Gastro Nerd - Bizarre Food Holidays

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Related tags: 1983, United states, 1979

PubChef presents a selection of unusual dates in the foodies' calendar 1 National Pie Day (23 January). Created by the American Pie Council, the day...

PubChef presents a selection of unusual dates in the foodies' calendar

1 National Pie Day (23 January).

Created by the American Pie Council, the day is dedicated to the celebration of one of America's most traditional foods. Each year, the council sponsors the US National Pie Championships in which pie makers in the US and Canada compete for the "Best pie in America" award. However, credit for the invention of the pie cannot rest with our Yankee friends. Dating back to the ancient Egyptians, the pie became popular in England as early as the 12th-century and arrived in America with the first settlers. Early pies were predominantly meat, made using fowl. The legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles!

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2 National Pretzel Day (26 March).

Introduced in 1983 by the then US representative for Pennsylvania, Robert Walker, in recognition of the contribution made by the numerous pretzel bakeries within Pennsylvania and their impact on the nation's economy. Today the state produces nearly 80% of the country's pretzel supply.

3 National French Fries Day (13 July).

The "French" in the name refers to the method of cutting potatoes into thin strips, but both France and Belgium claim to have invented them.

4 National Junk Food Day (21 July).

To some, every day is a junk food day. For the rest of us, National Junk Food day is an opportunity to indulge in all those foods that would make Gillian McKeith throw up her hands in horror. The day was undoubtedly invented by a reluctant dieter who needed to be able to eat junk food, without guilt, at least once a year.

5 National Cheesecake Day (30 July).

Another excuse to overindulge, the day recognises the cheesecake as a national favourite in North America. Its popularity is due largely to restaurateur Eli Schulman and his company, Eli's Cheesecakes. A respected American writer once proclaimed that cheesecake was the truest democratic dessert: a mix of different ingredients that did not care much for the presence of an upper crust.

6 National Mustard Day (first Saturday in August).

A chance to celebrate the "king of condiments". The name originated when the seeds of the senvy plant were ground into a paste and mixed with "must" (an unfermented wine). One of the oldest and most widely used spices, it is also thought to have medicinal properties.

7 National Watermelon Day (3 August).

An essential element of any Independence Day feast, the watermelon is an American favourite and so important that there is actually a National Watermelon Association which each year crowns its own National Watermelon Queen. This year, the coveted title was awarded to Stephanie Noel Duda of Mission, Texas.

8 National Banana Split Day (25 August).

Invented in 1904 at Strickler's Drug Store in Pennsylvania, a traditional split is filled with scoops of ice cream, assorted syrups, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

9 National Devilled Egg Day (2 November).

No one is clear why this day was set aside, most don't even know what a devilled egg is. So to clear up any uncertainty, a devilled egg is a hard-boiled egg that has been halved, had the yolk scooped out, mashed, blended with pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise and then returned to its socket.

10 National Maple Syrup Day (17 December).

First made by Native Americans, maple syrup can only be made in North America because of the ingredients it requires. Rich in sugar, with an aromatic flavour, it is spread on roasts and ham, served with pancakes or used to glaze carrots.

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