Uh… keto soup?

By Tim Nelson
November 19, 2019

After a longer than normal wait, Thanksgiving 2k19 is almost upon us. Though the November holiday is centered around loved ones gathering for a meal (and watching football), the specific details of this broadly-defined tradition can vary quite a bit from family to family and place to place.

While Google Trends thankfully doesn’t drill down to the family level, some data they’ve thoughtfully compiled does shed some light on how people across each of the fifty states are approaching this year’s Thanksgiving sides. And based on Google’s infographic, our national appetite varies quite a bit when it comes to the side dishes searched for by the greatest number of different people in each state.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given both its association with Thanksgiving and absence from most household menus over the rest of the year, the broadly-defined category of “stuffing” was a very dominant search in terms of number of states, racking up nine. That put it into a tie with “dressing”, which from what I’ve gathered is just what stuffing is called throughout the south given that certain Google results seem to use the term interchangeably. Makes sense, given both its popularity and complexity for the uninitiated.

Fear not, though, for other Thanksgiving staples also made the cut. Green bean casserole makes an appearance in multiple states, as does mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, sweet potato-based dishes, and classic green beans. Residents of South Dakota and Iowa also need help from the internet to make a salad, for some reason.

As is tradition with these sorts of maps, certain states stand out for their… “unorthodox” approach to picking something that pairs with Turkey. Apparently, Wyoming feels like they need help cracking the code on crescent rolls, the kind of thing the younger kids can help prepare. Tennessee believes “cream corn” [sic] goes with Thanksgiving, which is wrong because it shouldn’t go with anything, ever. Maybe it’s the hot weather, but Texas thinks a meal celebrating the fall harvest calls for fruit salad. Weirdly, everyone in North Dakota seems to be worried about how soup is going to affect their keto diet.

Beyond the sides, Google compiled some other interesting data points. Interest in the concept of Friendsgiving seems to be growing steadily year over year. Additionally, turkey cooking techniques are much more regional than you’d think. While almost all of the country west of the Mississippi River is interested in making smoked turkey, fried turkey is popular in the southeast, and roast turkey seems much more confined to New England and the northeast than expected.

There’s no right or wrong way to do Thanksgiving, but this collection of countrywide data can open your eyes to new approaches and regional cuisines if you feel like mixing things up this year. But whatever you do, don’t show up to Thanksgiving Dinner with fruit salad.  

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