We're talking turkey today at Pun Salad.
Talking turkey? Where did that come from?
Michael Quinion is
I've found three stories about this, none of them wholly convincing. We do know that it's a US term. It's first recorded in 1824, but is probably much older; one suggestion is that it goes back as far as colonial times. What the explanations have in common is real turkeys.
But if you want, doing your best Cliff Clavin imitation,
to dazzle your co-eaters with little-known facts about turkey,
trot over to the University of Illinois Extension
Turkey Facts page.
Turkeys' heads change colors when they become excited.Connect-the-dots types will want to continue reading down the page, where we find:
Turkeys can see in color.Ah. Well, of course. What would be the point of having your head change color if another turkey couldn't tell it was happening? Duh!
The link is via Carl Schaad, by the way, and he's skeptical of this "fact":
Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.Carl observes:
I have mental image of thousands of turkeys just dropping like dominos as Air Force jets fly overhead. The farmer, hearing the death-crys of thousands of turkeys, rushes out to see his beloved birds all lying dead. Being the compassionate farmer he is, he then orders autopsies for all of the animals to find out what happened.
"It's bad Jim. They all died - of heart attacks. Something scared these birds to death."
He has an alternate theory.
Do not, however, start rambling about tryptophan, at least not until
Myth of Tryptophan.
And even helpers need help sometimes.
From McSweeney's: transcripts from the Butterball Help-Line
Q: A caller just said she forgot to baste every 10 minutes. I advised her to serve the turkey anyway. Was I correct?
A: Not at all. The turkey is merely the vehicle for the basting. In a recent poll, nine out of 10 people would rather sit down at the table and suck on the end of a baster full of buttery juices than gnaw at some dry old wing. Bad call.
Actually, it's not the "Butterball Help-Line" but the "Butterball Turkey
Talk-Line" (1-800-BUTTERBALL). For our vast audience
of cooks and fryers: a collection of gastronomic helplines
is right here.
Yes, that last item contained (arguably) a pun. Sorry.
Finally, if you're in New Hampshire for the holiday, a small legal tip:
you'll want to forego shooting the robot turkeys.