As we approach Thanksgiving (aka Turkey Day), you might be wondering why turkeys are called turkeys. There's a lot of confusion, but this all-American bird is not from the country of Turkey. The birds weren't known outside the Americas until Spanish explorers brought some from the New World to Spain in the early 1500s.
are a few explanations on how Turkeys were named. In the days when
geography was a little sketchy, Europeans sometimes referred to any
exotic import as Turkey (i.e. Turkey Bird, Turkey rug, Turkey bag).
story is that Europeans already ate guinea fowl they imported to Europe
by Turkish merchants. So when the first American settlers were
presented with a similar large bird for Thanksgiving it was giving the
generic name Turkey. Others say that the name turkey came from Native
Americans who called the birds firkee, which sounds like turkey, and is
the sound turkeys make when they are afraid --"turk, turk, turk."
people may have thought turkeys, peacocks, and guinea fowl were all
alike. A Latin and Greek translation of the bird's scientific name, Meleagris gallopavo, means “guinea fowl chicken peacock.”
Turkey is the accepted name for this native American bird in the United
States, now that I’ve researched a little of their history I can’t help
but think The American Ornithological Union (AOU) should give them a real name. These poor birds have been a walking drumstick since the first humans laid eyes on them.
This Thanksgiving, my family and I will be dining on the lesser known Tofurky.
(Keep your jokes to yourself. We had it last Thanksgiving and it was
wonderful!) So what is the origin of the name Tofurky (Tofu Turkey)? The
English word "tofu" comes from the Japanese tōfu (豆腐), which itself
derives from the Chinese dòufu (豆腐 or 荳腐). Although in both languages
the characters together translate as "bean curd," the literal meaning of
the individual characters is "bean" (豆) and "curdled" (腐). Yum!