There’s one side dish that my family’s Thanksgiving table is never complete without. My grandmother’s mashed rutabagas, or “rooties” as we call them, are like Lindsay Lohan at a nightclub circa 2005: always making an appearance. We might fry the turkey or dry-brine it, we might sub Brussels sprouts for green beans, we might even celebrate on Zoom across three different countries. But the one thing that will remain the same (even in 2020!) is the rutabagas.
What is that dish for your family’s Thanksgiving? Mashed potatoes? Green bean casserole?
To get a better sense of what people will eat come turkey time, this data set, collected by the team at Satellite Internet, sheds some light. Their team culled Google Trends to find the most-searched Thanksgiving recipe in every state.
The results run the gamut from sweets to sides to stuffing to sauces. Let’s take a look at the standouts.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington
Mashed potatoes are obviously the quarterback of the Thanksgiving table (did I use that sports analogy correctly?) with 14 states claiming them as their most-searched recipe. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re creamy and decadent and can be so, so, so melt-in-your-mouth when made right.
Mashed: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island
Casserole: Alabama, Alaska (with marshmallows), Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
Candied Yams: Maryland, Mississippi
These 15 states are going straight for the sweet potato in many forms. The most popular iterations of the orange root vegetable are mashed, casseroled, or candied. If you’re wondering what the difference between a sweet potato and a yam is: They’re actually completely different plant genuses (read more here).
Gravy: Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming
Some states honed in on the centerpiece meat, while others sought to master the gravy. We can’t blame them—perfecting the art of the bird is a worthy task. If you’re wondering how to roast a turkey, check out this handy guide. And for ham, we’ve got you covered there too. As for gravy, well, just pick a recipe from these favorites:
Now the difference between stuffing and dressing is a whole other debate. Some claim that stuffing is cooked inside the cavity of a bird, while dressing comes together in a separate pan. That makes sense, but mostly it’s a linguistic regional difference.
Honestly, I’m floored by the popularity of Jell-O for Thanksgiving. I had no idea it was such a beloved option. That being said, as a native Texan, I’m happy to see our state’s favorite pie pulling through!
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.
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