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U.S. Department of Agriculture

What does that Thanksgiving meal cost?

What does that Thanksgiving meal cost?

Just a smidgen more.

The oft-heard phrase for second helpings at the Thanksgiving table applies equally to the cost of the meal. The tab for the feast edged up less than a dollar from last year, and has increased about $21 since Ronald Reagan was midway through his second presidential term.

Don’t blame the turkey, which got only slightly pricier because of an outbreak of avian influenza in the Midwest last spring, nor the pumpkin pie filling, which has grown scarce because rains spoiled the harvest in Illinois.

The leading role in every Thanksgiving story is energy, which drives the cost of agricultural commodities more than any other factor, agricultural...