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130901.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:10 pm Reply with quote

Information in the above posts sourced from and

130904.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:36 pm Reply with quote

Turkeys have great hearing skills but no ears, apparently.

130929.  Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:39 pm Reply with quote

Excellent stuff, Jenny.


130963.  Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:17 am Reply with quote

It's like the great QI turkey elf came and put a huge pile of presents under our interesting tree in the middle of the night.

131012.  Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:48 am Reply with quote

A quick turkey fact gleaned from perusal of a sachet of cat food ...

It was noted on the show that only in English do we name the animal after Turkey. This seems to be correct, with the possible exception of Italian - they call the animal tacchino. I'm not certain of the etymology of this word, but it looks as if it could be related to Turkey.

Many other countries name it for India in some way - eg the French dinde and the Turkish hindi.

The Hindi for the creature is Peru pakshi - Peru bird. This too was mentioned on the show, but what wasn't mentioned is that the Portuguese for it is also peru. (This is what I gleaned from the cat food, which carries flavour identification in several languages.)

More than you could ever want to know about what different languages call this creature at:

135918.  Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:06 am Reply with quote

Hi Jenny and Suze. The web link you list was my main source for the name stuff on the show. Here's the research note in full. if nothing else, it gives you some idea of how much Stephen has to juggle...


Turkey boots
From the late 16th century, English turkeys walked the hundred miles from Norfolk to Leadenhall market in London each year. The journey would take three months and the birds wore special leather boots to protect their feet. Geese wouldn't allow themselves to be shod (hence the phrase 'to shoe a goose' for something difficult) so had their feet dipped in tar and covered with sand. Pigs wore knitted boots with leather soles, and blacksmiths nailed metal plates on to the hooves of cattle. A flock of 1,000 turkeys could be managed by 2 drovers carrying long wands of willow or hazel with red cloth tied on the ends. Turkeys move at about one mile an hour - quicker than geese - but they insisted on roosting at night, so the whole journey took longer. Traffic jams were caused by the vast flocks entering London from East Anglia, Norfolk, and Suffolk in the weeks before Christmas. In America, turkey drives rivalled some of the cattle drives: there are records of an 1863 drive from Iowa to Denver (600 miles) and flocks of 20,000 were common.

Ironically, despite being native to North America, the domesticated turkeys that graced the tables of the Pilgrim Father's first Thanksgiving dinner in 1620 had travelled out with them on the Mayflower from England.

Turkeys first reached Europe in the 1520s, brought back from their native Mexico to Spain and distributed throughout the Mediterranean by Turkish merchants. They were a hit, and quickly became a favourite food for the richer classes. As early as 1585, turkey had become a Christmas tradition in England. Then, as now, the flat, fertile plains of Norfolk, grew the best birds and breeders set to work to produce a heavier breasted, more docile version of the wild bird. The Norfolk Black and the White Holland were both English breeds re-introduced to America, and most domestic turkey now consumed in the USA derives from these two breeds..

Origins of the word ‘turkey’
Turkeys have nothing to do with Turkey. They were called 'Turkie cocks' in England because the traders who supplied them were Turkish. (Maize, also originally from Mexico, was once called 'turkie corn' for the same reason). There is something odd about how turkeys tend to be named after other countries, particularly India. No one knows why the turkey was thought to be Indian but it might be because the Spanish returned with it from the 'Indies' (as America was called).

The French word for a turkey, dinde, is a corruption of d’Inde, ‘from India’. Polish (indyk), Hebrew (Tarngol Hodu ‘Indian fowl’), Dutch (Kalkoen ‘Calcutta hen’) and the Austrians (who call a turkey an Indian) take a similar line – as do the Turks, who call a turkey a hindi. In Hindi, though, a turkey is Peru Pakshi (‘Peru bird’). Turkeys were brought to India by the Portuguese, who also call a turkey a peru. The Japanese and the Arabs have other ideas: a Japanese turkey is karakuncho ('Tang Dynasty Country – i.e. Chinese – Bird') and an Arabic one is Deek Rumi ('Roman or Romanian fowl') or, sometimes, Ethiopian Bird. Coming full circle, the Greeks call a turkey galapoula, 'French bird'.

The Native American word for turkey was furkee according to the Pilgrim fathers, although no one seems to know which Algonquin language it comes from. In Choctaw, rather amusingly, the word is fakit , based on the sound the bird makes, although this has been replaced by akank chaaha ('tall chicken') to avoid embarrassment. Even science seemed unsure what to call the turkey. The Latin Meleagris gallopavo translates literally as the 'guinea-fowl chicken-peacock', a bit of linguistic spread-betting. A male turkey is called a stag, gobbler or tom. The female is always a hen.Turkeys are the largest creatures able to give birth without sex: the offspring of such virgin births are male. Most languages write the turkey''s gobble as glu glu or kruk, kruk. In Hebrew, however, they go mekarkerim.

It turns out that komodo dragons are also able to give birth parthenogenetically, so a retraction may be in order, as they can weigh up to 200lbs.,,2-2513322,00.html

136627.  Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:29 pm Reply with quote

My favorite version

137059.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:40 am Reply with quote

Last New Year (ie 2005/6), chez Menocchio we managed a 10 bird roast:

Snipe-Teal-Pigeon-Partridge-Mallard-Pheasant-Guinea Fowl-Chicken-Goose-Turkey

It was time consuming, but delicious. I can't think of a snappy contraction, though.

137080.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:03 pm Reply with quote

What about the pork?!

137112.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:58 pm Reply with quote

Pork isn't, technically, from a bird.


137116.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:01 pm Reply with quote


137125.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:13 pm Reply with quote

When pigs fly???

137252.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:05 pm Reply with quote

Right well, back onto Turkeys...

Older male turkeys are preferred for eating, since the young male meat is rather stringly. By contrast, young female turkeys are preferred because the older female ones have tougher meat.

137440.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:55 am Reply with quote

137608.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:07 am Reply with quote

'I've feasted late an' I've feasted early -
Nae scrimpit meals for the bubbly-jock -
But I jalouse they've begunked me fairly,
A weird to dree has the bubbly-jock.

I've fattened sae that my sides are hingin',
A wee thing mair an' I couldna walk;
Noo a voice o' doom in my lug is ringin';
"When'll we kill the bubbly-jock?"

Sae that's the wey o' it! Yuletide's comin'.
Haverin' hypocrites, hear them talk -
Peace an' guidwill to men an' women -
But thraw the neck o' the bubbly-jock!

I've fleyed the hens an' the jucks richt rudely,
Frichtit the grumphie frae his brock,
Ruled the roost like a king gey proodly -
A dooncome this for the bubbly-jock!

I've garred the tinkler's weans rin greetin',
Gi'ed the gangrels mony a shock:
Watch-dougs wouldna be killed for eatin' -
Why the de'il should a bubbly-jock?

Man's ingratitude! Noo they've catched me!
Gi'e me smeddum to thole this shock!
Waesome day when my mither hatched me!
Here's fareweel to the bubbly-jock!'

'The Bubbly-jock'

by W. D. Cocker.


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