13 Annotations

First Reading

Grahamt  •  Link

A large bird like a turkey would have been roasted, probably on a spit over a fire. As long as cooked all through, any surface bacteria would have been killed by the heat. Modern poultry is dodgy because intensive rearing methods mean that salmonella gets into the muscle of the living bird, so can survive if the bird is not thoroughly cooked. Sam's turkeys would have been free range.
However, meat served with dirty hands would have been a danger. I think it is fair to assume that (adult) people's immune systems back then would have coped better with a certain amount of infected food than ours would, after all many people survived smallpox without vaccinations. It is likely though that child mortality rates were high because an immature immune system could not cope with the daily bombardment of air, water and food borne pathogens.

David Quidnunc  •  Link


From the 4 Feb 1659/60 page:

luigi on Thu 6 Feb 2003, 1:34 am
Turkeys are native to the Americas and were domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. They were taken to Spain in 1500, and introduced from there to England in 1524. Barnaby George wrote one of the first books on Livestock (Four Books on Husbandry) in 1578 where he remarks that

David Quidnunc  •  Link


Jane Birch refuses to kill a Turkey on 4 February 1659/60.

Headless turkeys and chickens can run around after the beheading and live for quite a while, depending on how the head is chopped off. A portion of the brain that controls breathing and other body functions sometimes remains after the rest of the bird's head is chopped off. In one famous case early in the 20th century, the chicken "Mike" lived for years and was put on exhibit, according to a web page that Todd Bernhardt linked to in a note on the 4 Feb 1659/60 page (alas, that website has since become defunct).

More from the 4 February 1659/60 page:

Pauline on Thu 6 Feb 2003, 6:10 pm
You know, Mrs. Pepys may have killed those chickens by wringing their necks. Any takers?

Grahamt on Fri 7 Feb 2003, 9:27 am
I worked on a chicken farm in my teens and never used an axe to kill a chicken.

David Quidnunc  •  Link


Again, from the 4 February 1659/60 page:

Derek on Thu 6 Feb 2003, 1:32 pm
... [I]t

David Quidnunc  •  Link

From the 7 January 1659/60 page:

language hat on Thu 9 Jan 2003, 9:56 pm | Link
... [I]f anybody

David Quidnunc  •  Link


From the 1 January 1659/60 page:

Mary on Thu 2 Jan 2003, 7:09 pm | Link
Turkeys were introduced into England about 90 years before the date of this first entry in the diary. In later years they became popular enough for large flocks of them to be raised in East Anglia. These flocks were herded, on foot, to London in the weeks before Christmas, their feet being protected in small, leather boots that were made expressly for the purpose.

From the 7 January 1659/60 page:

Susanna on Wed 8 Jan 2003, 8:45 pm
The English had been raising and eating turkey for decades before 1660. Indeed, one of London

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: The defunctness of Mike the Headless Chicken's Web site.

Yeesh! Say it ain't so, David. We can't let sleeping chickens lie ... or die, for that matter. Here's the correct/updated link:

Remember, "Mike's spirit is celebrated the third weekend in May.
(May 14th & 15th 2004) in Fruita, Colorado. Don't miss it!"

Australian Susan  •  Link

Australian Turkeys
Australia has wild turkeys, which are common in the suburbia where I live - they look like a miniature version of domesticated ones, but larger than hens. When Australia was colonised, settlers were pleased to find what looked like a substitute for the usual Christmas turkey, but bush turkeys are tough and chewy - lean and wiry birds - and the familiar English domestic turkey was introduced very successfully. Although many people eat sea food at Christmas time in Queensland, many, many people roast turkeys (despite the heat).

Pedro.  •  Link

Turkeys (from L&M Companion).

"Turkeys were becoming increasingly popular and were driven to London from Norfolk and Suffolk in droves of a thousand or more."

Terry F  •  Link

"Turkey" in still more languages

In Arabic it is called "Ethiopian bird" and in Greek it is gallopoula which means "French girl" or "French bird." -- that, much of the above and images of turkeys at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turk…

caroline a burrows  •  Link

Greetings, I am desperate for a depiction(print, painting etc) of a flock of (shod) turkeys being herded to market. Can anyone advise me ? Thank you

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

They are called "turkey" for a reason. The "helmeted guinea fowl" (Numida meleagris) from Madagascar was imported into Europe by, guess who, Turkish merchants. The Spanish in the New World discovered a bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that tasted like turkey, only better, and they exported it into Europe. Where it replaced that African bird. (In France it's call Dinde (D'Inde)! And in Turkey it's called Hindi.)
source: New York Times, October 29, 2013.

We have a similar situation with New World muscadine grapes, which were named after a variety of French grapes.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… [annotations]

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.