Other than our enthusiasm for roasting them and presenting them as a centrepiece for our celebratory family table, we have a strange way of expressing our love for this unfortunate bird.
Linguistically, anyway, we are universally keen to dissociate ourselves from the thing—and as if that weren’t enough, we use its name as an insult, too. If you are English-speaking, North America’s indigenous Meleagris gallopavo is named for the distant, foreign country of Turkey, which was once mistakenly thought to be a key stop on a trade route by which the species arrived on the continent.
Meanwhile, the Turks also considered turkey to be a foreigner—and so gave it the name hindi, meaning Indian. Which is probably where the French get their name for the thing, too, as dinde is a contraction of d’inde—from India.
Wherever you come from, if you are the cook and botch things up, overcooking it until dry and fibrous—well, that makes you a turkey, too.
Please show the bird some dignity at last, and don’t be one.
Our recipes section is filled with holiday recipes, including this classic from our Editor in Chief Jacob Richler.