Ben Franklin Electrocuted Turkeys (And Himself)
Since many of you are now struggling with a fridge full of leftovers, we asked readers which Thanksgiving food they'd be fine with never eating again. Kaleigh W. said green bean casserole, a dish we only eat because of a conspiracy by Campbell's Soup. Rhodie C., who owns 23 pecan trees, said pecan pie, a dish we only eat because of a marketing campaign by Karo syrup. Macaco C. said he'd be fine never again eating his "extended family," which raises several questions.
The most popular answer, by far, was turkey, and we really should have seen that coming. Rose D. calls the food "foul," and for this pun, she is banned from participating in Thanksgiving from now on. Veronica S. points to the long cooking time and how dry the meat gets, while Jim C. suggests brining in Coca-Cola solves that problem.
America of course has a long history with the turkey. Perhaps you've heard the story about how Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, since it's a more respectable creature than a bald eagle? That's a myth. He was actually just mocking the design of the Great Seal by saying the bird looks like a turkey—and then joking that a turkey would be better than the current pick.
The most famous story of all about Franklin, that he flew a kite in a thunderstorm so lightning would strike it, is also a myth. However, there is a true story about the man that combines turkeys and electricity. This goes back to 1751, when the man's early experiments with electricity involved using the miracle force to kill turkeys, and then to cook them.
His first few trials were unsuccessful because the birds, once zapped, would get right back up again after a short rest. Higher bursts of electricity were more effective, and he found this kill method produced meat that was "uncommonly tender." He also, accidentally, sent a similar bolt right through himself. This briefly blinded him, filled him with pain, and left him motionless for ten minutes.
If this didn't result in Ben Franklin discovering a new fetish, well, then we don't know Benjamin Franklin.
"Do not make it mor Publick," he said, when relating the story in a letter, "for I am Ashamed to have been Guilty of so Notorious A Blunder." We will respect his wishes and tell no one of this, until at least 200 years after his death.
This fact came from the One Cracked Fact newsletter. Want more like this, straight from your email inbox, without any ads or popups? Join here:
For more on Ben Franklin, check out: