DURAND, Mich. –– Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of America's history, and aside from the many side dishes and preferences of white or dark turkey meat, there's a much larger feast of information available for you to celebrate the holiday with. This November, look deeper into a rich American tradition and check out these strange facts to know about turkey and Thanksgiving.
1. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days.
Although it wasn't termed Thanksgiving Day when the pilgrims celebrated their arrival to the new world, the first Turkey Day feast, if you will, was much longer than the holiday we know today. Lasting for three days, the first Thanksgiving entailed feasting on a variety of food, playing games, dancing, and shooting guns.
2. The Detroit Lions started Thanksgiving Day football games.
If one of your favorite traditions is watching football on Thanksgiving Day while the turkey cooks, you can thank the Detroit Lions. In 1934, the Detroit Lions hosted the first Thanksgiving Day football game against the Chicago Bears. The Lions lost 19–16, and while that may not be surprising in the context of today, in the 30s times were different. Going into the first Thanksgiving Day football game, the Lions held a 10–1 record, second place to the 11–0 Bears. Although 1934 constituted the first professional football game played on Thanksgiving Day, it wouldn't be until 1956 when the Lions versed the Green Bay Packers that the first Turkey Day game was broadcasted live on TV.
3. Thank Thanksgiving for TV dinners.
If you've ever wondered where TV dinners came from, you can look to Swanson, a food delivery company still operating today. After Thanksgiving Day in 1953, the company was left with 260 tons of frozen turkey. Swanson's solution was to package portions of the turkey with potatoes, peas, and cornbread in an aluminum tray, making a dinner for one that could be frozen and heated when ready to eat.
4. Americans eat an astounding 690 millions pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving.
Consuming 690 million pounds of turkey sounds unreal, but when you consider how many helpings your family members eat on Thanksgiving Day and the amount of other families who do the same across our nation, it's a probably number. Six-hundred-ninety pounds of turkey is about the same weight as 172,500 cars.
5. Eating turkey will not make you sleepy.
Everyone seems to have bought into the myth that the tryptophan in turkey makes a person sleepy when they consume it, hence the after-meal nap on Thanksgiving Day. However, there's far from enough tryptophan in turkey to make you pass out after a few slices of breast meat or a turkey leg. In fact, what causes you to feel sleepy is the amount of carbohydrates you consume from side dishes like potatoes. If you want to stay awake after your Thanksgiving meal, eat more turkey and eat fewer carbs.
6. Turkeys can weigh more than you assume they do.
Most turkeys weigh between 11 and 24 pounds, but there are instances when these Thanksgiving birds can weigh as much as a large dog. To date, the largest turkey to be served on Thanksgiving weighed 86 pounds. Imagine fitting something that size in your oven.
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