I was pretty sure I wasn't the only person who cooked Thanksgiving dinner in front of, not a propped-up cookbook, but a laptop.
It turns out the New York Times agrees. In fact, the paper did an analysis of search terms by region and by time, to see what conclusions could be drawn.
First of all, many more people are using the Internet than they used to. In fact, the day or two before Thanksgiving is cooking sites' equivalent of Black Friday for cybershopping sites; for example, Allrecipes.com builds server capacity for the day before Thanksgiving, then uses only half of it the rest of the year. Similarly, Google searches for Thanksgiving recipes have climbed steadily, doubling from 2007 to 2008, the article indicated.
Even the venerable Butterball hotline has switched to Twitter.
Second, people search for different types of recipes depending on the time of day. "At Allrecipes.com, pie searches got the most action on Wednesday morning," the Times said. "But by 10 a.m., people began earnest hunts for sweet potato casserole and stuffing recipes. By noon, 100,000 people had searched for mashed potato recipes. The real outlier is gravy. If this Thanksgiving Day is anything like last year’s, most searches will slow by 10 a.m. But not gravy. That vexing cook’s kryptonite should peak about 3 p.m."
People also do different searches depending on where they are. In the Southeast, it's broccoli casserole. In North Carolina, it's sweet potatoes. In Mississippi, the second-most popular pie is pecan, while in Wisconsin, it's apple. And in the Midwest, it's cheese balls. "Do people in Indiana just forget how to make it each year, or are cheese balls winning new converts?" the article wondered.
I have to admit, though, that I didn't do any online searching this year. I use the same recipes I've used for several years -- which, it is true, I Googled in the first place (except for the pie crust recipe, which came from my mom) -- that I store on the computer in a single Word file, along with the canonical ingredient list for the grocery store.