No, it's not a turkey. This tureen is in the form of a guinea fowl. It sometimes is eaten in the United States, but it usually weighs less than four pounds and is much too small to feed the crowd at Thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey for Thanksgiving is an American idea, promoted in the 1860s when Thanksgiving was declared a holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.
There are many legends that say wild turkey was part of the menu for the feast at Plymouth Colony in 1621. But written reports say the Wampanoag Indians brought five deer (venison) and the colonists brought wild birds (probably tasty ducks or other waterfowl, not tough turkeys) or passenger pigeons, shellfish and vegetables including dried corn and squash. Turkey wasn't a popular part of the colonists' diet until about 1800.
The feast was probably a political meeting between neighbors with about 90 male Indians and 50 male Pilgrims, and no women. They probably did all the cooking.
Enjoy your modern Thanksgiving dinner, and admire the beautiful African guinea hen tureen made in France. It sold for $5,412 at a New Orleans auction.
Write to: The Kovels, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The website is kovels.com.
Prices from shows nationwide:
Trading card, Yuco Breakfast Food, kids eating, girl in window, $10.
Chalkware figure, buck, painted, glancing sideways, round wall mount, 11 1/2 inches, $120.
Steuben glass bowl, cranberry cut to clear, free form, wavy rim, triangular legs, about 1980, 6 1/2 inches, $370.
Quilt, applique, pumpkin ground, brown and green flowers, sawtooth border, 1800s, 80 by 87 inches, $385.
Trade stimulator, Puritan gum, three-reel, jackpot, 1 cent, coin-operated, countertop, 9 by 10 3/4 inches, $570.
Tole planter, Regency style, red paint, gold accents, lion's head and ring handles, paw feet, 11 inches, $1,020.
Toy camel, riding, mohair, metal carriage, steering handles, wheels, pull cord, Steiff, about 1935, 18 by 23 inches, $1,420.
Whatnot shelf, Regency, rosewood, four tiers, turned supports, drawer, about 1800, 52 by 19 inches, $2,000.