But just how much do you know about the holiday set aside for stuffing your face and watching football?
These are a few facts collected from sources like the National Turkey Federation, The History Channel at www.history.com and the U.S. Census Bureau that will give you an edge the next time anyone asks for some Thanksgiving trivia.
DID YOU KNOW:
• According to www.history.com, historians aren’t completely certain about the full bounty, but it’s safe to say the pilgrims weren’t gobbling up pumpkin pie or playing with their mashed potatoes. However, the only two items that historians know for sure were on the menu are venison and wild fowl, which are mentioned in primary sources.
• The pilgrims didn’t use forks, The History Channel site adds. They ate with spoons, knives and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food. Salt would have been on the table at the harvest feast and people would have sprinkled it on their food. Pepper, however, was something they used for cooking but wasn’t available on the table.
• President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 and in 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday to its current fourth Thursday of November date, according to the National Turkey Federation.
• Many people report drowsiness after eating Thanksgiving dinner. The National Turkey Federation says turkey often receives the blame, but adds recent studies suggest the carbohydrate-rich meal could cause sleepiness by increasing the number of tryptophans in the brain.
• The Census Bureau says the forecast for U.S. cranberry production for 2009 is 709 million pounds, with Wisconsin expecting to lead the nation with 400 million pounds.
• Major sweet potato producing states, including North Carolina, produced a total of 1.8 billion pounds of the popular Thanksgiving side dish in 2008, according to the Census Bureau.
• When Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin sat down to eat their first meal on the moon, their foil food packets contained roasted turkey and all the trimmings, according to the National Turkey Foundation.
• The turkey foundation also reports turkey is listed among the top 10 foods for your eyes because it is rich in zinc. Plus, the B-vitamin niacin protects against cataracts.
• There were 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states in 2008, with Illinois leading the country at 496 million pounds, according to the Census Bureau.
• The Census Bureau also states there are three places in the United States named for Thanksgiving’s No. 1 course: Turkey, Texas; Turkey Creek, LA; and Turkey, NC.
• Only tom turkeys gobble, according to the National Turkey Federation. Hen turkeys make a clicking noise. Domesticated turkeys cannot fly while wild turkeys can fly short distances up to 55 miles per hour and run 20 miles per hour.
• The Census Bureau says the preliminary estimate for the number of turkeys produced in Minnesota in 2009 is 45.5 million. The Gopher State leads the nation in turkey production followed by North Carolina with an expected 37.5 million, Arkansas with 28 million, Missouri at 21 million, Virginia with 16.4 million and California expected to come in around 15 million. Those six states together account for probably two-thirds of the country’s total turkey production this year.