This Thanksgiving, How Many “Viral Foods” Are Making it To Your Table?



Have a Viral Thanksgiving!

Food trends come and go, and usually without fanfare. But it seems lately with the proliferation of food television, food competition shows and the internet, we are bombarded with the same foods and flavors. And when a holiday like Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll find these foods jammed into every Thanksgiving recipe, from stuffing to the mashed potatoes– even the turkey itself!  Here is our countdown of the most common and potentially most overdone foods that have gone from popular to viral – and are most likely going to find their way into your Thanksgiving meal this year.

This could be the next biggest drinking game.

#11 Locally Sourced Everything


This isn’t a specific food, but more people are demanding that their foods in stores and restaurants are organic, and come from local suppliers.  At least 10% of you should expect to hear your hosts tell you where every item on your table came from this year.

#10 Quinoa.


Those of you who are at the front of the trends, will think this is old news, but Quinoa is just getting started.  It’s starting to show up in salads and some foods in restaurants. It takes a while to cook at home, so as soon as they come up with a good “quick” quinoa it will be in everyone’s house. Probably topped with kale, avocado, flax and pumpkin seeds.  Quinoa sides will be popping up all over America.

#9  Avocado.


This is probably on its way out from a “viral” standpoint, but you’ll find lots of avocado on every menu. It’s the healthy fat and before kale, was considered essential.  Guacamole will  most likely on your pre-dinner menu, and you’ll find it in your Thanksgiving salads and leftover sandwiches too.

#8 Umami.


There are basic tastes that everyone can identify – salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. Japanese cooking also features umami, that savory flavor that you get from deep browned foods and slow cooked richness, or foods like olives, tomatoes, cheese or anchovies. Don’t know how to add or enrich the umami in your food, there’s an additive for that, like an umami salt.  Only the trendiest of households will feature umami this year;  be on the lookout.

#7 Pretzel.


It started out as just a simple snack and now its finding its way into other snacks, rolls and even pretzel crust pizza. Except it really isn’t pretzel so much as a bread dough with salt on it. Once it gets onto fast food menus, it’s officially overdone.  This year you will see pretzel topping on everything at the Thanksgiving table from your sweet potato casserole to your dinner roll basket.  If you can manage to escape having  a pretzel roll stuffed turkey, you’re one of the lucky ones.

#6 Kale.


Suddenly the road to health is paved with kale. It’s added into smoothies, salads, and eaten as a side dish both raw and cooked. There’s even crunchy kale chips. Apparently before kale the human race was doomed. Expect to see this one all over your Thanksgiving table from soups to dessert.

#5 Bacon.


‘Nuff said. Bacon is everywhere, fast food and family restaurants all have a bacon laden menu. You can also get bacon on sweet foods, donuts cakes and pies. The website declared “Bacon is the Duct Tape of Food.”  Bacon will invade your brussel sprouts, your mashed potatoes, and wrap itself around your turkey.  Watch out.  It’s everywhere.

#4 Pumpkin Spice.


Actually two things – there’s pumpkin flavor and there’s pumpkin spice flavor. Cakes, cookies, donuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles are pumpkin flavor with pumpkin spice added. Other products like coffees only have pumpkin spice. In other words, the cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. that goes in a pumpkin pie. The pumpkin beers and ale that are everywhere have some level of both, but are not standard.  You’ll definitely find pumpkin on your table this year, and not just in that pie.

#3 Red Velvet.


The red velvet cake was a standard dessert in the American South forever. What made it popular recently? Probably Paula Deen and her ilk, southern cooks on television. Red velvet cake is just a chocolate cake with red food coloring and some extra butter flavor, yet it is considered unique. You can get standard red velvet cakes, cookies, donuts, whoopee pies, ice cream and cheesecake but now it’s creeping into savory foods. A google image search will turn up items such as red velvet onion rings and fried chicken. There’s premade cake, muffin and brownie mixes too. So you know red velvet is showing up in your desserts, but at least one of you will have to suffer the weirdness of a red velvet biscuit, red velvet breaded poultry or dinner rolls.  Lets just hope your host leaves the mashed potatoes alone.

 #2 Salted Caramel.


This concept actually began in France, in an area known both for a special salt from a dried seabed, and really good chocolate. So a local chef decided to put them together and voila! A star is born. There is some chemistry behind the combination – the salty taste actually complements and brings out the sweet so you don’t need as much sugar, which is a good thing. But it took 20 years for salted caramel to be everywhere – candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes, brownies, donuts, ice cream, coffee, syrups – anything that has chocolate or caramel also is salted now.

#1 Sriracha.


Hot sauce has been around for years and years. Ask anyone who has lived in Louisiana, they’ve eaten it on everything. But somehow, a specific hot sauce from China with the rooster on the bottle is one of the fastest-growing food products in America. It’s the Asian ketchup, everyone loves it! In addition to the standard foods like wings and sandwiches, you can find sriracha potato chips, bread products and crackers, even some desserts. It’s a standard condiment at food trucks, restaurants, and company cafeterias.  Expect to see at least one sriracha influenced dish on your table this year, and expect a bottle to replace some of your old  Thanksgiving condiments at your table.


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Sharon grew up in, and continues to live in suburban Philadelphia and has been a music and comedy fan forever, cutting her teeth musically on Bowie. Monty Python and other British comedies were her earliest passion - the Goodies, Young Ones, Fawty Towers, on and on. She was a regular at the Comedy Factory Outlet in Philadelphia and once did 20 minutes onstage with Harry Anderson. Right now she's loving @midnight for a daily TV fix of comedy (and nerds).

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