Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Feasts: Facts you may want to gobble up!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? For me, it’s food. Oh, sure, I also ponder family and things I’m grateful for but soon my mouth starts to water and I’m back to contemplating the food.
If you’re like me, even though the holiday is weeks away, you’re already anticipating the traditional turkey dinner featuring cranberries, sweet potatoes, green- bean casserole, rolls, gravy and corn, topped off with pumpkin pie or maybe cherry or apple.

Thanksgiving has always meant a feast – typically a super-sized one.

Even before the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621, people gathered to share food and to express gratitude for their blessings. I don’t know when turkey became the traditional main course. Perhaps it happened around the time President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863. He established a date for the holiday -- the last Thursday in November. Or perhaps turkey became the holiday’s unofficial meat when President Franklin Roosevelt formalized Thanksgiving on the FOURTH Thursday in November.
Ever wonder how much food goes into that feast and where – besides your garden -- the ingredients for this delicious meal probably originate?

I’ve found some interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

1. In 2007, American farmers raised 272 million turkeys, many expressly for the purpose of Thanksgiving dining.
2. Again according to the 2007 census data, Minnesota raises the most turkeys, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and California.
3. Surprisingly enough, those millions of turkeys didn’t meet America’s demands. Americans spent $9.5 million on importing live turkeys. The majority of those turkeys came from Canada.
4. In 2007, in cranberry states such as Wisconsin, agricultural workers harvested an estimated 690 million pounds of cranberries.
5. Other states such as North Carolina, California, Mississippi and Louisiana contributed 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.
6. The breads, rolls, pie crusts and Thanksgiving delights were created from the 1.8 billion bushels of wheat produced by states such as Kansas and North Dakota.
7. If you’re making or devouring the traditional green-bean casserole, it might interest you to know that about 841,280 tons of green beans are produced yearly by states including Wisconsin.
8. What about the pumpkin pie? Where do all those pumpkins come from? The 1 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in patches mainly in Illinois, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
9. The 294 million pounds of tart pie-making cherries originate in such states as Michigan.
10. In 2005 the average American ate 13.1 pounds of turkeys. Whether it was all at the Thanksgiving meal wasn’t specified, but we certainly hope not. But then, if they were referring to my nephew Drew, I can tell you he ate at least a third of the 13.1 pounds. That guy l-o-v-e-s his turkey slices.
11. Americans consumed an average of 4.5 pounds of sweet potato every year. Again, back to Drew. He didn’t make this average -- at least at Thanksgiving probably because of all those helpings of turkey.
12. There are 114. 4 million households in the United States. God willing, we’ll all find a place to gather together for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving.



  1. I just bought my very first Turkey to roast - at almost 60! I have no family and never did a whole bird ever, can you believe that? Wish me luck!

    I posted 13 reasons why I started to paint the old fashioned way again - I've been all digital for the past 2 years - it was time to drag those Russian Sables out again!

  2. Brenda! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have heard great things about "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" AKA the greatest mashup EVAR.

    This is a good list! I love statistics! I always like to see it tied to... well, everything! Plus I LOVE Thanksgiving! Your list is making me hungry!

  3. Pop Art Diva,
    Good luck with your turkey roast! I hope it turns out as fine as your art.

  4. Anonymous.Girl,
    My list makes me hungry too.

  5. love your list!

    have a great day!
    come and visit 13 Gas saving TIPS if you have the time!

  6. I remember growing up I would always ask mom where the turkey came from then look it up on a map. Funny... when I was in college I met a guy who came from one of those places and he knew all about turkeys. LOL.

    Hugs & Happy TT.

  7. Interesting list. And people think Wisconsin is only corn and cheese. I knew we were one of the top three cranberry states (yuck!), but not that we were tops in green beans. I only see the soy variety traveling to and from work. Happy Thanksgiving!

    My Thursday Thirteen

  8. There's nothing better than sharing food with friends and family.

  9. Turkey seems (to me at least) to have become a symbol of Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow! That is a lot of food. Now I wonder how many pounds of leftovers are eaten for the week following Thanksgiving :-)

  11. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I love reading interesting facts and your list was great! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  12. #3 IS surprising!!!

    My 13 is notations of a special holiday long will it take you to figure out what song it is? You'll need to scroll down a bit below my Thursday Thunks to find my 13 --they are posted if you'd like to stop by for a visit today....HERE

    Have a great Thursday.

  13. fickleinpink,
    Gosh.:) Thanks.

    Mary Quast.
    Yeah, I used to wonder where all the turkeys came from too. I guess that's the reason behind this Thursday Thirteen. Thanks.

  14. Hey Heather,
    I'm with you. It's fun to learn interesting and or suprising things about Wisconsin.

    Shelley Munro,
    Yeah, it's great to be with friends and family.

  15. Hazel,
    I think you're right about the turkey-Thanksgiving connection. Have a great holiday.

    I wonder about the leftovers too. Thanks for dropping by.

  16. Jenny@ The Zepf Life,
    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving too.

    Hootin' Anne,
    I like games. I'll be at your site soon. Thanks for the tip.

  17. Wow! That's a whole lot of food. Great trivia. Happy T13 & Happy Turkey Day!

  18. chubskulit,
    Thanks for stopping by. I love movies, I'll visit you.

    Adelle Laudan,
    Yep, it is a lot of food. Happy Thanksgiving back at you.

  19. When you add it together we sounds like a glut for gluttons! There sure are a lot of us.

    I love that I go to a local farm potluck and only ever have to make one dish.

  20. colleen,
    That sounds like a grand idea. Happy Thanksgiving.

  21. OH my.. awesome stats!! Who would have thought we would need MORE turkeys!


    thanks for stopping by my Thursday 13! :)


  22. My mom's making lobster this year. Strangely, I'm into it.

    Have a happy turkey, Brenda!

  23. Lobster? That sounds cool. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  24. Okay. Now I'm hungry. And I have no idea what we're doing for Thanksgiving this year. I'd better get on that.

  25. It's interesting how you can see the regional areas for different types of food - except for California. It seemed to grow everything!

  26. That was some interesting info. I am glad I am not a turkey (despite what my sister says).

  27. Julia Smith,
    Good point. It is neat to identify which states grow what. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  28. Sandy Carlson,
    Ha! I'm glad you're not a turkey too. I appreciate your visit and hope your holiday's great!

  29. Oh my, you've enlightened me (or should I say en"Heavy"ied me ;)

  30. Gel,
    Ha! You're right. I too gain weight over the holidays. Hope you have a good one!

    Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

  31. Milady, Wow! That was some list! You also have quite a list of comments!

    Anyway, have a terrific Turkey Day! Say hi to C and the boys, as well as your Mom and Dad.

    I'll see you at Christmas!

    Love to all.