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TURKEY

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TURKEY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:54 pm

• turkey •


Pronunciation: têr-kee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A large domestic food bird with a fan tail and a head and neck covered with a mass of bare skin, a favorite main course in the US on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 2. A stupid person. 3. A very bad piece of performance art, such as a play, movie, or symphony. 4. (Oldish) Nothing, not a word, diddledy, squat: "She never said turkey to me about it."

Notes: Animals often get bad raps from the words we use: squirrelly, hare-brained, catty, piggy—all reflect human prejudices about animals that we interact with. A widely held fallacy is that turkeys look up at the sky with their beaks open during rainstorms and drown as a result. This misconception led to the conclusion that turkeys are stupid birds, hence the second and third meanings of today's holiday word.

In Play: We have now examined the word for the sound turkeys make, gobble, and the concept it contributed to, gobbledygook; it is time to look at the name of the animal itself. In addition to stupidity, turkeys are associated with plain speaking, as in "to talk turkey", but also in doing anything plainly, as in "to quit smoking cold turkey". For more about these phrases, read Dr. Goodword's Language Blog.

Word History: When Europeans began consuming exotic birds, they had problems keeping up with where they came from. These ancestors initially thought that guinea fowl came from Turkey, so they first called guinea fowl turkey-hens and turkey-cocks. Once the origin of the guinea fowl was correctly ascertained, the names turkey-hen and turkey-cock were left over, so they were transferred to what we call turkeys today. Thus, turkey comes from the name of the land of the Turk via two mistakes. But the English were not the only ones to mistake the origin of turkeys. Other Europeans came to the conclusion that turkeys came from India, hence the Russian name indushka, Polish indyk, and French dinde from coq d'Inde "bird of India". In Portuguese a turkey is called a peru!
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:27 am

In J Frank Dobie's book On the Open Range, he presents the wild turkey as a very wily bird. He quotes an Indian ( his term) as saying if a deer catches sight of him frozen, the deer will say "Maybeso it's an Indian, but maybe an old stump, and it will continue eating." if a wild turkey sees the same thing, he will say, "Maybeso it's an Indian and maybeso and old stump," but it will run off. Many in our area hunt turkeys and have developed competition over wild turkey calls. Dobie also tells of a hunter calling turkeys who call in a wildcat onto his back!
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:22 am

J. Frank Dobie does not get the recognition he deserves. I have read most of his books. He is famed as a regional author and he is not a novelist. Pure Texana is his theme. After a teaching stint at Cambridge University in England, his book "A Texan in England" still had a Texas drawl in it. Dobie is a hometown hero to me. The Dobie ranch was just a few miles south of our more modest spread. He had left these parts for the world of academia before I got a chance to meet him.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby MTC » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:54 am

WILD TURKEYS

One of the things I enjoyed most as a boy, more than ice cream, more than model trains, was sitting by my grandfather's side and listening raptly as he spooned up tales from his own youth in the piney Georgia woods. There were tales about fishing in creeks, wading through swamps, about hunting deer, and close calls with rattlesnakes, but the stories which I importuned him to tell again were about hunting wild turkeys. They were a prize as elusive as they were delicious, not to be confused with tame, domestic birds, he stressed. The wild turkey's senses were acute. They could see you through dense woods, and pick up even the slightest movement or sound at a distance. Hunting this cagey bird was a true challenge to a hunter's skills, especially if he used a .22 caliber Winchester rifle as grandfather did. It was important to be accurate with a small bore rifle. The birds had to be hit squarely or they would escape, he warned. Using a shotgun was like cheating in his sportsman's mind. "Did you ever get one, grampa?" I asked. "Sometimes yes, sometimes no," he levelled. After the hunt Grandfather always took his feathered bounty back to the farmhouse for a feast. I never tired of his tales no matter how many times I heard them. They were as rich as country gravy, as tasty as wild turkey.
Last edited by MTC on Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:23 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:11 pm

Remember:
You are what you eat.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Slava » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:31 pm

Gobble, Gobble!
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Re: TURKEY

Postby damoge » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:30 pm

I think we would do well to remember that the wild turkey is a very smart bird, as explained in the previous posts, and that it is by OUR intervention that it is now the stupid bird that needs so much care to just exist.
It seems to me a pointed analogy of our interventions in so many other areas.
Everything works out, one way or another
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:33 pm

A cliche by now, but Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as the national bird instead of the Eagle.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:21 pm

damoge wrote:I think we would do well to remember that the wild turkey is a very smart bird, as explained in the previous posts, and that it is by OUR intervention that it is now the stupid bird that needs so much care to just exist.
It seems to me a pointed analogy of our interventions in so many other areas.



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Welcome back.......
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Re: TURKEY

Postby damoge » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:26 pm

thanks for noticing me!

Yes, Franklin, and I think Jefferson, wanted the turkey. However, I have found out very recently (I'm embarassed to say) that the bald eagle is actually more closely related to the vulture, and is not a true eagle.
So maybe those who chose knew what they were doing...
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Slava » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:21 pm

Continuing the Turkey stories, once upon a time I was driving down a narrow road in Freedom, NH and came across a wild turkey, standing in the middle of the road. Not wishing to run the critter over, I stopped. Shortly afterward, a little brown puff ball flew across the road, left to right. Once it had landed, the big one walked off the road. Who knew they could serve as crossing guards?
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:34 am

I can remember as a child when turkeys wandered about my grandparents' farm along with the chickens and guinea fowl. Thanksgivings at my grandparents' home we feasted on turkey which, at that time, consisted solely of dark meat. I've had wild turkey in Pennsylvania and they tastemuch like my recollection of the turkeys that ran wild around my grandparents' house.

We have bred all the flavor out of turkey, just as we have bred all the flavor out of pheasant, beef, and chicken.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:25 am

When the Pilgrims came to America, I believe they were already acquainted with turkeys in England. I can also testify to the intelligence of wild turkeys. I guess I am spoiled by the blandness of modern life because the taste of wild turkey is, well, a little too wild for me. MTC, my granny had a single shot, .22 caliber Winchester rifle. Granny’s goal was one bullet for each bird or rabbit. She never missed. When Granny killed a wild turkey she would immediately, after gutting and plucking, put it in a large pan of water in which she put a generous amount of baking soda. A half-day in that brew took some of the "wild" out of the taste. She also did this with wild rabbits. Rabbits were daily fare at my granny's, but wild turkeys were not so frequent. During the depression, refugees from the dust bowl in north Texas and Oklahoma came to our little Eden on the Nueces and they just about ate all the wild animals. This included deer, rabbits, turkeys, 'possums, armadillos, javelina (Spanish for peccary, a native animal like a pig) and feral pigs (wild pigs from European stock). Armadillos were called "Hoover Hogs" because of the depression. We did not ordinarily eat 'possums, armadillos or javelinas. Armadillo is not so bad in a pinch.
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Re: TURKEY

Postby call_copse » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:25 am

Speaking of turkey, caught this video the other day.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... NTCMP=SRCH

Do you really deep fry whole turkeys in the States? It looks crazy to me but I do enjoy trying different techniques. Sadly wild turkey does not exist over in the UK except as I believe some kind of imported liquor (I prefer the odd Scotch personally).
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Re: TURKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:32 pm

We, for some reason, have a "plague" of wild turkeys
here in the state. Must have been a good year despite
the drought, for them. They wander all over the place.
I got stopped in traffic while people were snapping
camera phone pics of them on Tuesday this week - a flock
of about 28-32 by my count.
There were five, one Tom and 4 hens in my back yard
two weeks ago. I have a friend who went west, to the
panhandle and shot 18 of them, taking them to
the Lakota reservation as gifts. He killed a 19th hitting
it with the auto on the way home.
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