Thanksgiving facts you should know

By Carl Ronnander, Assistant Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Dominic Yates speaks for the entire student body when he says, “I’d say people are really looking forward to Thanksgiving, the break, and especially to having a feast with their families.” Thanksgiving is indeed around the corner, and it’s a pretty simple holiday: you see your relatives, watch football, and eat more than you should. It’s our least complicated holiday, which is what makes it so American and therefore so great. But there are plenty of interesting, lesser-known facts about Thanksgiving, and since it’s my job to inform you of the unknown, here are some lesser-known, yet intriguing, facts about Thanksgiving. LET’S TALK TURKEY.

Thanksgiving invented TV dinners. By this I mean the first TV dinners ever created were born because a worker at food company Swanson misjudged the number of turkeys they would sell on Thanksgiving Week in 1953. No big deal – after all, the estimation was only off by 26 tons (that’s 52,000 pounds of turkey, which comes out to about 4,720 individual birds). What was the company supposed to do with all that extra meat?
That question was answered by Swanson executive Gerry Thomas, who came up with the idea to slice up the birds and repackage the meat in small aluminum trays (microwaves weren’t around then, so ovens were used instead). Throw in cornbread dressing, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes, and you have the first ever easy-bake recreation of the Pilgrims’ famous exploitation of the Native Americans, courtesy of a goofy Thanksgiving mistake.
The person that most helped make Thanksgiving a national holiday, also wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Sarah Josepha Hale is, in fact, credited with writing the famous nursery rhyme featuring Mary and a baby sheep, as well as many books and hundreds of other poems. But along with this, Hale is also known for obsessively working to make Thanksgiving a holiday.
She wrote letter after letter to then-president Abraham Lincoln, along with many articles and editorials in different magazines, advocating the creation of a national day to “put aside sectional feelings and local incidents.” Lincoln eventually complied, declaring on October 3, 1863, that the last Thursday of November was to be a “day of Thanksgiving and praise.” Hale was still alive, at 74, to see her dream be realized.
Turkeys, and especially domesticated Thanksgiving turkeys, do have heart attacks. We think of heart attacks as strictly a human thing, the result of too much gravy on our mashed potatoes. But disobedient circulatory systems are, in fact, not limited to the human race, as a flock of turkeys demonstrated one day when the U.S. Air Force was doing test runs and created a sonic boom, causing dozens of turkeys to have heart attacks and die.
Although it is clearly possible for wild turkeys to simply die of fright, it is much more common for domesticated turkeys to have heart attacks because of their poor health. In particular, Thanksgiving turkeys are big sufferers, as they are bred to extremely disproportionate sizes, to the point that their arteries get clogged and they die of heart attacks. And heart attacks are not the only health ailment that domesticated turkeys suffer – collapsed lungs, swollen joints, and crippled feet are all common ailments of the domesticated Thanksgiving turkey. Please note that I am in no way telling you to not eat turkey, I’m definitely eating turkey, and you can make your own decisions.
It should be noted that not all domesticated turkeys suffer from this – there are plenty good farms out there that raise healthy turkeys. But there is no reason to be ignorant of the fact that many delicious turkeys are wasted because of premature deaths on turkey farms. Now I wouldn’t know how to fix this without losing too much of the turkeys’ size – I’m not a scientist. I’m just a messenger. Now, with that little bit of seriousness out of the way, go ahead and enjoy your Thanksgiving!
The following sources were used for this article: