Great stuffing! Who made it? Maybe not who you think

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By Martha C. White

American cooks might be slaving away over a hot stove next Thursday, but some of those goodies might not be as homemade as their guests think.

Restaurant delivery service GrubHub Inc. took a look at what people order on Thanksgiving, to reveal which restaurant dishes people are buying to supplement their home-cooked feasts.

In a word: stuffing. Stuffing orders are thirteen times higher on Thanksgiving than throughout the rest of the year.

American cooks might be slaving away over a hot stove next Thursday, but some of those goodies might not be as homemade as their guests think.Matthew Mead / Today

“Stuffing is such a personal and individual choice. I feel like it’s one of the most polarizing menu items,” said GrubHub spokeswoman Allie Mack. Making one kind of stuffing and ordering another could be a concession to conflicting tastes.

Harried cooks are getting dessert delivered, too. Orders for pumpkin pie jump twelvefold, and twice as many pecan pies are ordered.

“Pies I kind of understand,” Mack said. “I could see it being a case of, ‘I’ve got everything else covered, I just don’t want to deal with the desserts now.’”

It seems people get a hankering for traditional fare in the two weeks immediately before and after Thanksgiving, too, when GrubHub reports significant increases in foods like cooked squash, spice cake and fried turkey. There’s even a tiny uptick in orders of green bean casserole.

Mack said this could be attributed to the growing “Friendsgiving” trend among millennials, whose get-togethers tend to fall around the holiday but not on the day itself.

GrubHub’s data show that home cooks are burning the midnight oil to get ready for the big day — and they need sustenance to get through all that chopping, trussing and stuffing: Orders between midnight and 4 a.m. on the night before Thanksgiving last year spiked up to six times higher than normal.

Oh, and if you’re getting a turkey dinner, don’t expect breakfast to come out of that kitchen, too. GrubHub says orders for bagels, coffee — hot or iced — and eggs are higher on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. Takeout orders jumped 400 percent during the 9 a.m. hour of Thanksgiving morning last year.

Last year, it seemed, plenty of Americans didn’t get into the spirit at all: One in five orders on Thanksgiving Day included pizza, 8 percent included fries and nearly as many included chicken wings. Of course, it’s possible that these customers already had their fill of turkey and gravy and just wanted more traditional snacks to go with their football, or were fueling up for a pre-Black Friday shopping trip.

Speaking of gravy, that’s one place where home cooks don’t cheat: GrubHub’s data shows that the gravy you’re pouring over your plate is probably homemade — in case the lumps don’t give it away.