Thanksgiving is upon us here in the United States and, at New Century Software, we're celebrating by taking a couple of days off to enjoy turkey and other fall fare with our families.
Because we're always thinking about maps, we couldn't help but wonder how folks in different geographic regions across the country celebrate Thanksgiving. We got a kick out of the Esri map that lets us know where the staples of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner come from. But, we were wondering what folks consider as staples and expect to see on the table for their holiday dinner based on their location. We found that, much like the weather and scenery, the cuisine is vastly different from region to region.
Enjoy the holiday weekend, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and be sure to share what's on your plate and your region with us on Twitter.
California is it's own beast when it comes to Thanksgiving, primarily because of their year-round produce season. While most of the country is limited to apples, squash and root vegetables, California still has an abundance of citrus and other warm weather produce. Expect fresh and bright flavors like lemon, herbs, grapes, and pomegranate.
The Pacific Northwest is a leading producer of such Thanksgiving superstars as apples, potatoes, cherries, hazelnuts and mushrooms. Needless to say, you're likely to see robust, earthy dishes at a typical Northwestern table.
The Midwest is known for some serious comfort food that will stick to their ribs and keep them warm. Expect to see lots of Heartland classics like Green Bean Casserole and Mashed Potatoes. Plus, the Johnny Appleseed legend originates in the fertile hills and valleys of the Midwest, so don't forget the Apple Pie!
The Southwest is all about bold flavor and spice. The region's proximity to South America is very apparent in Southwest cuisine, which borrows a lot of Latin flavors, such as cumin, oregano and peppers.
The South offers some seriously rich and decadent dishes, featuring tons of butter and mounds of meat (Paula Deen would be proud!). No part of the animal goes to waste here; from using the turkey giblets for the gravy to using bones and shank meat to add depth to side dishes. Oh, and did I mention the butter?
The Concord grape is one of the staples of the Mid-Atlantic harvest season. Concord Grape Pie is a very popular, if labor-intensive, dish in this area. New York is also one of the top producers of maple syrup, a classic Thanksgiving ingredient that is enjoyed year-round. Plus, Philadelphia cream cheese makes Pumpkin Cheesecake possible! What's Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Cheesecake?!
New England has a pretty straight-forward M.O.: Keep it simple and hearty. This region is widely known for maple syrup and molasses, as well as apples. Robust dishes with minimal effort, such as glazed carrots and root vegetable puree are right at home on the New England Thanksgiving table.