Thanksgiving might be American, but not all celebrate the same

Posted November 21, 2016
Updated November 23, 2016

Before gobbling up that Thanksgiving dinner, here is some food for thought.

Fifteen percent of Americans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, according to a YouGov poll. And for the 85 percent of Americans that do celebrate, the chances of them all celebrating the same way are slim to none. Thirty-four percent will have more than eight people over to celebrate with, and 58 percent won’t drink any alcohol at dinner.

Even the way they dress will be different. Just 2 percent will dress up, 61 percent will dress “nice, but casual,” and 21 percent will wear sweatpants.

But the things that vary the most? The food they will eat, and what their favorite Thanksgiving foods are. Of those polled, 63 percent will eat “just a plain, regular turkey,” with the runner-up being a deep fried turkey, coming in at 6 percent. Five percent won’t eat a turkey at all.

A Gallup poll from 2004 found that just 49 percent of Americans surveyed said that turkey was their favorite Thanksgiving food, with stuffing coming in second with just 14 percent of the votes.

The least favorite food was voted to be cranberries and cranberry sauce with 21 percent of votes, followed by vegetables of any kind at 17 percent.

What do all these have in common? They are traditional meals served at Thanksgiving. What about non-traditional foods? Food served at Thanksgiving often vary by region, culture, and heritage.

Side dishes are perhaps the most common thing that vary by region. The New York Times decided to research the most distinct and the most Googled dishes served in each state at the Thanksgiving table. Read the methods and the results here.

Unsurprisingly, funeral potatoes is the most looked up recipe in Utah, but it is also the most looked up in Michigan, although there it is referred to as "cheesy potatoes."

Frog eye salad was the most commonly searched thing, with four different states looking it up. But what is frog eye salad? According to, it is "an acini di pepe (or couscous) pasta salad with coconut, pineapple, Mandarin oranges, and marshmallows."

The second most common thing searched for was Snicker salad, also known as Snicker and apple salad. It is a mix of Snickers, Granny Smith apples, whipped cream, and either pudding or Cool Whip. The recipe can be found at here.

The other most looked up recipes vary from state to state, and oftentimes recipes only show up on the map once or twice.

If you want to try some recipes from other places, check out another article from the New York Times here, which has recipes that channel every state (including Washington, D.C, and Puerto Rico) into each dish — or take a look at some of the recipes we have compiled below.


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