Gobble, gobble, gobble.

No, the English don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but they do have their own breeds of turkeys. At left, a handsome Norfolk black, and on the right, a Cambridge bronze, tho I’m afraid to me they just look like turkeys. Did you know male turkeys are called stags?
Turkeys came to England from Spain in the sixteenth century, and the aristocracy, accustomed to dining off large birds such as swans, cranes, and peacocks, gobbled them up. Turkeys were bred in East Anglia, and each year in late August thousands were herded to London to be sold–now that’s a mind-boggling thought, herding a bunch of turkeys, not the cleverest of birds–and they were fitted with little leather boots to protect their feet (aaaaw). Pepys mentions eating turkey around Christmas time, and the Mayflower pilgrims took some East Anglian turkeys with them to the New World where they were bred with the native species. Goose was still the traditional Christmas dish in the regency (along with capons, roast beef, or rabbit depending upon the family income) but was gradually phased out by the turkey–one reason for the immense popularity of goose is that since it’s an acquatic bird it has a large fat layer, much prized then for cooking and for use as a preservative.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Janet

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5 Responses to Gobble, gobble, gobble.

  1. Thanks for the turkey info, Janet! It almost makes me not want to eat one today–almost. 🙂

    Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone! One thing I’m very thankful for today is having a great group of fellow Regency-ers to commune with here.

  2. Elena Greene says:

    I’ve been helping my m-i-l prepare the feast and there are so many appetizers I wonder if we’ll make it to the turkey…

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Elena, wearing a loose waistband today 🙂

  3. Cara King says:

    Gobble gobble gobble…

    Cara

  4. Cara King says:

    Well, my Thanksgiving was good, though it started badly — after spending four hours in an emergency room waiting room while a friend was checked out (she’s fine), I got to go to my relatives, and lots of them bought my book. Very nice. And many others had already bought it, and had me autograph their copies. Also lovely.

    And I learned that my mother has read my book! Not that she mentioned it directly. Or told me what she thought of it. Hmmm…. Some of us, I fear, are from emotionally laconic families. No, Todd, I’m not saying my family doesn’t talk a lot — they talk constantly! — but we rarely talk about personal stuff, like “hey, I really liked your book.” 🙂

    Cara

  5. Elena Greene says:

    Well, Cara, don’t know if it’s any comfort, but after reading my last book, my mother’s comment was: “I left it on the table next to the sofa.”

    Of course this leaves all sorts of room for interpretation, but I’m trying not to overanalyze it.

    Elena, too chicken to solicit opinions from family members

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