Thanksgiving: It’s Not Just About Turkey Anymore!

By, Charlie Williamson

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving for me is usually a marathon and a sprint.

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Between my different groups of friends, family and friends’ families, I usually spend the last few days of November debating calling up everyone’s favorite weight loss guru, Jenny Craig, about the newly formed spare tire that’s taken up residence around my midsection.

In a recent Nielsen survey of 2,000 adults, the average 18 to 34-year-old claims to eat more than four Thanksgiving meals a year! That’s a lot of turkey and mashed potatoes! Things like distance, divorce, work dinners, school events and “Friendsgiving” dinners are becoming more prominent and changing the face of the holiday. More and more people are now finding creative new ways to celebrate the season. Friendsgiving, for example, is a relatively new trend. Though mentioned as far back as 2009, it wasn’t until the last three years that the new tradition became a cultural phenomenon, dominating social media and inspiring countless articles detailing how to plan the perfect Friendsgiving dinner. Largely driven by millennials, this Thanksgiving revolution perfectly captures the growing change in our views of classic traditions.

The classic Thanksgiving meals are also taking a hit. People are quickly turning away from the traditional turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and moving towards more unorthodox meal options. Many are starting to experiment with dishes inspired by other cultures. Martha Stewart’s holiday tips for this year feature some creative side dishes like a brussel sprout kimchi dish, a thanksgiving themed banh mi sandwich or, the most outlandish of them all, a savory Thanksgiving ramen! Thanksgiving brunches are also gaining in popularity. I mean, who doesn’t love a good brunch? Cranberry pancakes, bacon wrapped stuffing and a mimosa? Umm… yes please!

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, supermarkets and grocers are taking notice. Online grocery retailer, FreshDirect, is jumping on the multiple meal bandwagon. Last year, after noticing a hike in smaller bird and side dish sales in the weeks leading up to the big day, the company decided to join in on the fun.  On November 17, they are asking customers to join a social media movement and post real time Friendsgiving themed dishes to Instagram. Specialty food retailer, Dean & Deluca, is offering several turkey alternatives in their holiday season catalog. If you forego the turkey this year, you could try 24 oysters for $129, a $60 semi boneless quail or even a rack of venison for those feeling especially creative.

Let’s remember that Thanksgiving isn’t really about the food (though, lesbi-honest, the food is pretty darn important). Rather, Thanksgiving is about being together with those you love. So, go ahead and make that savory turkey ramen or cranberry quinoa salad you’ve been dying to try! Just be sure to do so with those you love and to be thankful for all of your blessings.