What does Thanksgiving dinner look like around the country?

When most people think of the traditional Thanksgiving meal they think of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and a side of yams. The traditional meal has been remixed by the influx of cultures that have been intertwined into American society. The variety of cultures has led to a new way of preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

The West Coast

Greg Walker, a New Orleans native but a longtime resident of California had to get used to the Californian Thanksgiving gems that he discovered when he moved away from home. 

“One thing that really surprised me was the idea of the turkey being grilled instead of baked,” Walker said. “We visited a friend one year for Thanksgiving and I was just amazed by that. In the South, I’d grown up with the turkey being in the oven. I still really enjoyed it though.” 

Walker also shared his discovery of “sourdough stuffing”. While the concept of stuffing is not foreign to the Thanksgiving tradition, the addition of sourdough bread is not one that is common across the majority of the states. 

The Southwest

Zoe Collins, a college student who is originally from Houston, Texas was proud to share the most common Thanksgiving meal item in Texas. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

“My family usually sticks to baked turkey, but it’s not surprising to see a fried turkey on someone’s dinner table for Thanksgiving. It’s interesting, to say the least,” Collins said.

Collins prefers to stick to the overall American traditional turkey. That doesn’t speak for many other Texans who prefer to eat their turkey a little more on the crispy side.

It wouldn’t be fair to do this research and not take a look at the Northern region and explore how different their Thanksgiving meals can be.

The Northeast

Maryland resident Bruce James said that Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete in Maryland without the addition of sauerkraut. The fermented raw cabbage is a custom in the northern state.

“Personally, I’m not a huge fan of it. My wife’s side of the family doesn’t do Thanksgiving without it. It wasn’t something I would eat often, but it definitely wouldn’t shock me if it were on someone’s dinner table,” James said. 

Source: dustingrzesik via Flickr.

Another common side that James said could make an appearance in a Maryland themed Thanksgiving dinner is corn on the cob. While some recognize this side as more of a cookout or barbecue food item, Maryland natives see it as turkey day tradition.

This article barely touches the surface of the variety of Thanksgiving meals that grace the tables of families all around the country. But it does give a look into how people do Thanksgiving a little differently than us down here in the Deep South.