrows. (That left more for the Comanches.)

• More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and 525 million pounds of turkey are eaten during Thanksgiving. (And that's just at my house!)

• North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. (I've got nothin'. Just the fact, Jack.)

• Benjamin Franklin, the great American statesman, thought the turkey was so American it should have been chosen as our national symbol rather than the eagle. (I'm glad old Ben didn't get his way on this one. I can't quite picture a turkey on the tail side of a quarter.)

Here are the top five stupid questions the Butterball hot line has received over the years.

• Is it OK to thaw my turkey in the bathtub while bathing my kids? (Hasn't she ever seen the ring around the bathtub after they got out?)

• Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine? (OK. Why is that one stupid? As long as she doesn't run it through the spin cycle, it should be good!)

• Can I use my oven's self-cleaning cycle to speed up the cooking process? (Wasn't that in a Looney Tune cartoon one time?)

• If I cut my turkey with a chain saw, will the oil affect the taste? (She could add a little vinegar and call it turkey salad.)

• Can I take my frozen turkey into my sauna to thaw it faster? (See now, I think that's a legitimate question. OK. Here's my sick sense of humor again. You and your husband go into the sauna. He dozes off. You get out and put a frozen turkey in your place and when he wakes up and sees the turkey he'll think you were in so long you shrunk! Maybe I should get a job with Looney Tunes ...)

• A disappointed woman called Butterball wondering why her turkey had no breast meat. It turned out she had cooked it upside-down. (But first she brined it in her washing machine.)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to count your blessings, one of which, you're not a turkey.

Gobble Gobble!

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