Thanksgiving 2012: By the Numbers

For many of us, Thanksgiving dinner will be the biggest meal we cook all year, both in terms of number of guests at the table, and in terms of the number of different dishes we prepare for the feast.

It’s a big meal, no matter how you look at it.

Talking turkey. A whopping 248 million turkeys were raised in the US in 2011.

  • On average, each American consumed a yearly amount of 13.3 pounds of turkey (in 2009). This is spread out over the entire year, so not all 13.3 pounds was eaten at Thanksgiving (thank goodness).  This works out to about half a turkey for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and there would still be some leftovers.
  • How much turkey is that? Over 7 billion pounds, according to Nationwide That’s equivalent to the weight of ten Empire State Buildings!
  • For your Thanksgiving planning, budget about 1 lb turkey per meat-eating guest, so there’s enough for dinner *and* for all-important leftovers.  We recommend you use the contents of our awesome Gobble turkey brining kit, which includes our exclusive Brining Mix, to prepare your best turkey ever.

Cranberry Sauce (the bog-growing berry, not Strawberry Shortcake’s nerdy cousin) 750 million pounds of cranberries were harvested in 2011.

  • No word on how many of those will form the cranberry sauce shaped like a can — but the Ocean Spray people sold 72 million cans during the 2010 holiday season!
  • We like to switch up our cranberry sauce a little, and serve Cranberry-Pear Chutney alongside our roast turkey instead. You’ll also enjoy our new Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Vinegar – it makes a perfect sweet-tart dressing for the Thanksgiving salad.

Yam-tastic. Distantly related to the potato,  the sweet potato is native to the Americas and is rich in Vitamins A, B6, and C. And they taste great with brown sugar and marshmallows (seriously!).

Think green (but hold the cream of mushroom soup). Last year, 672,370 tons of green beans were grown in the US.

  • The traditional 1950’s treatment of green beans was to buy them (canned) and bake them in a casserole with cream of mushroom soup (also canned), topped with fried onions (guess what? also canned).
  • The traditional casserole is tasty and nostalgic. Want to go for a new tradition? Marinate 1 lb of frozen or fresh green beans in 2 Tbsp Olive Oil and 1 Tbsp Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Spread out on a baking sheet, bake at 450F for 20 – 30 min, season with your favorite salt and pepper before serving. Sprinkle of parmesan cheese is optional.

Potatoes and PBR (or sauvignon blanc and sweet potatoes):  Feeling sleepy? For many years, we’ve attributed our post-prandial stupor to the amino acid, Tryptophan, in turkey we’ve eaten. Turns out, drinking alcoholic beverages and overeating are more likely the reasons you might be falling asleep on the couch after a Thanksgiving Day meal than the Trytophan amount in the turkey.

Just… desserts. If you lined up the number of pies sold at U.S. grocery stores during Thanksgiving, they would span more than half the globe.

  • Fifty million pumpkin pies are eaten at Thanksgiving — of which one million are sold at Costco.  Here’s our pumpkin pie recipe.
  • Prefer pecan? Pecan pie has the most calories of any holiday pie (around 500 per slice).  Our delicious pecan pie recipe is well worth making from scratch.
  • Pumpkin is the Thanksgiving favorite, but Apple pie is America’s year-round top seller. (Yes, you’ll love this apple pie recipe, too).
  • One in five Americans has eaten an entire pie by themselves. That adds up to about 2,000 calories for an 8-inch pumpkin pie, around 2,500 calories for an apple pie, and up to 4,000 calories for a pecan pie.
  • Not a pie guy? Find your perfect dessert among our cookie/bar recipes, chocolate recipes, and general dessert recipes.

Tally up the total. Speaking of calories, just how many are in our Thanksgiving dinner? Estimates vary, but even a modest accounting totals up to 2,500 calories. And that’s before the requisite glass of wine or late-night cold turkey sandwich!

Like we said, Thanksgiving is a big meal — and a big deal.