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Thanksgiving Food Traditions Around the U.S.

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and families just like yours will be gathering around their tables to celebrate. This year, as you plan your menu, remember that your family traditions aren’t the only ones being celebrated on that special day. In fact, the foods on your table may be totally different than those on your neighbor’s table or a family member’s across the country. Let’s take a closer look at favorite Thanksgiving foods and how they’re different around the nation.

First of all, at the first Thanksgiving Dinner, there probably wasn’t stuffing or pumpkin pie. While no one knows what was on the menu on that special day, we do think that people probably ate simple foods like goose, duck, fish, green salad, grapes, plums, or corn. Today however, that menu has changed to foods that range from candied yams to tofurkey, but here are a few foods that have stayed classic:


Most of the time, this Thanksgiving headliner is served up roasted, grilled, deep fried, or smoked, but sometimes, that’s not the only thing on the menu. Some families even opt for roast beef, ham, crab or lobster, or even a tofu turkey or stuffed pumpkin in lieu of this poultry favorite.


Depending on the area you live in, you’ll find stuffing recipes that are infused with local flavor and favorite ingredients. Traditional turkey stuffing is usually kept simple with sage, thyme, celery, and onions, however, other families around the nation will use sausage, bacon, apples, pancetta, dried fruit, nuts, pumpkin, or even oysters!

The Sides

Mashed potatoes, corn, butternut squash, macaroni and cheese, candied yams or sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, carrots, salad, rolls, and broccoli can be found on tons of tables this season, however, down south, you may find that black eye peas, okra, greens, dumplings, and hominy are on the menu!


Depending on the region you live in, you’ll probably find pies filled with delicious local ingredients like New England cranberries, Southern pecans, apples, sweet potatoes, pears or other yummy fruits and nuts. Remember, when it comes to dessert, the sky is the limit!

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