January, for example, has been declared as a National Hot Tea Month, a National Oatmeal Month and a National Soup Month. January 2 is National Cream Puff Day; January 3 is National Chocolate Covered Day, while January 4 is National Spaghetti Day. January 5 is National Whipped Cream, January 6 is National Shortbread. In all the succeeding days, we celebrate a variety of other food items — tempura, English toffee, apricot, bittersweet chocolate, marzipan, peach melba, hot pastrami sandwich, strawberry ice cream, butter crunch, cheese, granola bar, pie, peanut butter, pistachio, blueberry pancake, corn chips, croissant and popcorn.
February is listed down as the National Grapefruit Month and the National Macadamia Nut Month. March is Frozen Food Month as well as a Noodle Month. April is the National Fresh Celery Month and the National Soyfoods Month. May has barbeque and hamburger, while June has fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as iced tea. July is the National Hotdog Month and National Ice Cream Month, while August is simply the Catfish Month. September is the month for chicken and honey, and October is the month for caramel and pasta. November? That’s for peanut butter and raisin bread. December, intriguingly, has nothing listed for the month.
And don’t forget – other than the monthly holidays, each day has its own specific celebration. Think of Mom’s meal planning where she has meal plans for each day of the month–this one’s basically just that. One thing great with this is that it helps you find a theme for a random party that you are throwing. Instead of having that ordinary dinner for your friends, you can now put on that personalized apron you have, check out the official food that is being celebrated for the day, center your menu around it, and start getting busy in the kitchen.
How are these Special Observance Days chosen? Petitions are submitted by ordinary citizens, trade associations or PR firms to honor events, industries, hobbies, professions, and for this case, food. State legislatures, mayors as well as governors are authorized to issue these commemorative resolutions, and proclaim such special observance days. That’s why at times there are two National Cheese Days on different dates – they had been declared by different arms and levels of government. Once an observance is authorized, its promotion is then left to the responsibility of the petitioner.
And it’s quite easy to figure out who the petitioners of each day’s celebration are. A Mexican restaurant probably petitioned the declaration of the National Tacos Day (October 4), and an oatmeal company sponsored the National Oatmeal Day (October 29). Or maybe just plain and simple pretzels aficionados wanted the declaration of the National Pretzels Month every October.
And why? Why do we have to label each day, each week and month a name? Well, holidays, obviously, make good public relations—advertisements that boarder on the sneaky and sly. It’s a clever way of getting the media’s attention. A random story about papaya is not quite fascinating to the public, but a weekly list of recipes and write-ups all throughout The National Papaya Month is, without a doubt, news!
Through these holidays, it’s also easier to get the prime consumers – the kids – to relate to and get involved. It’s easier for food companies and manufacturers to sponsor school activities like Count Your Chips, a school program which encouraged students to calculate the amount of chips consumed by Americans each year, delve into the history of potato chips, and, with their personalized aprons, probe into other people’s favorite potato chip flavors. Have you ever imagined such activity as eating Pringles as educational, just to celebrate the National Potato Chips Month?
But it does make sense. We shouldn’t mind this, really, no matter how incongruous the idea seems. After all, we have already allowed the other holidays to invade our system – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day, Grandfather, Grandmother and all else. What’s a few more to add each day? It sure is fun.