Friday 23 November 2012

leftovers or turkey in the straw

Did you know that the turkey got its name in English, at least, because early explorers and settlers in its native New World range mistook it for an already known African complement?
Not realising that the birds were distinct species (albeit, they do look very much alike, like mistaking a pheasant for a quail or crocodile for an alligator), they named it with standing convention for the guinea fowl—a so-called turkey since the birds came to Europe through the ports of Ottoman Turkey. Similarly, in the Turkish language, the American turkey is called Hindi, based on the idea that the exotic poultry comes from the Hindu Kush mountains, sticking to Christopher Columbus’ original mission to reach India by sailing westward but not knowing there were unexpected lands in between.  Also, in French, the bird is called Dinde—that is, a contraction of poule d'Inde.