The Yucatecan origin of turkey

Turkey is a product from Mexico, the Genus Meleagris gallpavo, also known as wild turkey and the Ocellated turkey, both come from the Yucatán Peninsula.

It’s quite difficult to picture Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without a turkey at the center of the table.

In Mexico, we call it guajolote or pavo, and in England and the U.S., it’s called turkey because they thought the bird actually came from Turkey.

Yet turkey is a product from Mexico, the Genus Meleagris gallpavo, also known as wild turkey and the Meleagris ocellata, known as Ocellated turkey, both come from the Yucatán Peninsula.

Hernán Cortés himself took this specimen to Spain in the sixteenth century, where it was unknown and by 1530, there were turkeys in England, France, Italy, and many other European countries.

In Europe, they sometimes sacrificed and ate peacocks, but after the turkey arrived, they preferred to eat turkey as the meat was more abundant, and the flavor was better.

The Aztecs called turkey “huexolotl”, and one of the most traditional recipes is to cook it with mole.

Now, it is cooked during the Thanksgiving and Christmas, not only in Mexico but all over the world.



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