Chicken was the primary protein used in American home cooking this year, according to a recent survey from the National Chicken Council (NCC).

"Chicken has been popular during COVID-19 because it's easy to prepare and great for meal prepping. A staple of many diverse meals, it is no question that chicken is a versatile protein," said NCC spokesman Tom Super.

This was true in my home. With more time on my hands during the lockdown, I tried more chicken recipes than I ever had. I figured if the recipe was not very good, at least I did not have a lot of money wrapped into it. As a cattle producer, I have always used recipes that called for ingredients I had in the freezer (beef), however, a kill date for fat cattle was months out during the lockdown and I was trying to make some of what we already had last.

With that said, I will be using steaks and prime rib for Christmas and Christmas Eve, with the traditional but much smaller ham, and I did buy a turkey for Thanksgiving.

However, it seems not everyone is sticking to traditional meals for the holidays. NCC asked American consumers about their plans for celebratory meals.

Half of the respondents said they would rather eat chicken over ham (52%) or turkey (49%) for a holiday meal. More than half said they would replace traditional options for chicken wings as part of their Thanksgiving (57%) or Christmas (61%) dinner.

I found this interesting, so I took to Facebook to ask my friends what their holiday plans were. This is obviously a much smaller group of respondents than the 999 surveyed by NCC, but I found it interesting that of my 50 respondents 48 of them said they would still have a traditional meal.

More than 10 commented that they would be doing more baking this year in their spare time. Many of them mentioned that deviled eggs are a must have. If this is a trend across the U.S. than this should be good for holiday egg sales.

Many commented that they would be cutting the portion sizes, but they still planned to make all the family holiday dishes they had come to know and love. In a year that has been everything but normal, a traditional meal sounds like just the ticket, however, with the current economic problems some people are facing and the smaller gatherings I suppose I understand the desire for serving the economically friendly and easy to prepare chicken.

As for me, I am looking forward to the comfort a traditional holiday meal will bring.