The True History Of The Christmas Turkey Dinner

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Most people assume that the traditional turkey dinner began with the first Thanksgiving; but as it turns out, that story was manufactured in the late 1850s or early 1860s and has no basis in fact. The true Origins of the Christmas Turkey Dinner with All the Trimmings date to the Puritan period of the US colonies (circa 1630s) and a little known story first recounted by Ben Franklin. Legend has it that the American Indians, in an effort to discourage the white settlers from encroaching on their hunting grounds, told the settlers that only certain indigenous ground fowl were edible, among them the small wild quails, chickens and pheasants which ranged free in the wilderness around the early settlements. They were notoriously hard to catch, and much smaller than their contemporary descendents, so it took a lot of them to make a decent meal. The Indians figured the settlers would get so fed up with trying to catch the measly little things that they would pull up stakes and move elsewhere.

The plan almost worked until a clever tanner named Barnabus Quigley devised a simple but effective snare. Essentially it was a leather bag with a drawstring set in a pit. When the bird fell into the bag, its own weight would cause the drawstring to cinch tight and keep the bird trapped. As it was a live trap, the settlers began to set aside some of their catch for breeding purposes. This established the first domesticated poultry farm in the colonies.

One day, Quigley was checking his trap line when he came across a strange sight. A large, ugly bird with a bald head and a grotesque bag-like wattle hanging at its throat was caught in one of his snares. The bird was so large only its body was...

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