Okay, this one is just a bit of fun, but if you can’t do it at this time of year, then when can you? So here we go with some Christmas trivia that will impress pub quiz-setters throughout the land about some traditional Christmas Norfolk fare, or is it? The turkey. Have you ever thought that it was a strange name for a tasty, odd-looking fowl? Well, the etymology is quite interesting. In 1526, when these strange birds came into our diet here in the far west of the known world, people were unsure of their origin. We, in England, thought they were from somewhere north of the Med, kind of between Europe and Asia, hence the name Turkey. This logic was followed in France, where the people thought these weird creatures came from India, calling it, D’Inde. Both nations were wrong. Their origin being Mexico. Interestingly, both Mexico and Turkey play other roles in our English Christmas traditions, Poinsettias are from Mexico and Saint Nicholas was actually from a Turkish island, don’t think he had any red-nosed reindeer, though.
Keeping on the Turkey theme, and getting closer to home, Norfolk turkeys have always been famously the best in the UK and it was only about 200 years ago that flocks of them were transported every December from Norfolk to London for feasts. But how? Trains hadn’t yet become developed enough for carrying sufficient amounts of goods, there were ships, of course, but they were expensive, so they were walked to London. Can you imagine hundreds or even thousands of turkeys marching down the A11? This did cause a problem as turkeys had never before competed in any Olympic events and so were not used to walking hundreds of miles. They developed blisters on their feet. To solve this problem, the turkeys were given leather shoes to wear or had their feet dipped in tar, I kid you not. And of course, it not as it they got there in two hours; it used to take them five months.
Our Christmas party menu includes turkey, as I’m sure, does everyone else’s in the country. We included pigs in streaky-bacon blankets and winter vegetables. As an alternative, we are also offering roasted Norfolk pheasant, with a cranberry and red wine jus, or there is red bell pepper stuffed with chestnut risotto.