Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
If you’re wondering what to make to go that that steak or chicken tonight, why not consider the most popular side dishes showing up on American dinner tables?
Here are the top 10 American side dishes as of 2011.
10. Mixed vegetables
Mixed vegetables, whether from a can or freezer bag, come in at number ten on the list of the most popular side dishes in American homes. Most people doctor these veggie combos by adding salt and pepper, soy sauce, butter, or seasoned salt.
President George Bush Senior may not have liked broccoli, but Americans have a different view. Fresh, steamed, boiled or baked broccoli made the top ten list. Health and weight concerns are the most common reason for including these little trees on dinner plates across the country.
White rice leads the way over flavored rice mixes and brown rice in the list of American side dishes. Most people serve rice plain, unlike the norm in earlier decades when gravy was typically served with rice.
Peas, usually straight from the can to pot to table continue to make the top ten list. Frozen peas come in second, but fresh peas don’t even come near the top ten rating. Most people have never cooked them.
6. Green salad
Green salads are a typical side dish in restaurants, but come in lower on the list of American side dishes at home. Most at-home salads now come from pre-washed bags. Romaine and Spring Mix are now more popular than the iceberg on the east and west coast, while iceberg still wins in the Midwest.
Cooked carrots, most often from the freezer or a can, come in at the number five position. Raw carrots and home-cooked carrots are also popular choices with families, especially those with young children.
4. Baked potatoes
While Americans are most likely to select French fries as their side dish in a family or fast food restaurant (and increasingly, even in more upscale restaurants) at home, baked potatoes are one of the top potato choices as a side dish. Microwaved potatoes are the norm for singles and couples, while families opt more for the old-fashioned oven baked style.
3. Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes edged out baked spuds to make position three on the list of favorite American side dishes. But most of those piles of fluffy creamy potatoes came from a box, rather than a fresh potato. A lack of time or not knowing how to make mashed potatoes are the two most common reasons given for opting for flakes.
2. Green beans
Green beans sprinkled with a variety of herbs, or drizzled with olive oil or flavored oils show that American side dishes have become a little more sophisticated than the “dump a can and heat” version of vegetables from only a few decades ago.
For decades, corn has held the number one place as the most common American side dish, and the trend shows no signs of changing. Canned or frozen corn outpaces corn on the cob, except in summer when fresh corn wins. Clearly frozen cobs are not tempting enough people to include on-the-cob corn year round.