There are wild turkeys in my backyard. They come down from their mountain roost and often appear in autumn. Guess no one told them about their being the traditional holiday menu centerpiece. I have counted as many as seventeen at one time gobble-gobbling, scratching the ground, and leaving their fertilizer where nobody wants it. But when the boys strut their stuff, their bright red wattles and blue faces are something to behold. And don’t let anybody tell you they can’t fly. Once, when I didn’t know they were pecking very close to my back door, I let my dog out and they flew to the highest branches they could get to in the Ponderosa Pines.
They get around in other ways too–
Turkey on a Cruise
Turkeys are native to North America, so before this continent was explored by Europeans, no one in Madrid ever experience the glories of giblet gravy. So when did the galliformes finally arrive overseas?
Although turkeys do fly, to cross the Atlantic they needed a bit of help. Enter European explorers. Someone, possibly Christopher Columbus, brought several turkeys back home to show Ferdinand and Isabella. (It is more likely, however, that another explorer, maybe even a Franciscan friar interested in this wonder of God’s creation carried the first bird on board.) At first, the turkey was more prized for its feathers, but someone must have used their crystal ball to see far into the future and know how important succulent smoked turkey legs would be to modern day Renaissance Festivals world wide. Or should I say Renaissance Fare?
More than Meats … Meets the Eye
Turkey feathers are beautiful. And they’re useful. Turkey feather blankets and robes were used at Pecos Pueblo (near Santa Fe, NM). Long, slender, and hollow, turkey bones were made into a type of flute. It is important to note that the turkeys’ domestication in the American continent came as early as 800 BC, and later its significance was increased as a religious ritual and ceremonial icon. Prehistoric people from the Mogollon (muggy-own) culture, AD 150 to about AD 1450, painted turkeys on Mimbres pottery (the collection of Mimbres pottery at Western NM University in Silver City is worth the visit—it is expansive! Plus, Silver City is renown for fine dining, AND for you hiking aficionados, there isn’t enough time in the day).
It’s What’s for Dinner
As you know, I love to cook Southwestern food, so when I wanted to learn how to roast a Spanish style turkey, I searched everywhere until I found a recipe and a chef who made me feel right at home (and I kinda wished I was at her home tasting the cilantro and garlic marinated bird).
And after the feast to work off extra calories, let’s dance! Think of it as just another way to move the bird along.
P.S. Did you see this? Warning. It’s pretty violent …