Who Introduced Turkey at Christmas?

Who Introduced Turkey at Christmas

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It feels like we’ve been eating dry turkey for Christmas forever, doesn’t it? But, if you were wondering who introduced turkey at Christmas, you might be surprised to learn that the bird didn’t even ‘exist’ in Britain until 1526. That’s when they were first brought back from the initial discoveries of the Americas.

Who Introduced Turkey at Christmas?

The tradition of stuffing your face full of turkey at Christmas is said to be down to King Henry VIII. He was quite a gluttonous royal, by all accounts. Not just content with devouring queen after queen (metaphorically, obviously), he was also apparently a massive fan of food. Because of that, we have him to thank for dry – I mean, delicious – turkey meat on Christmas Day every year.

And, you know, for about two weeks afterwards because there are so many leftovers…

Actually, while we’re on that subject, I’ve got an article that you might find handy: 101 Things To Do With Leftover Cooked Turkey.

Anyway, let’s get back to the turkey-topic in hand.

Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen

When Did We Start Eating Turkey for Christmas?

It was in the mid-to-later parts of the 17th century that turkey became the cooked meat of choice for the festive occasion, although the goose was still a Christmas Day favourite. It actually reportedly took around four hundred years from King Henry VIII eating the bird on Christmas Day to it becoming a tradition for virtually every British home.

What Was Traditionally Eaten at Christmas Before Turkey?

Turkey wasn’t the first bird to be plucked n’ stuffed for Christmas Day dinner throughout history. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Christmas turkey was actually Christmas goose, capon, or boar’s head for poorer families.

If you had the good fortune of owning a fortune, you’d skip the goose and capon and opt for swan or peacock instead. You might even have the whole boar.

It seems strange to think of eating a peacock for Christmas Day dinner, but rich folks will do what rich folks will do, right?

What Was Traditionally Eaten at Christmas Before Turkey

Why Do We Eat Turkey at Christmas?

We eat turkey at Christmas, quite simply, because the other meats were too expensive to give up. Yes, you could slaughter and carve up a cow to have beef for Christmas Day, but you’d be sacrificing milk for that. The same can be said for chickens: you’d be sacrificing a constant supply of eggs for what was essentially just one meal.

That’s why people started culling the other bird on the farm – the turkey. Traditionally the larger birds weren’t kept for milk or eggs, so farmers wouldn’t be sacrificing a stream of income or bartering items by eating them.

It does make sense when you think about it.

Who Introduced Turkey at Christmas

How Many Turkeys Are Eaten at Christmas in the UK?

According to a YouGov poll in 2020/2021, only around half (54%) of all UK households will add turkey to their Christmas Day dinner menu.

In case you were wondering, the next most popular meat to have on Christmas Day was chicken. Around 10% of UK household will have it for dinner.

Beef sits in third place with 7%.

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Will you have turkey for Christmas dinner?

By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!