Google trends can tell us a lot, from the country’s top political concerns to the likelihood of traffic jams. They’re also a good indicator of what Americans have on their plate in any given season. What’s on the menu for December? Hot chocolate, peppermint, and tamales. According to The Rhythm of Food, a collaboration between Google News Lab and Truth & Beauty, searches for all three peak around this time of year.
As WIRED reports, the data visualization project consists of hundreds of infographics representing 12 years worth of food-related searches. The graphs below show how certain keywords rise to prominence during specific months. For instance, more people search for stew during the winter than the fall, and searches for gefilte fish see a sharp spike around Passover.
The website’s clock graphs chart the trajectory of food trends though the seasons as well as through the years, with each year represented by a different color. One chart shows that—surprise, surprise—pumpkin spice lattes trend around autumn, but it also illustrates that searches for the term have been cropping up earlier in recent years.
The Rhythm of Food project began by plotting data points linearly. This is a handy way to look at the rise and fall of shorter-lived food trends (kale, for example, has been declining in popularity since 2014, while searches for cauliflower are on the rise). But as their circular infographics show, breaking searches down by week can tell us even more, like that chia seeds are a hot post-New Year’s diet food and people are more likely to search for marshmallows around Thanksgiving than summertime because of its popularity as a sweet potato topper.
All images courtesy of the Google News Lab/Truth & Beauty.