Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Geography of the Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow across the United States people will be sitting down to eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The tradition largely depends on where you live in the country.

The traditional Thanksgiving menu can be hugely influenced by geography. For example if you live in the north or west then you will probably have cranberry sauce with your turkey; while those who live in the southern states will mostly be enjoying sweet potato casserole. Nearly everyone will be eating turkey. But how you prepare your turkey can also be shaped by where you live. Tell me if your turkey is smoked, roasted or fried and I can probably tell you if you come from the mid-west, the east coast or California.

The Los Angeles Times has used data from Google to determine the Thanksgiving foods searched for in different regions of the United States. You can read the results of their analysis in What will be on your Thanksgiving plate? It depends on where you’ll be. The article includes a little tool which can show you the Thanksgiving foods that are most searched for in each state.

This Thanksgiving America will consume around 250 million turkeys, millions of barrels of cranberries and hundreds of thousands of acres worth of green beans. If you are interested in where your turkey was raised and where your brussels sprouts were grown then you need Esri's Where Does Your Thanksgiving Meal Come From? interactive map.

The map looks at the origins of the traditional Thanksgiving vegetables, turkey and sweet dishes. It includes separate maps showing where turkeys, cranberries, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, brussels sprouts, pumpkins and pecans are grown and farmed in the United States.

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