Above / Naturalist, ornithologist and painter John James Audubon (1785-1851) depicting a wild American turkey.
(Wikimedia Commons Photo)

For some reason, more than previous years, PN’s inbox has received numerous press releases promoting the best way to “talk turkey” while surviving the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Some ideas have been light-hearted; others not so much.

For many years, PN has been providing notes, tidbits of information, if you will, to share with the curious about this special American holiday that welcomes everyone to observe it on the fourth Thursday of November. So here we go again. Cheers to safe travels, gathering with family and friends, and turkey talk!

Positively Naperville’s 2018 Thanksgiving Guide

According to legend and lore, Ben Franklin favored the turkey as the national bird compared to the bald eagle, preferred by Thomas Jefferson. In a letter written by Franklin in 1784 to his daughter, Sally, he wrote, “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character […] in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.”

Furthermore, myth has it that the “Tom Turkey” was given its name by Franklin. When the turkey lost the national ranking to the bald eagle by one vote, Franklin nicknamed the male turkey after Thomas Jefferson—or so the story goes.

Many families are grateful the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is the biggest food item purchased all year. Few meals are more memorable than the Thanksgiving feast, so for the sake of abundance always plan on one pound of raw turkey for each guest. That way, you’ll have plenty of turkey for dinner; plus, plenty of leftovers. Also be mindful that most roasting pans and conventional ovens cannot handle more than a 30-pound turkey.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life were “thank you,” that would be enough.

–Meister Eckhart, German Philosopher (1260-1328)

Refresher notes from days of Pilgrim dress-up

Thanksgiving is a feast of a tradition that dates back to 1621 after Pilgrims had landed here, seeking freedom to worship as they pleased. Time was devoted by early colonists to count their blessings in Plymouth, sharing a day of giving thanks with the Wampanoag Indians, grateful for the harvest and the preceding year.

Stories suggest the celebratory meal that began in New England before the American Revolution was quickly followed throughout the nation after independence in 1776.

When George Washington was president, he proclaimed America’s first national Thanksgiving, though many questioned his constitutional authority to enact it.

Then there was Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who also was a 19th-century magazine editor who campaigned to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. After engaging readers in her editorials and a voluminous letter-writing initiative to public officials in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was inspired and he called upon every American, North and South, to celebrate Thanksgiving “with one heart and one voice.” 

Then in 1863, President Lincoln made it an official holiday with a proclamation by putting the special occasion on the calendar the last Thursday of November. Thanksgiving was commemorated on the last Thursday until President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday in 1939, eager to stimulate retail sales, as the story goes. When that idea was met with intense criticism, the fourth Thursday in November was selected in 1942 and Thanksgiving has been on the fourth Thursday ever since.

For 2018, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Nov. 22, the earliest “fourth Thursday” it can be. Next year Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 28, 2019, the latest date it can be.

Meson Sabika opens its doors to all on Thanksgiving

A time to be thankful…

In appreciation of all individuals with special needs of any type, Meson Sabika again is opening its spacious home, located at 1025 Aurora Ave. in Naperville, for complimentary turkey dinners with all the trimmings.

Seating for nearly 2,000 guests has been reserved and filled—sold out, if you will— for a couple weeks now.

Throughout the year, the generous folks at Meson Sabika host benefits and other special events that make a difference in the community.

For more information, visit www.mesonsabika.com.

Enjoy a post Turkey Trot pint at Quigley’s

Quigley’s Irish Pub in downtown Naperville, 43 E. Jefferson, will be open for beverages only from 8-11AM Thanksgiving (morning only) so patrons can cheer for participants in the Noon Lions Club annual Turkey Trot 5K.

For last-minute availability to run in The Noon Lions Club Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning, click here where they promote “Run fast, eat later, no penalty.”

Thanksgiving dinner is served at local restaurants…

If you don’t feel like cooking this Thanksgiving Day, discover traditional turkey dinners served around town.

Rosebud in downtown Naperville will be open  11AM to 7PM, serving its regular menu and turkey dinner, too.

La Sorella di Francesca in downtown Naperville will be open noon to 7PM with a special Thanksgiving Day menu.

Sullivan’s Steakhous in downtown Naperville will be open noon to 8PM. Sullivan’s ill be serving a Thanksgiving Day Menu in addition to their signature steaks. (Bar menu is not be available on Thanksgiving Day.).

Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Naperville will be open from 11AM to 8PM and is accepting reservations by phone for the special occasion at (630) 848-2255.  A limited menu will also be available for the entire day outside of the Thanksgiving meal.

CityGate Grille in CityGate Centre will be offering a 5-course meal from 1PM-5PM on Thursday, Nov. 22.

The five-course menu is offered as a sit-down traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

CityGate Grille’s holiday dinners are popular, so seats go quickly. The dinner is $47 for adults and $23 for children 6 to 12, under 5 are free, plus tax and gratuity. RSVP to CityGate Grille at (630) 718-1010. CityGate Grille is located at 2020 Calamos Court.

For other possibilities, visit www.dinenaperville.com.

The craneberry origin

Wikimedia Commons Photo

Cranberries are synonymous with Thanksgiving turkey. Their tart juice is a great cocktail mixer. They’re America’s original superfruit and when heated with sugar, makes great jam.

Settlers to Massachusetts learned of cranberries from Indian friends who taught them their practical uses. Not only are they good to eat, but the Indians used them for medicinal purposes and to dye clothes.

The Pilgrims named them craneberries, because their small pink spring flowers resembled the top feathers on a crane. It evolved into cranberry, as we know it in the American language today.

Cranberries don’t grow in water, but in bogs on vines, which are often flooded for harvesting. They like cooler temperate weather and are cultivated in northerly climates including Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin.

On the road with a HO-KA Turkey story

One Thanksgiving morning while driving to Thanksgiving dinner, a guy on the radio was hosting a Q & A with Robert Kauffman, owner of the Ho-Ka Turkey Farm, located in Waterman, Illinois.

On the subject of turkey stupidity, the radio host asked, “Will a turkey look up when it rains and drown?”

According to Kauffman, believe it or not, otherwise intelligent people actually believe that if a turkey looks up in the rain it will drown.

“However, we raise thousands of turkeys outside,” Kauffman said. “And we’ve never lost one to drowning in the rain.”

Kauffman should know. Kauffman raises 70,000 turkeys annually at Ho-Ka Turkey farm in DeKalb County, the largest turkey farm in Illinois.

In 1933, Robert’s father, Howard, started the farm with a flock of 300 turkeys. He came up with the name “Ho-Ka” by using the first two letters of his first and last names.

Today the Ho-Ka Turkey Farm is among the last remaining independent family-owned-and-operated turkey farms in the country.

The Ho-Ka way of raising turkeys is why Naperville’s independently-owned market, Casey’s Foods is one of the local enterprises where folks can order fresh Ho-Ka turkeys in advance for the season’s holidays.

Be prepared with the fresh HO-KA turkey available at Casey’s Foods!

Be grateful for grins and groans on Turkey Day!

If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?  Their age.

When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving? In the dictionary.

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?  The outside.

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?  Plymouth Rock.

Above / Neighbors rock on Whispering Hills for the many ways they decorate their yard for different holidays.

Why was the turkey asked to leave the church sanctuary?  Because of his FOWL language.

Can a turkey jump higher than the Moser Tower?  Yes. The Moser Tower can’t jump.

Why are pilgrims pants always falling down? Their belts are on their hats.

Finally… Just before Thanksgiving, a pet parrot known to use foul words was admonished by his owner. In fact, she got so annoyed that she stuffed the parrot into the freezer.

A few minutes later, after calming down, she let the parrot out of the freezer.

And the parrot politely asked, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Celebrate safely!