The Turkey Is In the House
In the refrigerator, actually.
Turkey is the exotic protein in American diets. We pretty much eat muscle of three animals. Cows, chickens, and pigs. No organ meats. Not even a particularly large range of muscle meats (we tend not to eat much of the tougher cuts of meat that require slow cooking, but have more flavor, unless we grind them up into patties.) And pork is getting more and more marginalized. We probably eat most of our pork as ham bacon or sausage. Maybe the occasional pork chop. We didn't used to eat that way.
We used to eat a range of animals. Lamb. Mutton. Goose. Duck. Most of us didn't eat animal protein every day--but when we did eat animal protein, the range was bigger. Venison, boar, pigeon. (Passenger pigeons were hunted to extinction. Not all of them--probably not most of them--were eaten, but there really was a dish called pigeon pie.) The reason there is something called 'Mock Turtle Soup' is because there used to be something called 'Turtle Soup.' Frog legs. Eel. Partly this was because a lot of people shot at least some of their own food. My mother remembers eating squirrel and dumplings. (As she explained, there isn't a lot of meat on a squirrel and even if you shoot a bunch of them, you need the dumplings to stretch the dish. Meat used to be as much about flavoring a dish as it was about being a dish.)
But we don't do that anymore. I suppose part of the reason is that chickens and pigs lend themselves to factory style agriculture. I don't know why we have such a huge beef industry. It seems an odd thing, economically. A cow is a pretty good food investment when you can milk it and/or graze it--but we support most of our food quality beef on corn these days. Our meat grows blander. We prize tenderness over taste. Turkey is a good, safe 'exotic.' Especially commercial turkeys, which have relatively bland meat.
I know you can buy ostrich and bison these days. I have. But if you stand in most groceries, what you see is a lot of beef, a lot of chicken (broken down mostly into breasts and thighs, with some pre-cut up assortments and some whole birds. What happens to the necks and the backs? Meat is 'broken down' and shipped as parts these days--grocery stores do some butchering, but those wonderful chicken backs that make such good stock aren't back in the back in the grocery.) And you see a smaller area of pork. And then 'poultry--turkey, duck, and cornish game hens which aren't really game at all, they're a small chicken.' Lamb, bison and ostrich are stuck at the edge of the beef/pork areas. We seem to like our meat tender and without too much flavor. Part of that might be because of restaurants--more flavorful cuts of beef, for instance, require a long braising or stewing time, and that's hard to do in a restaurant. Easier to have something you fire on the grill or in the saute pan to order.
There's a growing interest in cuts of the animal that aren't steak as well--long braise cuts like beef shanks, pork shanks, ox tails and beef cheeks. And turkey hangs on. Thanks to the recent interest in reducing fat--turkey is very low in fat, the way that chicken used to be before it was bred to be fatter. (Unlike pork, which is being bred to be leaner, to the detriment of its taste.) And thanks, of course, to Thanksgiving.