NEW YORK — Nothing evokes feelings and memories of Thanksgiving quite like a turkey fresh out of the oven, with some stuffing and cranberry sauce on the side. But, are these foods being served each year more out of habit and tradition than anything else? A 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans has revealed that more than a quarter (26%) have grown weary of the usual Thanksgiving food options and would like to see some new cuisine on the menu.
It should come as no surprise then that 45% of the survey’s respondents say they’ve already spiced up a Thanksgiving by cooking non-traditional food for the big meal, or plan to do so in the future. Moreover, 43% say they would be open to celebrating an “alternative Thanksgiving.”
The survey, commissioned by Hardee’s, found that the number one way Americans are changing things up is by serving a main dish besides turkey. In all, 64% say they would be willing to skip serving the standard bird on Thanksgiving, and 30% say they’ve already stopped serving it each year.
With those numbers in mind, perhaps it isn’t so surprising that one in four (24%) Americans listed turkey as one the most overrated Thanksgiving foods. Other commonly cited overrated foods were cranberry sauce (37%), sweet potatoes (27%), green beans (25%), and mac and cheese (24%).
Additionally, a significant portion of Americans are opting to skip the holiday hassle altogether and just go out to eat on Thanksgiving (35%). Others have started experimenting with non-traditional side dishes for the big meal (33%). On that note, traditional Thanksgiving side dishes seem to be boring many Americans, with 53% reporting they would like to see some new side dish options.
So what exactly is causing this drastic shift away from the foods that have defined November for decades? Interestingly, nearly a third of respondents say they are simply tired of all the kitchen work that comes along with Thanksgiving and just want to have a more relaxing holiday. Others (28%) say they are just flat out bored by traditional Thanksgiving food.
Other common explanations given by respondents on why they want to change things up included a desire to reduce holiday stress (25%), an eagerness to create new family memories and traditions (23%), and a desire to just keep the holiday more low key (21%).
Arguably, the survey’s most important finding didn’t even concern food; 69% of respondents say their favorite part of Thanksgiving is spending time with family and loved ones, regardless of what’s on the menu. Of course, time off from work (34%) was another popular aspect of the holiday among respondents.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.
This article was originally posted November 25, 2019.