The main dish at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 was the Turkey. Although wild turkey still roam the United States today, it was probably the Pilgrims who brought tame turkeys to the new world. Through the years, Thanksgiving dinners has always been about the Turkey.
Traditionally raising Turkeys on the farm was a seasonal adventure due to the need of temperature control for the bird’s survival. In th mid-1920s, moderation of facility with a protective environment made it possible to raise Turkeys year round.
The United States in the number one producer of Turkeys, raising 7.1 pounds valuing at $4.4 billion. Minnesota is the leading state in Turkey production.
Did you ever wonder why the breast and wings of chickens and turkeys have white meat while the legs and thighs are dark? The explanation is a physiological one involving the function of muscles, which gives some insight into humans as well as animals. The dark coloration is not due to the amount of blood in muscles but rather to a specific muscle type and it’s ability to store oxygen.
Other Main Dishes
If you are like me the Turkey is not exactly your meat of choice. While the Turkey is the animal protein of choice for the first Thanksgiving, it does not have to be your choice. Ranchers across the United States produce a wide range of nutrient-rich animal proteins. My personal favorite is Certified Angus Beef but you may enjoy a roasted pork loin or lamp chops.
As you sit down around the table with your family and friends to enjoy feast of choice and count their blessings, remember to say a extra thank you for the farm families that turn natural resources into food and products every household uses daily.