5 Popular National Food Days...
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National Potato Chip Day. That’s right. National. Potato. Chip. Day. A holy day for potato chip lovers. It’s when plain, barbecue, onion garlic, and sour cream and chive lovers can come together and eat equally with no fear of recrimination or lectures about “why my potato chip is the best flavor.” During one day of the year, March 14th, the potato chip is elevated to its deserved spot on the food chain.
What? You didn’t know about this national food day? For shame. Actually neither did I. I had heard of national coffee day where places like Dunkin' Donuts gave away free coffee, but I just assumed this and others like it were simply marketing gimmicks. I never knew that almost every single day of the year is a national food day of some kind of another. From National Pigs in a Blanket Day to National Zucchini Bread Day, there is always some reason to celebrate food. Some days celebrate more than one.
So what is this all about? Is this real or is it a marketing gimmick? Both. National food days have been proclaimed by presidents and other executive departments such as the USDA, a clear sign of support for the food industry. (Bill Clinton proclaimed American Wine Appreciation WEEK – yeah!) Cunning marketers and advertisers have jumped on the bandwagon and created their own food days, which then catch on, which in turn makes it “real.” Real or fake, national food days are here to stay so we might as well enjoy them. Below are five of the most popular national food days.
5. National Grilled Cheese Day
Grilled cheese is honored each year on April 12th and what’s not to love? Buttery bread with ooey gooey melted cheese. From simple sandwiches to gourmet masterpieces, many people think grilled cheese is nature’s perfect food. Except that nature doesn’t exactly make cheese or bread. It’s made from stuff that you find in nature so that’s close enough. Pair your grilled cheese with tomato soup for a perfect soup and sandwich combination that’s so delicious you’ll want to do it again during National Tomato Soup Day. Except that there is no holiday for tomato soup. But there IS one for homemade soup. That happens on February 3rd of each year. Homemade is better for you than Campbell’s anyway. If that’s not enough there is also a National Tomato Day on June 1st. I know that’s not soup, but crush a few, add some spices and heat it up….it’s close enough. Why not just have National Grilled Cheese Month? Oh yeah. March is also National Grilled Cheese Month.
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4. National Pie Day
Not to be confused with Pi Day which honors the math formula, this national food day is Credit: Benimoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44545509@N00/2109973292celebrated each year on January 23rd. As history tells it, pies have been around since the early Romans, starting out not as desserts but as crustless dishes made to hold the filing. It evolved into a crust based dish, known as a “coffyn” in Europe where there was more crust than filling and the filling was mostly meat. It is believed that the fruit pies we think of today originated in the 1500’s when they were made for Queen Elizabeth I.  Let them eat pie, I say. It tastes better than cake. So there, Marie Antoinette! Not only should we have pie on January 23rd, we should also eat it on April 13th of each year because that day is devoted to peaches! Fresh peach pie is DIVINE! And how coincidental is it that National Peach Day is the day after National Grilled Cheese Day? All cheese lovers know how well fruit and cheese go together, so it’s reason number 82 to have a grilled cheese sandwich!
3. National Taco Day
Credit: vegan feast catering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25128194@N02/3308555430National Taco Day is October 3rd. Believed to have been invented in the 1500’s by the Aztecs, this traditional Mexican dish is comprised of a hard or soft tortilla filled with meat such as beef or chicken, vegetables or fish, and finished off with various toppings such as salsa or cheese. Since the tortillas hold the filling, that makes it sort of like a pie, doesn’t it? So on National Pie Day should we make taco pie in addition to a fruit pie? That makes perfect, yummy sense.
2. National Margarita Day
National Margarita Day is celebrated on February 22nd. No, a margarita is not technically a food, but perfect margaritas are made with fresh fruit, so that qualifies it. Besides, it’s listed in the national food day registry so any argument to the contrary is moot. Various people lay claim to the creation of the margarita. Whoever the inventor is did the world a marvelous favor. For more information, let’s listen to professor Hans Vonn Puppet explain more about National Margarita Day. Is it any wonder it’s so popular?
Know what goes great with margaritas? TACOS! So on National Margarita Day be sure to
Credit: Cillian Storm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3471274088/ have some tacos on hand and vice versa. Enjoy the muy caliente combination in February AND October. Have you ever had a peach margarita? Well, how about making one on National Peach Day? See how all of these food days are connected? Best of all, the third weekend of February is National Margarita WEEKEND!
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1. National Pancake Day
The number one national food day is pancake day and it has a bit of an interesting history. It appears that in the United States the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) corporation is responsible for its creation. However, it loosely follows its International Pancake Day counterpart which in many parts of the world takes place the day before Lent and is simply known as “Pancake Day.” IHOP capitalizes on this opportunity and gives away free short stacks all day in exchange for a voluntary donation to an IHOP charity.Credit: jeffreyw: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7927684@N03/4577869719/
International Pancake Day has many wonderful traditions like the transatlantic race that takes place between a town in the state of Kansas and a town named Olney in the country of England. Every year for more than 60 years a race has been held in these two towns where women run down the street flipping pancakes. Whoever has the fastest time between the two towns is the winner. The pancake race has been held in Olney in one form or another for more than 500 years. Because it falls around Lent, National and International Pancake Day is held in February, but the day changes each year.
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The featured national food days are but a smattering of the hundreds available. If so inclined you could have a party every day of the year in celebration. Start your own traditions such as National Turkey Neck Soup day on March 31st, or National Candied Orange Peel Day in May, or National caviar Day in July, or National Beer Lover’s Day in September, or National Kegger Weekend in October (totally copying Octoberfest), or National Pfeffernuesse Day (don’t ask) in December, or…