A Christmas Tale: Origin of Turkey Dinner

Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Well … yes! It is THE (flightless) bird – turkey!

Ever wondered how turkey came about as a traditional food during Christmas time? A big, red-crested, and dark-feathered fowl on every dining table across the country?

When I put it this way, I’m sure the idea itself sound absolutely absurd- BUT! That is exactly what happened in the 20th century across England, then in the United States.

So here we go! This holiday season, let’s recount the tale of how turkeys went from just a bird that’s only half good at flying, to the people’s choice of Christmas dinner!

It all started with one British man

The story starts 400 years ago, in the 16th century. William Strickland, a British navigator and merchant, ventured to the New World (now United States of America).

Upon his return, he brought with him few creatures resembling a chicken, but larger. He managed to sell them off in Bristol, England, and that soon gained traction as a source of meat!

William later became a member of parliament, and has a turkey in his family’s coat of arms.

How crazy is that?

Of course, we now know those creatures as turkeys. So, you might ask. “Hey if they are native to North America, why are they called turkeys?”

Because, they arrived in Europe on Turkish ships, so the locals called them turkeys. Simple yet effective I’d say!

How it became a Christmas favourite

Surely, there’s a better story on how it managed to gobble up the spotlight every year in today’s Christmas!


Back in the 16th century, it was still a rather expensive meat, and only merchants or royalties could afford them.

In those times, peacocks were the go-to meat for Christmas dining, until one year…

One year at Christmas, then King of England, Henry VIII, replaced the peacock with – you guessed it – a turkey!

Now when the King starts doing something unique, the people tend to follow. This led to wealthier British households hopping on the trend.

For the common people however, the cheaper chicken and goose remained popular.

This stayed true until the 20th century, when the end of World War 2 made breeding turkeys cheaper, almost matching that of chicken and goose!

With that, the common people started embracing turkey as the seasonal meat.

Interesting tale! So, what’s next?

After all that, do you feel like eating one? It is no secret that turkey meats are rare here in Malaysia. Fortunately, we got your back!

To make this Christmas and end-of-year even more special, RunningMen Catering is now doing a turkey sale as part of our seasonal specials!

It is only available for a limited time so be sure to get yours before it runs out (or runs away)!

To reach out, simply click the button below or the WhatsApp icon at the bottom-right corner, and we’ll get in touch!

Also do check out the rest of our seasonal specials, bringing you whole lamb leg, roasted chicken, and yule log cake!

To catch up on our latest promotions and sales, drop by our Facebook or Instagram page!

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