It’s dressing, not stuffing. And other unmistakable holiday traditions of the South.

Every family has its own Thanksgiving traditions, including special dishes, table decor and group activities.

Many of these traditions can vary by region ― and even by state. Growing up in the South, I experienced some special customs and food items that I’ve since learned are not necessarily the norm in other parts of the country.

In honor of the food-centric holiday, I looked back at my Southern traditions to identify some key elements. Although this list is by no means comprehensive, and certain items can apply in other regions, it is unmistakably Southern. Without further ado, here are 10 features of a Southern Thanksgiving.

Dressing, Not Stuffing

That delicious starchy dish you eat with your turkey? In the South, people tend to call it dressing instead of stuffing ― even if it was prepared inside the bird.

Speaking Of Dressing…

You’re likely to feast on varieties like the classic cornbread dressing ― as well as oyster dressing and shrimp and grits dressing (shoutout to the Gulf Coast region).

So. Many. Casseroles.

Much like the Midwest, the South is a casserole lover’s wonderland, as many recipes are passed down for generations. Green bean casserole is certainly a Southern Thanksgiving staple. Thanksgiving potlucks are often filled with a variety of other casserole dishes ― from corn to potato to squash.

Special Sides

In addition to the traditional cranberries and mashed potatoes, Southerners often serve up some regional favorites, like deviled eggs, mac and cheese, corn pudding, pimento cheese spread, and even Cajun dishes like gumbo.

Pecan Pie, Please

Of course pumpkin and apple are classic Thanksgiving pies, but pecan pie is also a standard fixture in Southern households. Sweet potato pie has Southern roots as well.

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