We had a great Thanksgiving meal. The turkey brining really made a difference and I’ll definitely do it next year. One thing we changed at the last minute was to put the ham in the oven and the turkey in a roaster. This reduced the cooking time by about ninety minutes which we had not planned on. So we had to keep the turkey from drying out while we had did the side dish mad dash. All the potatoes turned out very well especially the mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. And for the record true yams are botanically distinct from the sweet potato, though in the U.S. the names are commonly interchanged. Apologies for not getting around to eating the sugar free apple pie. Both gravies from the turkey and the ham turned out very tasty as well. Good times.
I found some interesting facts from the National Turkey Federation.
- This year the average American will consume 17 pounds of turkey most of it around Thanksgiving time.
- Turkey production has increased nearly 300 percent since 1970 – the total value of turkey processors’ production in 2007 reached $14 billion and U.S. growers raised 273 million turkeys in 2008.
Top 10 Turkey Producing States in 2008 (in order)
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Turkeys can fly
Wild turkeys feed on the ground, which might explain the myth of their flightlessness. They can in fact soar for short bursts at up to 55 mph. But their tendency to stay on or near the ground contributed to successful hunting that brought the wild population of turkeys down to about 30,000 in the 1930s. There are now 7 million of them.
- Dark meat is rare because …
Meat is muscle. And muscle is fed by blood. In the blood is myoglobin, which binds with oxygen and stores it in muscles for when it’s needed. Myoglobin also makes meat dark. Muscles that are used most, like those in drumsticks (legs), have more myoglobin. Domestic turkeys are too fat to fly, so they don’t use their breast muscles much, which is why breast meat is white. The breast of a wild turkey is entirely different, darker (and far tastier for those who are game).
- Turkey eggs wouldn’t sell
Few humans would disagree that a good chuckle every now and again feels good. Well, monkeys, dogs, fish and other animials get a kick out of life as well. Chickens are champion egg-producers. Turkeys, not so good. Turkey eggs are bigger, so their nests tie up coop space. And farmers have learned that they make more raising turkeys for meat rather than eggs. Oh, and some turkeys are protective of their eggs, making the gathering more challenging.
- It’s not the turkey that makes you sleepy
Turkey contains a natural chemical called tryptophan, which we need to build proteins for our bodies. Indeed, tryptophan is also related to the production of serotonin, which helps us sleep. But all meat has about the same amount of tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has a lot more. What really makes you sleepier after a Thanksgiving meal compared to other meals is eating too many carbohydrates, from potatoes to pies. Alcohol can contribute, too.
- Dinosaurs had wishbones, too
The wishbone, called a furcula, is the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. It’s where a bird’s flying muscles hook up. It’s elastic and great for flapping. Turns out T. Rex and the Velociraptor had wishbones, too. While they didn’t fly, this fairly recent discovery is one of the many bits of evidence that shows birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Not forgotten yet.
Ever since the Christian forefathers set sail for the new world from Delftshaven and Leyden in 1620 and landed in what was then a desolate wilderness, they found a way to survive and eventually thrive in this big rich land. These Dutch Christian pilgrims in the midst of a terrible winter with very little shelter found a way to give thanks to each other, to their freedom, and to their god. This allows us to remind ourselves that the richness of this country is not born out of in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere – in the cities, towns, roads, farms, factories, homes, hospitals, schools, that spread everywhere over that wilderness. We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of freemen governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
Today we celebrate a holiday that progressives have been unsuccessful in destroying but continue to try in ever increasing gusto. FDR tried twice starting in 1939 to alter Thanksgiving making its date a political issue designed to create disharmony among the citizenry only to have them unite two years later and undo his experimental mischievous tinkering. The electorate has always overcome the machinations of the political establishment. Just like earlier in the previous century, today the people will see that the politicians are ultimately tinkering with establishments that have served us well for hundreds of years. Self-determination, thriftiness, entrepreneurial spirit have served to make our economy strong despite the interference of our government. Today Thanksgiving is one the last remaining holidays that is not politically correct yet has withstood the test of flailing economies, unpopular wars, social upheaval, anti-religious sentiment to survive 390 years of celebration and remembrance.
Keep the traditions alive especially the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving and don’t dry out the turkey.
From Livestrong … http://www.livestrong.com/article/25967-diabeticfriendly-thanksgiving-tips/
If poorly managed, diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and kidney damage. Those with type 2 diabetes can control blood sugar, and ultimately reduce the risk of developing serious complications by following a healthful diet, exercising regularly and keeping body weight in check. This may be particularly difficult over the holidays, especially a food-focused holiday such as Thanksgiving.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Don’t save calories and carbohydrates for one large meal (such as an afternoon or evening Thanksgiving meal). Your blood sugar will go crazy. A diabetic body cannot handle and properly utilize a large amount of carbohydrates at one sitting. Eat regular-sized, sensible meals on Thanksgiving day. Be sure to exercise. Go for a brisk walk and check your blood sugar. Think of it as a regular day, with an enjoyable party planned for later in the day. Focus on family and the reason for the season instead of just the food. Be a good host or guest and visit with others; do not linger in the kitchen or near the buffet table. Also, never sit down to a Thanksgiving meal ravenous. You will set yourself up for a disaster. Try to plan what you will eat in advance, if possible.
Watch Your Portions
Eat only what you really want to eat and pass up the rest. If you do not absolutely love a certain dish, do not eat it just to please the host. Fill up your plate with healthier foods, such as white-meat turkey with a small amount of gravy, herbed green beans and a scoop of whipped potatoes. Bring your own healthful dish to pass, such as assorted raw veggies with low-calorie dip or homemade cranberry sauce (make it with a low-calorie sweetener versus sugar). Avoid carbohydrate-loaded bombs as they will have the most effect on the body. Let your host know ahead of time that you are on a special diet. If you are familiar with the menu, it will be easier to maneuver around obstacles.
Make Trade-offs and Compromises
When it comes to a holiday like Thanksgiving, there are usually plenty of options in terms of what to eat. You do not have to deny yourself but you should attempt to make better choices. Your body and your blood sugar will thank you. For example, alcohol provides lots of empty calories. Instead of having two glasses of hard liquor, enjoy a cup or two of champagne made with low-calorie punch. Enjoy crudités with low-calorie dip, grilled veggies, and other low-carbohydrate hors d’oeuvres. Trade in candied yams for a baked one, and decrease or eliminate the amount of stuffing you consume. Fill your plate with veggies and whole grains (if available). Enjoy one glass of wine with your meal and choose dessert wisely. Trade in pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for a sliver of pumpkin or sweet potato pie with a dollop of low-calorie whipped topping.
Somehow the Christmas Music has made its way off the virtual shelf, been dusted off, and is now being blasted throughout the house. Way too early this year, if you ask me (which you didn’t). I am a big believer in holiday Thanksgiving as it embodies all the virtues a holiday should. Family being the most important of all those. Thanksgiving is increasingly becoming a forgotten holiday, overshadowed by the commercialism of Christmas and Halloween. I suppose it is hard to make lots of money selling only turkeys. Perhaps in this era of political correctness, pilgrims venturing into the new world is not very acceptable. Too many victims after all.
Although as a counter-point it is snowing like mad outside right now and has been for a while. The piles of white joy are growing ever-larger around the house. The white capped mountains are invisible in this blanketed fog of winter white. Maybe that makes its alright somehow.
I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Looks promising.
The Food Lab: Turkey Brining Basics