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Q97 Snapshot: Thanksgiving Undercover

11/26/2014 10:24AM ● By Patrick John

Thanksgiving Undercover

November 2014
By Patrick John

Thanksgiving planning is definitely under way in my household. Past years have had up to 20 around the table, so there’s a real need for this Type A host to get things in gear. Who’s coming over? Who’s prepping the bird? Who’s bringing side dishes? Who’s bringing drinks? And most importantly — what’s for dessert?

The first Thanksgiving was in 1621, consisting of about 145 Native Americans and Pilgrims. The holiday menu has changed somewhat since then, and most Americans include a few staples with their Thanksgiving meals. I started wondering where all this food came from, and discovered some interesting facts.

The Bird: The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. More turkeys come from Minnesota than any other state, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia. California came in at number six. The folks at Butterball, the largest turkey processor in the United States, processed more than 1.3 billion pounds of turkey in 2012. Turkey is more popular than ever. Back in 1910, the average American ate less than 1 pound of turkey per year. Last year, that number was 16.4 pounds of turkey per person. Bring on the gravy!

Cranberry: Whole cranberry sauce or that jiggly chunk of jellied cranberry
sauce from the can? Chances are you’ll have at least one of these on
the Thanksgiving table. When we think cranberries, most think of the
flooded bogs seen in Ocean Spray commercials. The canned berries ARE
harvested that way, but fresh cranberries bought in the produce section are
actually harvested from vines on dry land, and the top state for cranberry
production is Wisconsin. Who knew? Americans on average consumed
almost 2.5 pounds of cranberries last year, with the bulk of that as juice
product. If you have cranberries or sauce left over,
search recipes for cranberry salsa, or even cranberry
margaritas.

The Durkee Green Bean Casserole?: Note the question mark after the title of this perennial Thanksgiving favorite. Durkee often gets the credit for this side dish, but it’s Campbell’s that should be credited for the Green Bean Casserole. Campbell’s Home Economist Dorcas Reilly led the team that invented the Green Bean Casserole in 1955. She was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2002 and even presented the original recipe card to its museum. At some point, the Durkee company added its french fried onions as a topping, and a classic was born. Strangely enough, Durkee was sold off to another food company, so now it’s French’s Fried Onions you’ll find at the grocery store.

Pumpkin Pie: Morton, Ill., is the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” and is also the home to Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix. At its peak before the holidays, Libby’s is processing a half a million pumpkins per day. You can’t get that exact taste anywhere else, because Libby’s uses its own special variety of Dickinson pumpkins for the company’s pumpkin products. If pumpkin pie isn’t your thing, try their pumpkin roll and add extra icing!

Pizza: I had to throw that in, and I know what you’re thinking…pizza is not a Thanksgiving staple. OK, I fudged a little… the day BEFORE Thanksgiving is the second busiest day for pizza orders and delivery in the United States, right behind the Super Bowl.

I hope you have an amazing holiday season with your friends and family…and Happy Thanksgiving!

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