Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wild Turkeys

I was sitting at my work this morning when a familiar sound penetrated my consciousness: a turkey gobbling! sure enough, there were 11 turkeys in our front yard, happily foraging for food.

We arrived here on California's Central Coast only a week ago, but one of our neighbors had already told me about the turkeys. One hen has a bad leg and limps, but she should be fine so long as there is enough food.

Turkeys are the only indigenous food animal the American continent has contributed to our foodways. They were first domesticated in Mexico long before contact with Columbus, who brought some back to Europe on his second trip. They became a sensation, the darlings of the aristocrats. Sabine Eiche chronicles the turkey's history in Europe in her book, "Presenting the Turkey: The Fabulous Story of a Flamboyant and Flavourful Bird." The book is filled with wonderful art reproductions that illustrate this remarkable history.

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