DETROIT (WWJ) – Family, friends, food, and a few days off work — what’s not to love?

Whether you’re cooking the food or simply enjoying the feast, Thanksgiving meals undoubtedly offer something for everyone. But for some, it’s what comes after the meal that really strikes their fancy.

Nearly eight in ten (79%) U.S. adults agree having a fridge full of leftovers is the best thing about hosting Thanksgiving, according to a recent Harris Poll. This could also explain why seven in ten (71%) disagree with the notion that they’d rather eat in a restaurant than cook Thanksgiving dinner.

What’s the star of the traditional table?

The turkey (39%) rules the roost when Americans vote on which traditional dish they most look forward to at Thanksgiving, followed by stuffing (23%) and pumpkin pie (12%). Farther down the line, Americans also look forward to mashed potatoes (9%), sweet potatoes (6%), and cranberry sauce (3%).

Generation and gender also appear to play roles in picking favorites. While the turkey reigns supreme among all, Millennials are less likely than all other generations to say it’s what they most look forward to (30% vs. 39% Gen Xers, 46% Baby Boomers, and 45% Matures). However, they’re more likely – along with Gen Xers – to say they’re looking forward to the mashed potatoes (16% & 10% vs. 5% Baby Boomers & 2% Matures). Women are also more likely than men to show a penchant for pumpkin pie (15% vs. 9%).

Not-so-traditional feasting

While turkey may be the most anticipated dish, it doesn’t necessarily mean feasters aren’t open to trying something new with their bird. When asked about several alternatives to a traditional roasted turkey, half of Americans show an interest in giving grilled turkey (52%) or deep fried turkey (49%) a try, with an additional one in ten saying they’ve already tried a deep fried bird or will be giving it a go this year.

Nearly three in ten (28%) are interested in trying a turducken (a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, for the uninitiated) at their Thanksgiving dinner. And despite all the turkey lovers out there, one quarter (25%) say they’d be interested in skipping the turkey completely.

When it comes to the other dishes on the table, one-fifth (20%) of Americans say their Thanksgiving meals will include at least one gluten-free “fix” for a traditional item. Among those planning a gluten-free fix, the most common substitutions are rolls/bread (61%), gravy (58%), stuffing (53%), and pies/desserts (36%). Fewer, but still a notable number, are planning to sub gluten-free casseroles (36%).

So why exactly are so many planning for gluten-free options? While 72% have a reason for taking such action – most prominently that someone at the meal has been diagnosed with celiac disease (27%) or gluten sensitivity (26%) – nearly three in ten (28%) say there’s no specific reason.



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