Changes To Traditional Thanksgiving Food Have Been The Norm Since At Least The Mid-'90s

November 25, 2014 When it comes to Thanksgiving, certain food items automatically come to mind: turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes. It’s tradition.

These days, traditional fare isn’t seen on all Thanksgiving tables. Among the reasons: Americans are more health-conscious, read food labels more carefully, and are more informed about dietary restrictions. Others have developed a taste for ethnic cuisine and use Thanksgiving as an excuse to dine on that food. I have two co-workers planning separate Indian feasts on Nov. 27!

What many people may not know, however, is that changes—both bold and subtle--to traditional Thanksgiving food aren’t new. In fact, Food Network recently highlighted food trends seen on Turkey Day over the past 18 years. Among them:

1996: Deep-fried turkey

1999: Truffled mashed potatoes

2002: Turducken, the now famous (or infamous) chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey

2005: Pork, served either separately or as a turkey topping (ever try bacon-topped poultry?)

2006: Dressings used in stuffing

2008: Brussels sprouts

2010: Turkeys featuring special glazes, including molasses, pomegranate, maple, cider, soy sauce and malt beer

2011: Cornbread stuffing

2012: Creamed kale

It remains to be seen what food trend we’ll see this Thanksgiving. But no matter what it is, it won’t be the last.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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