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Prairie Fare: Try Some Turkey Day Trivia

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service food and nutrition specialist Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service food and nutrition specialist
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How much turkey do you eat every year?

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

As I noticed an advertisement for a Thanksgiving buffet at a local restaurant, I was tempted. Who can resist golden roasted turkey with stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and rich gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, assorted salads, breads and pumpkin pie?

The menu looked traditional and delicious, plus other people would be doing all the shopping, preparation and cleanup. Then I thought about the day after Thanksgiving. You can’t fill to-go boxes with leftovers at a buffet. Most people are especially thankful for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Try these trivia questions based on information from the National Turkey Federation:

1. Which president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday? a. George Washington b. Thomas Jefferson c. Abraham Lincoln d. Franklin Roosevelt

2. About how many turkeys were consumed in the U.S. on Thanksgiving in 2011? a. 87 million b. 46 million c. 23 million d. 10 million

3. Which of these is true? a. Dark turkey meat and white turkey have the same number of calories. b. Dark turkey meat has fewer calories than white turkey meat. c. Dark turkey meat has more calories than white turkey meat. d. No one has ever calculated the amount of calories in turkey meat.

4. About how many pounds of turkey does the average person consume per year? a. 16 pounds b. 20 pounds c. 25 pounds d. 30 pounds

5. To what minimum internal temperature should a turkey be cooked, as measured with a food thermometer? a. 155 F b. 165 F c. 170 F d. 180 F

6. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), how many days does it take to thaw a 15-pound turkey in your refrigerator? a. 1 day b. 2 days c. 3 days d. 4 days

7. For safety, within how many days should you consume leftover turkey, according to the USDA? a. 7 days b. 6 days c. 4 days d. 2 days


(1.) c. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, while Roosevelt moved the date forward a week.

(2.) b. In 2011, an estimated 46 million turkeys were consumed at Thanksgiving.

(3.) c. Dark meat has more calories and makes up about 30 percent of the weight of a turkey. Dark meat usually has a richer flavor as a result of its higher fat content.

(4.) a. The average person consumes about 16 pounds of turkey a year.

(5.) b. Turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Previously, the recommendation was 180 F.

(6.) c. On average, allow about 24 hours to thaw each 5 pounds of turkey.

(7.) c. Be sure your refrigerator maintains food at 40 F or below. Leftover turkey is best used within four days, or it can be frozen in meal-sized containers.

Homemade dressing usually is more flavorful than stuffing out of a box, and it’s not as difficult to make as you might think. Cooking the stuffing in a casserole is considered safer than stuffing a turkey. If you choose to stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before roasting. A moist-type stuffing is safer to use than a dry stuffing because moist heat kills bacteria more readily.

Here is recipe from the Oregon Family Nutrition Program for a Thanksgiving staple that is made in a novel place: a frying pan on the stove or an electric fry pan. Use whole-wheat bread for the fiber advantage.

Old Fashioned Dressing

4 Tbsp. margarine or butter

2 c. celery, diced

1 c. onion, chopped

8 c. dried bread cubes (using whole-wheat bread or a mixture of white and wheat bread)

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped or dried

1/4 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1 tsp. ground sage

3/4 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. black pepper

3 c. chicken broth

Toast bread, then cut into small cubes. Set aside for later use. Melt margarine or butter in a medium-sized fry pan. Add celery and onion; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add parsley, mushrooms (if desired), seasoning and broth. Cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and add the toasted bread cubes. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

The recipe makes 10 servings. Each serving has 140 calories, 6 grams (g) of fat, 17 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of fiber, 4 g of protein and 210 milligrams of sodium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication – Nov. 8, 2012

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
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