Thanksgiving gives us many culinary "fun facts" to chew on, including one of my favorites: The legend of the wishbone.
The forked-shaped bone -- which joins a turkey's two clavicles -- is officially named the furcular.
Of course, "snapping the furcular" doesn't sound nearly as much fun as "snapping the wishbone."
When I was in grade school, a common science experience involved soaking the wishbone in vinegar for a week or so. The bone would emerge as flexible as a rubber band, and someone would always bring one to school to show off the scientific properties of acid on bone.
Plenty of folklore and history websites detail wishbone traditions.
A little further back from my school days, in Victorian times, women would take the wishbone and tack it over the front door. For maiden women, legend had it that the next man to pass under the door would result in a match. For married women, the bone was expected to yield children.
We have the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization, to thank for the wishbone tradition, which began with the chicken, not the turkey.
Etruscans held the chicken in high regard, believing that the bird could predict the future. They would save a chicken's wishbone and stroke it for good luck. According to legend, fights often ensued, resulting in the wishbone-breaking competitions that we know today.
The tradition spread from the Etruscans in modern-day Tuscany to Rome -- and, from there, across Europe and to England, where early settlers brought the tradition with them to America.
Of course, when the Pilgrims arrived, they found plenty of wild turkeys, not chickens. What good fortune for them: The turkey's wishbone is much larger than the chicken's.
If you plan to break a wishbone with someone this Thanksgiving, you should let the bone dry for a few days.
The dried bone will provide a crisp snap during battle, giving someone a lucky break -- but not the turkey.
-- Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.