Pennsylvania’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish isn’t baked potatoes. Nor is it green bean casserole. And it’s not that gooey ambrosia that Aunt Nancy brings every year. Deb Kiner for the Harrisburg Patriot-News sifted through the state-by-state list of preferences to find out what dish will accompany most turkeys on Pennsylvania tables this upcoming week.
The findings are based on Zippia’s review of Google Trends.
In nine states, the winner is mashed potatoes (and its spud-based offshoots like hash-brown casserole and baked potatoes).
In Pennsylvania, however, the favorite side dish is stuffing.
Or is it filling? Or, perhaps, dressing?
Call it what you will, the notion of placing bread and herbs into the body cavity of an animal to be cooked and eaten goes back a long way.
Online resource Market Basket reports that some time between the second century BC and the first century AD, a chef named Apicius captured a recipe for chicken stuffed with vegetables, herbs, nuts, chopped liver, and brains.
Thankfully, the ingredients list has shifted since then.
The dish’s appearance at the Pilgrims’ feast is possible but not confirmed. The settlers had easy access to rice and could have tried cooking a fowl with it inside.
By 1836, however, it had become a Thanksgiving staple. The 1970s brought about a major shift in its preparation, with the introduction of Stovetop Stuffing. The link between the bird and its savory-bready contents was, for the most part, severed then, never to quite be the same.
Pennsylvania Thanksgiving tables share their affinity for stuffing with New Hampshire and Maine.
Residents of Ohio and Indiana go for green beans; South Dakota and New York opt for sweet potatoes. Alabama riffs on that vegetable, preferring sweet potato casserole.
Read more about favorite Thanksgiving side dish rankings is in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.