Turducken, tofurkey, deep-friend turkey, jello with helpless fruit trapped inside, corn casserole — what you'll be eating on Thanksgiving 2017 might depend on where you live. According to the Los Angeles Times, a smoked turkey trend is sweeping the Midwest and Northwest this year, people on both coasts and in the south are into eating a fried bird in 2017, and those in the the Northeast are sticking with a tried and true roasted turkey for Thanksgiving 2017 because, why mess with a good thing?
If you've ever moved away from your home state to another region then you know that foods can be specific to where you live. I grew up in Ohio, which has a large Hungarian population. This means you can order chili mac — chili, cheese and onions on top of pasta — everywhere, something I took for granted until I moved away. When I moved to Maine I was introduced to poutine, which is a French-Canadian dish of fries topped with cheese and gravy. Getting a side of fries with your pizza is also totally normal in Maine. What people eat on Thanksgiving also tends to be region specific right down to the type of pie you'll be served for dessert.
The one common thread, according to the Times, is stuffing, which is called dressing in some parts of the country. Though, there is actually a slight difference. Stuffing is what it's called when the mixture of bread, celery, and other goodies are stuffed inside the Thanksgiving bird, and people in northern states generally refer to it as stuffing whether it's inside the bird or prepared separately while those in the south call it dressing, according to FitDay.
Additionally, the Washington Post explored what you can expect in your stuffing/dressing based on the region where you'll be spending the holiday. Whatever you call it, stuffing/dressing is of my favorite parts of any Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner. So, just what can you expect on your Thanksgiving 2017 plate?
See if these predictions line up with your holiday dinner menu, and explore what foods are popular in your state for Thanksgiving 2017.
Northeast Stays Traditional For Thanksgiving 2017
According to the Times, which evaluated the most googled Thanksgiving 2017 foods in each region and state, people in the Northeast are planning a dinner of roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a dessert of apple pie, which makes sense since apple picking is a traditional fall activity in New England, and you've got to get rid of all of those apples somehow.
And, can we talk about cranberry sauce for a second? This has to be the most untouched part of Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe if you take the time to make it fresh it's super delicious, but a lot of people dump the can-shaped red blob onto a plate and set it in the middle of the table. It's usually still there at the end of the meal. Your blobby cranberry centerpiece is likely more tradition than anything else, and many people admit they don't even like it. "If you're in the Northeast, you might also see a side of root vegetables on your plate, Epicurious noted. When I lived in Maine my roommate made roasted root vegetables on the regular, and they are super delicious.
Midwest Eats Smoked Turkey & Mashed Potatoes
If you've ever heard someone referred to as a "meat and potatoes" person, that person is likely from the Midwest. The Times reported that the Midwestern states will be feasting on smoked turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and apple pie for Thanksgiving. Maybe I'm behind on the Thanksgiving trends, but I have never heard of smoked turkey. Apparently smoking the Thanksgiving turkey is surpassing deep frying the bird in 2017.
According to the Spruce, making a smoked turkey takes even longer than preparing a roasted turkey, which already seems to take eleventy million hours. If you've got time to kill, smoking your turkey is supposed to be delicious. And, in the Midwest where winter is already descending, preparing comfort foods that take forever is a time-honored way of passing the cold winter months so it makes sense to start the annual trend start on Thanksgiving. Apple picking is also popular in the Midwest, and Epicurious noted that it's not uncommon for apples to crop up in other dishes, including stuffing.
Mid-Atlantic Folks Are Deep Frying Their Bird
People in the Mid-Atlantic region of the states are planning to deep fry their turkey on Thanksgiving, the Google trends revealed. While the deep-frying trend seemed to sweep the nation in the early 2000s — along with reports of people burning themselves and accidentally starting their homes on fire —Vogue reported that the first deep-fried turkey can be traced back to 1930 when Cajun chef Justin Wilson introduced this recipe.
For impatient Mid-Atlantic folks, this method is definitely the fastest way to cook the bird as it takes only three to four minutes, instead of three to four hours. People on the East Coast are also expected to enjoy stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, and apple pie. If you're having your dessert in New York, cheesecake might be on the menu, according to a list of the most popular Thanksgiving foods by state by General Mills.
Southern States Are Baking Casseroles
If you're having your Thanksgiving 2017 in one of the southern states this year, you can expect at least two casseroles, and Google Trends reported that green bean and potato casserole were two of the most searched items for Thanksgiving 2017. People in the south are also expected to whip up some more obscure dishes like pickled okra, according to Epicurious.
Casseroles have stuck around because they're perfect for potlucks, can feed a lot of people, make great leftovers, and you can throw in whatever you want. Sometimes casserole equals whatever is about to go bad in the fridge. The southern states will also be eating deep-fried turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green been casserole (which was invented in 1955), and apple pie. Google Trends also reported that a handful of southern states will be adding pecan pie to the mix. People in the south don't see any need for that glob of cranberry sauce.
West Coasters Prefer Pumpkin Pie
If you're celebrating Thanksgiving on the West Coast, you can throw out that healthy meal stereotype because people on the West Coast have also jumped on the fried turkey train, according to Google Trends. You can also expect stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts (to balance out the deep-fried turkey), and pumpkin pie.
If you need to bring a pumpkin pie to your Thanksgiving 2017 potluck, you can make sure your recipe is unique by trying out one of these pumpkin pie recipes. If you're going to a vegan Thanksgiving, and partaking in the tofurkey, these vegan pumpkin recipes are perfect for dessert. Because on the West Coast, there is no such thing as too much pumpkin pie. And, because people on the West Coast like to do it up a little different, you might even see macaroni and cheese as a side dish, according to General Mills.
Northwest Gets Smoked Turkey & Pumpkin Pie
People having Thanksgiving 2017 in the Northwest will feast on a mishmash of foods from all of the regions combined. If you're digging into your turkey in the Northwest, you can expect it to be smoked, so be sure to have some snacks on hand because smoking the bird takes forever. Your dinner will also include stuffing, that cranberry blob thingy, roasted Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. Lucky dinner guests in Washington could also be treated to sugar cookies, General Mills noted, because why wait until Christmas?
Apparently everyone but those in the south are having Brussels sprouts, which seems to be the new kale. But, seriously, who needs Brussels sprouts when you could have green been casserole? I don't really understand this sprout trend. Whatever is on your Thanksgiving plate, make sure to take the time to celebrate your family and friends. And, if you need to change the subject during dinner, you can ask why they insist on serving the cranberry blob year after year.