"Not So Humble Pie."
"Mad About Mashes."
"The Life of Pie."
"The Great Pumpkin Challenge."
"Nuts, Butter, Hearts Aflutter."
Thanksgiving is here! These are just a few of the headlines we have endured enjoyed while poring through this year's issues of Thanksgiving magazines. But never fear, there's a lot of excitement in the ideas and trends for Thanksgiving 2013. And we're here to tell you all about it.
As you may know from previous years, we're a little bit obsessed with Thanksgiving. Food magazines give it their all -- trying to one-up last year's turkey, reinvent classic pies and find a place to cram more of this year's 'it' ingredient. And we enjoy following every move.
Today, we'll discuss the trends in this year's coverage as we see them. Later this week we'll share an index of every recipe from this year's Thanksgiving magazines, so you can dive in and explore everything you might want to add to this year's Thanksgiving table. Then, over the next three weeks, we'll post a Thanksgiving recipe every day, to let you know our thoughts on what to make and what to skip this year.
And one more order of business. This post is filled word clouds we made that illustrate the frequency of certain words being used in recipe titles. The graphic at the top is made from every word in this year's recipe titles. The bigger the word, the more frequent (for instance, there's more pie than turkey this year). Lots of words that are only used once or twice don't appear. Make sense?
Let's dig in!
Big Trend: What's out?
First, let's talk about what's not here. Most noticeably, cauliflower. It's been big in recent years, turning up in a number of inventive dishes. This year, not a single recipe! Another recent trendy ingredient -- kale -- is on the wane. There's a lot less of it this year -- relegated to the salads and appetizers. No showy kale stuffings this year. And continuing its losing streak, there's still very little corn. There's one lone corn pudding this year. Somebody give corn a break, please.
Big Trend: Appetizers
Do you enjoy a multi-course Thanksgiving dinner, but worry there's not enough food (or enough cooking)? Then you'll be happy this year: Many of the food magazines feature entire spreads of fairly elaborate appetizers for your guests to nosh on while they wait for the big meal. We like the idea in theory, but we worry that it might make things that much more complicated in the kitchen. Personally, we're lucky if we remember to set out a bowl of olives for guests to snack on.
Big Trend: Tried-and-True Turkeys
If you've read this blog for a while, you know that we love new techniques for turkey (see spatchcocked and make-ahead). This year, you'll see turkeys cooked in homemade parchment bags and an update on Julia Child's stuffed turkey. But for the most part, the turkeys this year are pretty traditional, with a few grilled, fried and slathered variations thrown in for good measure. On the whole, this year's turkeys keep it classic, with very basic seasonings.
Big Trend: Beyond Turkey
Some magazines are thinking outside the turkey box, as it were. There are recipes for cornish game hens, duck, ham, and even a BBQ ribs feature. We're personally sticking with the turkey (can you imagine serving up a plate of ribs?). But we love to see these new ideas. Do you deviate from turkey on Thanksgiving?
Big Trend: This Year's 'It' Dessert:
Brûléed Pumpkin Pie
If you want your dessert table to be on trend this year, you'd better get a blowtorch. Three different magazines are featuring variations on Brûléed Pumpkin Pie. We can't wait to try one.
And check out the pie-to-cake ratio. Cakes have been on the rise in recent years, but this time around it's all about pie. Sorry, cake!
Big Trend: Savory Desserts
Desserts overall this year are chockablock with savory notes. In pie crusts alone, there's curry, pumpkin seeds, cheddar, rye and other savory elements. Other surprising dessert ingredients include black pepper, red wine and blue cheese. We guess this is the natural extension of the salty-sweet trend that's been showing up everywhere in the past few years.
Now, let's take a look at some different parts of the meal, and what's showing up this year.
Lots of cornbread stuffings, lots of oysters. And there's lots of sausage, which we're still glad to see, even though it happens every year.
Mashed potatoes' reign of Thanksgiving tyranny returns. Last year, there were more sweet potatoes than white potato dishes. But white potatoes are back on top this year.
Side Dish Trends
It seems that everyone (your family and food magazines) wants you to serve green beans at Thanksgiving -- that's nothing new this year.
That's it for this year's big T-day trends. What are you thoughts on these trends? See something you love? Or hate?
And check out previous trends from previous years. (Remember leeks? Were we ever so young?)