Facts You Probably don’t Need

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  • Thanksgiving is the reason for TV dinners! In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey (260 tons) that a salesman told them they should package it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes — and the first TV dinner was born!
  • Presidential pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president of the U.S. pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey pardon ceremony started with President Truman in 1947. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who has flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park's Thanksgiving Day parade!
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
  • Three towns in the U.S. take their name from the traditional Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363); and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).
  •  Americans eat 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving.
  •  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first meal in space after walking on the moon was foil packets with roasted turkey.
  •  The heaviest turkey on record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, weighs 86 pounds.
  •  Female turkeys (called hens) do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble.
  •  The average turkey for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds.
  •  Campbell's soup created green bean casserole for an annual cookbook 50 years ago. It now sells $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup.
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