Last week saw the Food section of the New York Times publish a 50-dishes-for-50-states Thanksgiving mega-menu that purported to show the most iconic Thanksgiving dinner dishes in each of the 50 states. Nearly immediately, looking at the comments on its online version of the article, there was a good deal of dissension from many readers. I’m sure it was well researched and this dissension or perceived dissension can be chalked up to the ease by which someone can simply write a comment.
Google searches “Democratic dishes”
Following the popularity of the piece, The Times took it a step further and asked Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) to run a more “democratic” analysis of state-by-state searches made over the buildup to the Thanksgiving holiday over the last ten years. The study unlike the mega-menu piece didn’t look for iconic dishes but rather the frequency by which searches were done in specific states compared to the nation by population of the state.
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For example, and hardly surprising, the vegan hipster and presence of wild mushrooms made searches for “vegan mushroom gravy” in Oregon eight times more prevalent than elsewhere. In fact, four of Oregon’s top-ten unique searches were vegan dishes.
Some Thanksgiving trends
While there is certainly not space sufficient to highlight each state’s searches there are a number of examples that stand-out. Alabama’s obesity numbers make more sense given the top search results. Those include sugar-filled “sweet potato dumplings,” Butterfinger cake, million dollar pie, caramel cake, and the Oreo cookie creation called Dirt Cake. Two out of the top five searches requiring processed confections in most recipes.
Alaska, somewhat surprisingly, doesn’t have any calls for crab, reindeer, or salmon but instead has the highest searches for an ingredient hardly indigenous to the state with cranberry relish topping its list. Number one on the list of four states show a regional lean in Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming for the crime against food that is “Frog Eye Salad.” A dish made with pasta, fruit, eggs, whipped cream and marshmallows.
Wisconsin clearly knows its cheese dishes leaving neighboring Michigan to search for “cheesy potatoes.” And despite Arizona’s draconian immigration policies, Turkey Enchiladas seem to be something craved by the presumably whiter population.
Have a look and Happy Thanksgiving no matter what makes it to your table.