Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my Thanksgiving post two years ago:

• The menu for the first Thanksgiving dinner included fish, venison, corn, squash, berries, and corn bread. There's no record that turkey was on the table.

• Benjamin Franklin, advocating the turkey as the national bird:

"The Turkey is in comparison a much ore respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

• In this morning's Sun-Times, QT spoils your Thanksgiving dinner:

Relish trays contain aflatoxins, benzaldehyde, quercetin glycosides and hydrogen peroxide.
Roast turkey contains heterocyclic amines.
Bread stuffing contains benzo(a)pyrene, furfural and sihydrazines.
Cranberry sauce contains furan derivatives.
Apple pie contains acetaldehyde.
Antacids contain aluminum.
Happy Thanksgiving!

QT also notes that as travelers clog airports today, security personnel are reportedly getting less modest when it comes to "patting down" passengers. "And remember," QT says, "even as you are being patted down, that, even at that moment, the Transportation Security Administration is allowing uninspected cargo onto your airplane."

Seriously, safe travels, all.

Update: from AHD at


The bird Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the turkey and familiar as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast, is a native of the New World. It acquired the name of an Old World country as a result of two different mistakes. The name turkey, or turkey cock, was originally applied to an African bird now known as the guinea fowl (Numida meleagris), which at one time was believed to have originated in Turkey. When European settlers first saw the American turkey, they identified it with the guinea fowl and gave it the name turkey. There are many other examples of this sort of transference of old names to newly encountered species by speakers moving into a new area. In North America, for instance, the large thrush called a robin (Turdus migratorius) is an entirely different bird from the robin of the Old World (Erithacus rubecula), but they both have a breast of a reddish-orange color.

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