12 Things You Love the Most About Thanksgiving Dinner

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Think Thanksgiving is only about turkey and stuffing? Think again. The way Americans eat on the last Thursday in November is changing, from a growing acceptance of non-meat entrees to the rise of alternative cooking techniques. 

We learned this and more from a new Yahoo Food survey of more than 1,000 Americans across the country, which asked people how they like to chow down on Turkey Day. Hint: Not everyone eats turkey.

The survey yielded other interesting morsels, too. Did you know, for instance, that most people prefer canned cranberry sauce? Or that gravy isn’t a big hit on the Thanksgiving table? Bet you didn’t know that at least a quarter of people only eat turkey once a year, on — you guessed it — Thanksgiving.

Here’s everything you need to know:

1. More Americans are reaching for the Tofurkey.
In news that should surprise no one, a whopping 91 percent of respondents said they plan to serve turkey at their Thanksgiving feasts. But, interestingly, roughly 10 percent of people intend to whip up a meatless entree. Most are millennials, who are three times more likely to embrace a non-meat meal than their elders.

2. Younger folks are smoking or deep frying their birds.
While good ole’ roasting remains the most popular technique — 76 percent of Americans will roast their birds — many millennials plan to branch out this holiday. Eight percent say they’ll smoke their turkeys, while 12 percent intend to deep-fry theirs.

Credit: Ellie Baygulov/Stocksy

Recipe: No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

3. It’s all about brining.
Adherents of the brining method swear by its juicy end result, and it seems they’ve won some cooks over. Twenty-eight percent of Americans plan to brine their turkey this year, with most of them being millennials.

4. Ham is elbowing its way onto the Thanksgiving table.
Look out, turkey. Ham is coming for your crown! Thirty-three percent of Americans and nearly half of all millennials say they’ll make room for a porky entree on their holiday menu.

5. Millennials aren’t into cranberry sauce.
What’s with the cranberry sauce hate? Thirty-three percent of millennials say they can’t stand the stuff, and half say they’ve nixed it from the menu altogether this year.

Recipe: ‘Chorizo’-Spiced Squash Soup

6. Speaking of cranberry sauce, is canned OK?
A majority of people (44 percent) prefer the stuff that comes straight from the can, but tastes vary depending on a person’s age. Millennials, for instance, favor the fresh variety, while older generations like the canned version. Which kind do you prefer? If you’re into fresh, give Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney a spin.

7. Everyone cooks on Thanksgiving. Well, almost everyone.
A measly 1 percent of people who will host a Thanksgiving feast this year plan to serve a pre-prepared meal. And we’re thrilled about it! If you need recipe ideas, we’ve got a few for you. Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself; 6 percent of people plan to host a Thanksgiving potluck, while 11 percent plan to serve a mix of homemade and pre-prepared foods.

Related: Maple Apple Crumb Pie from ‘Maple’

8. Stuffing is America’s second favorite Thanksgiving dish.
But it’s a far, far second. Eighteen percent say stuffing is the Thanksgiving table’s shining star, while 43 percent say that honor goes to turkey. After stuffing, it’s a four-way tie with sweet potato casserole, pie, ham, and mashed potatoes coming in at 7 percent. Just 4 percent of people rank green bean casserole as their favorite. Cranberry sauce brings in the rear at 3 percent.

9. A quarter of people only eat turkey once a year.
Twenty-four percent people clearly aren’t fans of smoked turkey sandwiches or turkey meatballs, because they only eat turkey on Thanksgiving. We think you’re missing out, people! (Looking for a recipe? We got you covered.)

Credit: Jeff Wasserman/Stocksy

10. The most popular turkey day beverage? Surprisingly, it’s water.
Forget wine or coffee. Forty-nine percent of Americans say they’ll reach for H20 on Thanksgiving. It’s followed in popularity by soda (36 percent), wine (33 percent), and tea or coffee (28 percent). Interestingly, 20 percent of people say they’ll avoid alcohol entirely this year. Perhaps that’s why so many are drinking water?

11. It’s not all gravy, baby.
Although 82 percent of people say they’ll serve gravy this year, the sauce ranked as America’s least favorite part of their holiday feast. Only 2 percent said they loved it more than other offerings, not that we blame them — gravy has some tough competition on the Thanksgiving table!

12. Most people aren’t concerned about calories.
More than half of all respondents — 54 percent — say they don’t give a hoot about the calorie count of their Thanksgiving meal. And they don’t plan to compensate with exercise, either. Thirty-eight percent of people say they don’t plan to engage in any calorie-burning activities over the Thanksgiving weekend. Welp!

Need more Thanksgiving Day inspiration? We’re here to help!

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