What Turkey Haters Say Is the Best Thanksgiving Meal Alternative

Thanksgiving may be known interchangeably as Turkey Day, but that doesn't mean that everyone's on board with this feathered friend's standard prominence on the menu. This year, turkey haters might be even more smug than usual, as turkey prices are higher than ever before, thanks to the fact that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza "wiped out" flocks of the avian species earlier in 2022, per a Wells Fargo report that estimates turkey will be 23% more expensive this year than in 2021. The report authors recommend shopping early to find the size and brand of turkey you want.

Sadly, turkey isn't the only traditionally served Thanksgiving menu item taking a financial hit this year, according to the report. Cranberry prices are also rising thanks to weather issues and rising production costs. Plus, many such crops are not meeting the rigid requirements expected of fresh fruit. White potatoes are in much the same boat as cranberries, although sweet potatoes are in surplus right now. (So, it's not all bad news.)

Even though the U.S. enjoys around 5.558 billion pounds of produced turkey every year, per the National Turkey Federation, it's not everyone's cup of tea. Mashed surveyed readers to find out what they prefer, instead.Turkey is a nutritional knockout, as a heart-healthy, low-fat, protein-rich meal option, says American Heart Association. Despite all that, some people just aren't interested in it, so Mashed surveyed 622 readers to see what they would rather see adorning the holiday table.

The clear front-runner in this survey was ham, with 47.11% of the vote. This option won't be cheaper than a turkey, as larger Honeybaked Hams retail at a much higher price point. However, it is quite a time-saver, as a glazed ham can be served cold or heated for a few minutes in the oven. That fact alone can be worth the added expense for weary chefs.

In a distant second place, turkey's cousin chicken earned 30.55% of the vote, with 190 people in favor of its spot on the Thanksgiving menu. And at least a few fancy-pants respondents chimed in, with 53 people (8.52%) preferring lobster instead of turkey. Salmon took the next spot with 8.04% of the vote, followed in last place by tofu (5.79%).

No matter what main course is served up at your Thanksgiving feast, may the blessings be bountiful and the side dishes be hot.

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