Gender, Geography May Shape Thanksgiving Feast

November 21, 2007 ( - Most of us will be gathering with friends and family for Thanksgiving tomorrow - but how we gather may be a matter of gender and geography.

According to the 2007 Butterball survey, an online survey of 1,800 American adults ages 20 and older, there are some similarities across the country when it comes to Thanksgiving, but there are also a few gender-based and regional differences in Thanksgiving attitudes and traditions.

The top five side dishes that Americans across all regions are most likely to have for Thanksgiving dinner are:

  • mashed potatoes (95%)
  • cranberry sauce (81%)
  • candied yams (63%)
  • green bean casserole (59%), and
  • gravy (46%)

Women are more likely than men to prefer time with family, while men are more likely to look forward to the turkey and playing/watching football. Men and women also differ on their favorite parts of the turkey: Men are twice as likely to prefer the drumstick, while the majority of women stick to breast meat, according to the survey.

Most families will host an average of 7.5 guests for dinner, compared to 6 guests in 2006.

Regional Differences

An overwhelming 83% in the North say “stuffing,” but in the South, Americans were split between saying “stuffing” and “dressing.”

Candied yams (or do you say sweet potatoes?) are a major staple of the Southern states’ Thanksgiving, with 72% of families likely to have the side dish with dinner, versus just 47% in New England. Americans in the mountain states (Montana, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) are more likely than any other region to serve pumpkin pie, with nearly 70% of families enjoying the traditional dessert.