When is the typical Thanksgiving day feast eaten?
November 22, 2007 9:05 PM   Subscribe

When is the typical Thanksgiving day feast eaten?

My extended family typically converges on the appointed family member's house around noon and digs in by about one o'clock. So, in my family the Thanksgiving meal is always a lunch. Is this uncommon? I wonder what percentage of families start carving turkey past six o'clock.
posted by spork to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I grew up with it being anytime between noon and 3pm, depending on which side of the family. That was in the Midwest and East Coast.

In Los Angeles, it varies even more widely, but the more solid family types here that I've spent it with have celebrated at 2 or 3pm.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 9:11 PM on November 22, 2007

We eat around 4ish. Everyone gets to my aunt's around 3, then we chat and eat chips/dip/whatever until 4.
posted by Verdandi at 9:12 PM on November 22, 2007

We eat it as a dinner, around 6 or 7.
posted by ORthey at 9:14 PM on November 22, 2007

In theory, we eat in the afternoon.

In practice, we spend the afternoon having drinks and discussing whose fault it was that the turkey didn't start thawing until noon, &c, and sit down to eat slightly after dark.

This year (I'm Canadian; we had Thanksgiving weeks ago), I decided it was time to be honest about it, and brought fruit and cheese plates over so we could nibble until dinnertime...
posted by kmennie at 9:19 PM on November 22, 2007

It's very family dependant. I come from a large Catholic family, so there are about 10,000 inlaws, all having their own family traditions.

My most important one was at about noon at the family matriarch. Though then I'd drive from Sioux Falls SD to Wisconsin and have another that same day, about 6 hours later.

If I were to decide on my own, it'd be 12:00 noon.
posted by sanka at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2007

Late lunch. 2:00.
posted by emelenjr at 9:22 PM on November 22, 2007

My family always eats at noon, no later.
posted by Serena at 9:23 PM on November 22, 2007

early afternoon.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 9:24 PM on November 22, 2007

Mid afternoon. we don't eat dinner
posted by Autarky at 9:28 PM on November 22, 2007

We always have a nice platter of Chatfilter first, but dig into the meal around 4.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:28 PM on November 22, 2007

My family has always had it as dinner, 6 or 7 o'clock. Part of the Thanksgiving tradition was to have a snack tray with different types of crackers, dips and cheeses in the early afternoon to hold us over until dinner.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:36 PM on November 22, 2007

Today was at 4.
posted by ALongDecember at 9:37 PM on November 22, 2007

Dinnertime here, but that's only because the idea of getting it ready earlier is unimaginable.

I do know families who arrange things so that various relatives can manage to visit both sets of parents on the day, getting two meals in the process. It may not be endorsed by the Surgeon General, but it keeps the peace.
posted by dhartung at 9:39 PM on November 22, 2007

Depending on who's hosting between 1pm and 9pm. The mode historically was about 4pm. This year we visited both sides but only had one dinner (but 2 desserts!)
posted by gofargogo at 9:52 PM on November 22, 2007

Appetizers at 12 Dinner starts promptletly at 1, (if your late, you do the cleaning) pies and desserts at about 3ish.
posted by lilkeith07 at 9:53 PM on November 22, 2007

I prefer to cook/watch football/relax/chat the whole day, and eat at 5. That way there's still time to clean up and watch a movie and eat a traditional turkey/stuffing/cranberry sandwich before bed.
posted by ruwan at 9:54 PM on November 22, 2007

We always have it before 6:00 PM. The time varies from year to year, but it's usually either 2-3 or 5 PM.
posted by hjo3 at 9:56 PM on November 22, 2007

Grew up on West coast, and we've always eaten between 6-8pm, depending on when the everything was ready. Always struck me as an old-fasioned, East coast thing to do to eat any earlier.
Kinda like people who call lunch dinner and dinner supper.
posted by baserunner73 at 10:00 PM on November 22, 2007

When I was growing up in Chicago, it was usually on the table by 2:00. And the typical Sunday 'dinner' was always eaten at noon. I still don't understand why, except that tradition demanded it.
posted by maryh at 10:07 PM on November 22, 2007

We ate at about 5 pm. Now we're basically dead from too much food, wine, and hilarity. YMMV.

When I was a kid (70s/80s), I think we usually ate around 3 o'clock.
posted by rtha at 10:14 PM on November 22, 2007

Boston area here and we always eat around 2pm. It used to be when the football (high school) game was over, but none of us go anymore.
Like maryh, our Sunday dinner was always early--more like 1-2pm though.
posted by jdl at 10:15 PM on November 22, 2007

We actually had a slightly heated debate about this today, as we sat down to eat around 5:30. Many people here in Boston (especially the big Catholic families I grew up with, it seems) eat early, 12-3. We always eat later, 5-7.

Incidentally, there was an article in the NYT today about the health benefits of eating your Thankgiving meal earlier. I would link to it, but I'm too comatose from the massive amounts of food.
posted by lunasol at 10:51 PM on November 22, 2007

Growing up, we always seemed to do it in the early-to-mid afternoon, after church. Now I never seem to get everything on the table until 5:00. I prefer to do it in the early afternoon . . .
posted by bunnie at 11:12 PM on November 22, 2007

We usually eat in the afternoon, 12-2pm
posted by Sufi at 11:32 PM on November 22, 2007

4:15 - 4:40pm.
posted by dhammond at 12:08 AM on November 23, 2007

We usually eat between 2-3. I spent this Thanksgiving with a friend's family this year and we ate at 7. She said they usually ate at about 11pm in the past because her mother had to work on Thanksgiving, and her grandmother was usually asleep on the couch by the time dinner was served.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:12 AM on November 23, 2007

2pm is when we meet. We're eating by 3pmish.
posted by disillusioned at 3:39 AM on November 23, 2007

we try to eat around 6, as late as 8pm.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:04 AM on November 23, 2007

We eat between 3:00-4:00 each year. I know people that eat as early as 1:00 or as late as 7:00 (aka their normal dinner time), so I'm thinking there is no "common" in regards to this.
posted by mjgrady at 6:19 AM on November 23, 2007

Around 5:30-6 pm, same as normal dinners. There are lots of children in the extended family who are little creatures of habit, so not deviating the schedule too much is a good thing for everyone's tempers and tummies.
posted by Dreama at 7:38 AM on November 23, 2007

When it's at our house, four. When at my wife's family, more like 2:30.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:47 AM on November 23, 2007

When my parents host, we eat around 4-5. Last night we hosted, and the timing on a few things wound up a little off, so we wound up eating at six.

But whoever's hosting, there is always a good cheese/crackers/fruit/mustard/nut smorgasbord put out all afternoon long, so the feasting begins early and just ramps up all day to the main event.
posted by Stacey at 7:58 AM on November 23, 2007

Ours was at 1:00, but it can usually be anywhere from 1:00-3:00 depending on who's showing up and how long things take...
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 8:05 AM on November 23, 2007

The past three years we started at 5 PM, to accomodate my brother's kids, as that's when they usually have dinner. Around 2 the cheese and crackers plate (and the hummus and the shrimp with cockail sauce for the apostates) come out for some snacking to keep us from becoming raveners.
posted by mephron at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2007

We have it as an early supper, around 5 or 6, with enough time for people who are traveling to get home early. (Dinner, for those who are curious, is the meal around noon, usually optional on Thanksgiving.)
posted by anaelith at 11:13 AM on November 23, 2007

East coast and we eat between 2 and 4 (depending on how cooperative the turkey is.) Both the Marylanders (Baltimore and Eastern Shore) and the Southerners (VA/TN) agree with this.
posted by desuetude at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2007

We always had Thanksgiving dinner around 2-3 PM in my family. It gives enough time to build ravenous appetites for the feast, without the snacking that would be necessary in a family full of hypoglycemics if we'd waited 'til suppertime. Same goes for Christmas dinner, though we hold it Christmas Eve so kids are free to stuff themselves on stocking goodies Christmas morning without hurting the cook's feelings by being entirely disinterested in dinner.
posted by notashroom at 4:55 PM on November 23, 2007

Starting around 2ish and going to about 4:30 by the time we're done...
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:54 PM on November 24, 2007

We have people over around from around 3 and serve chips, crackers, dips, etc., have the actual dinner at around 6, and then afterwards, all of our friends who are in the area are invited over for dessert from around 7:30-10, after they finish their own dinners.
posted by lsemel at 9:21 PM on November 24, 2007

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