AP Stylebook guide for Thanksgiving festivities

To help pros writing about November’s holiday festivities (or horrors) this year, here’s a Twitter chat focused on fall culinary terms.


It’s nearly time to gather with family and friends and celebrate that for which we’re most thankful.

What Thanksgiving ends up meaning, to most, is a long and stressful session of food prep followed by group gorging. The event usually finishes with participants loosening their pants and settling down to watch the NFL game or take a nap.

For journalists and PR pros, Thanksgiving can be a busy work time, too. That’s why the AP Stylebook’s editors gave tips on how to correctly write about the festivities in a classic Twitter chat. Here are a few highlights:

It might be correct to call Uncle Ted a gourmand as you watch him practically inhale that sixth serving of mashed potatoes and gravy, but true turkey connoisseurs are gourmets.

Here’s a common error involving Thanksgiving food:

Given that we’re talking about kitchen prep, correct AP style is to say foil, not aluminum foil or tin foil. Kitchen parchment is what you use to line baking sheets for cookies, not parchment paper.

The editors offered this reminder, too:

If you’re keeping warm with a mug of hot cocoa along with your turkey and dressing—and wondering if it’s hot cocoa or hot chocolate—the answer is in the ingredients: the former is made with cocoa powder; the latter, melted chocolate.

Also, keep most bread references one word: breadbox, breadcrumb, cornbread, breadstick. Bread pudding is the exception.

[EVENT: Join us in Miami for the Do-It-All Communicator Conference.]

When you’ve had enough of family bonding, you’ll probably throw back a few alcoholic beverages. According to the AP Stylebook, most drinks are lowercase, including bloody mary, old fashioned, and mojito. However, a few—such as Negroni—are capitalized.

Remember that the only true Champagne is the sparkling wine from France’s Champagne region. If it’s made outside that area, it’s just sparkling wine. This distinction definitely includes any boxed wines your aunts are likely to have in tow.

Let’s not forget about hipster Thanksgiving celebrations:

Along with those free-range eggs in your pumpkin pie, eating local should be described as a farm-to-table meal. However, that cruelty-free meat and cheese tray should be stocked with farmstead cheese.

Finally, if you decide to throw in the towel on the entire affair:

Topics: PR

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