30 Fun Food Holidays to Celebrate This Year

RuthBlack/iStock via Getty Images
RuthBlack/iStock via Getty Images

Whether your dietary tastes stick to the old standards like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a liquid diet of absinthe and wine, there's a food and drink holiday for you. Here are 30 of them that you can celebrate in 2020.

1. January 23: National Pie Day

Take today to enjoy a classic apple or pecan, or try something new.

2. January 25: Burns Night

Burns Night, named for Scottish poet Robert Burns, celebrates Scottish culture, literature, and cuisine. Break out the haggis!

3. February 2: National Tater Tot Day

A pile of golden brown tater tots
iStock.com/zkruger

Take National Tater Tot Day to reconsider what might be the finest form of fried potatoes.

4. February 9: National Pizza Day

You already crave it every day, so take February 9 to treat yourself to your favorite slice (and learn some of its history, too).

5. March 5: National Absinthe Day

There's a lot of talk about absinthe's history and the myths therein. Luckily, we've got those covered—and debunked.

6. March 7: National Cereal Day

Cereal first, then milk. Learn your history.

7. March 16: National Corn Dog Day

This March, celebrate with one portable, fried, meaty treat. But first, learn about the anatomy of a corndog.

8. April 2: National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a plate atop a blue and white checked tablecloth
iStock.com/joebelanger

Who doesn't love this classic childhood snack? Eat one today, and then get the answer to something you've wondered since childhood: What's the difference between jelly and jam?

9. April 7: National Beer Day

Be sure to correct your misconceptions about beer before having too many on April 7 (or even the night before on New Beer's Eve).

10. April 19: National Garlic Day

We all know it's supposed to keep a vampire away, but did you know these 11 facts about garlic?

11. May 11: National Eat What You Want Day

Woman picks out a dessert in a bakery
iStock.com/tomazl

Though it's definitely not healthy, this is a food holiday that we want to celebrate more than once a year.

12. May 16: National Mimosa Day

A staple of any brunch menu. Celebrate with a glass ... or four.

13. May 25: National Wine Day

As you're enjoying a glass of cab sav or chardonnay with friends this National Wine Day, drop a few of these wine-related facts into the conversation.

14. June 4: National Cheese Day

There are so many different types of cheese to celebrate. Here's a quick refresher on how two dozen of them got their names.

15. June 5: National Doughnut Day

A woman eating a pink frosted donut
iStock.com/kokouu

One of two National Doughnut Days celebrated every year. Why are there two, you ask? Let us explain.

16. June 21: National Smoothie Day

Put all your favorites together, blend them up, and check out some of the best smoothie art we can find!

17. July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

Not all fried chicken is created equal. Before finding the best in your state, learn about how it used to be made.

18. July 14: National Mac and Cheese Day

Man eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese
iStock.com/KoriKobayashi

You can thank none other than Thomas Jefferson for popularizing this delightful dish.

19. July 19: National Ice Cream Day

Our third president also had a hand in making ice cream a thing—in fact, according to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, "he can be credited with the first known recipe [for ice cream] recorded by an American," and it probably stems from his time in France.

20. August 3: National Watermelon Day

They're 92 percent water, and 100 percent delicious—and you can eat the whole thing, which you should definitely do on National Watermelon Day.

21. August 24: National Waffle Day

Would it be a surprise if we told you that Jefferson loved these delicious discs so much he brought back four waffle irons from France? He liked to serve them with (duh) ice cream.

22. September 20: National Queso Day

Not just cheese dip, queso (or chili con queso) is a Tex-Mex dip served with tortilla chips. It has been called "the world's most perfect food," and we can't disagree.

23. September 25: National Lobster Day

Grilling lobsters on the barbecue
iStock.com/Instants

On the day celebrating this brightly colored crustacean, consider these fun facts about the clawed creature.

24. September 29: National Coffee Day

Make the most of this National Coffee Day with some of our favorite coffee hacks.

25. October 14: National Dessert Day

Treat yourself.

26. October 17: National Pasta Day

Young boy eats a plate of spaghetti
iStock.com/pinstock

There are many ways to celebrate National Pasta Day, so why not consider switching out your standard old spaghetti for one of these unique pasta shapes?

27. October 26: National Chicken Fried Steak Day

This delicious dish is a delicacy across the American South, and certainly worth taking a day to celebrate.

28. November 21: National Stuffing Day

If you're worried about celebrating the right food, make sure you know the difference between stuffing and dressing.

29. December 8: National Brownie Day

Whether you prefer the middle piece or an edge piece, celebrate National Brownie Day by learning about its origins.

30. December 30: National Bacon Day

Sizzling hot bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet
iStock.com/VeselovaElena

End every year with a generous helping of the internet's favorite food.

Graham Crackers Were Invented to Combat the Evils of Coffee, Alcohol, and Masturbation

tatniz/iStock via Getty Images
tatniz/iStock via Getty Images

Long before they were used to make s’mores or the tasty crust of a Key lime pie, graham crackers served a more puritanical purpose in 19th-century America. The cookies were invented by Sylvester Graham, an American Presbyterian minister whose views on food, sex, alcohol, and nutrition would seem a bit extreme to today's cracker-snackers. Much like the mayor in the movie Chocolat, Graham and his thousands of followers—dubbed Grahamites—believed it was sinful to eat decadent foods. To combat this moral decay, Graham started a diet regimen of his own.

Graham ran health retreats in the 1830s that promoted a bland diet that banned sugar and meat. According to Refinery29, Graham's views ultimately inspired veganism in America as well as the “first anti-sugar crusade.” He condemned alcohol, tobacco, spices, seasoning, butter, and "tortured" refined flour. Caffeine was also a no-no. In fact, Graham believed that coffee and tea were just as bad as tobacco, opium, or alcohol because they created a “demand for stimulation.” However, the worst vice, in Graham's opinion, was overeating. “A drunkard sometimes reaches old age; a glutton never,” he once wrote.

Graham’s austere philosophy was informed by the underlying belief that eating habits affect people’s behaviors, and vice versa. He thought certain foods were "overstimulating" and led to impure thoughts and passions, including masturbation—or “self-pollution,” as he called it—which he believed to be an epidemic that caused both blindness and insanity.

Illustration of Sylvester Graham
Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Graham's views directly influenced Victorian-era corn flake inventor John Harvey Kellogg, who was born a year after Graham died. Like his predecessor, Kellogg also believed that meat and some flavorful foods led to sexual impulses, so he advocated for the consumption of plain foods, like cereals and nuts, instead. (Unsurprisingly, the original recipes for both corn flakes and graham crackers were free of sinful sugar.)

In one lecture, Graham told young men they could stop their minds from wandering to forbidden places if they avoided “undue excitement of the brain and stomach and intestines.” This meant swearing off improper foods and substances like tobacco, caffeine, pepper, ginger, mustard, horseradish, and peppermint. Even milk was banned because it was “too exciting and too oppressive.”

So what could Graham's followers eat? The core component of Graham’s diet was bread made of coarsely ground wheat or rye, unlike the refined white flour loaves that were sold in bakeries at that time. From this same flour emerged Graham's crackers and muffins, both of which were common breakfast foods. John Harvey Kellogg was known to have eaten the crackers and apples for breakfast, and one of his first attempts at making cereal involved soaking twice-baked cracker bits in milk overnight.

Slices of rye bread, a jug of milk, apples and ears of corn on sackcloth, wooden table
SomeMeans/iStock via Getty Images

However, Kellogg was one of the few remaining fans of Graham’s diet, which began to fall out of favor in the 1840s. At Ohio’s Oberlin College, a Grahamite was hired in 1840 to strictly enforce the school’s meal plans. One professor was fired for bringing a pepper shaker to the dining hall, and the hunger-stricken students organized a protest the following year, arguing that the Graham diet was “inadequate to the demands of the human system as at present developed.” Ultimately, the Grahamite and his tyrannical nutrition plan were kicked out.

Much like Kellogg’s corn flakes, someone else stepped in and corrupted Graham’s crackers, molding them into the edible form we now know—and, yes, love—today. In Graham’s case, it was the National Biscuit Company, which eventually became Nabisco; the company started manufacturing graham crackers in the 1880s. But Graham would likely be rolling in his grave if he knew they contained sugar and white flour—and that they're often topped with marshmallows and chocolate for a truly decadent treat.

7 Tasty Facts About Tater Tots

bhofack2, iStock via Getty Images
bhofack2, iStock via Getty Images

Whether you associate them with your school cafeteria, your childhood home, or your local dive bar, tater tots are ubiquitous. Creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, the bite-sized pellets rival French fries for the title of most delicious potato product. But they’re more than just a tasty side dish—they’re also an upcycling success story, a casserole ingredient, and one of the few foods that’s more popular frozen than fresh. Here are some more facts about tater tots you should know.

1. The first Tater Tots were made from French fry scraps.

Brothers F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg founded the Oregon Frozen Foods Company, later known as Ore-Ida, in Ontario, Oregon, in 1952. One of their first items was frozen French fries, and after seeing all the potato scraps they had leftover, they came up with an idea. By chopping up the potato parts, seasoning them, and molding them into pellets, they were able to create a new product. With help from a thesaurus, they landed on the name tater tot and debuted their creation in 1954.

2. Tater Tots are the main ingredient in Hotdish casserole.

Hotdish casserole with tater tots.
ALLEKO, iStock via Getty Images

Tater tots are typically served as an appetizer or a side dish, but in certain states, they’re part of the main course. Hotdish follows the long Midwestern tradition of tossing whatever’s in the kitchen into a casserole. It’s made by mixing together ground beef and frozen vegetables and topping it with a layer of tater tots before baking the whole dish in the oven. It’s a hearty match for Midwestern winters, plus, it’s a way to sneak more tots into your diet.

3. The name Tater Tot is trademarked.

If the golden nugget of potato-y goodness you’re eating is not Ore-Ida brand, it’s not really a tater tot. The Grigg brothers trademarked the catchy name shortly after developing the product, and Ore-Ida still holds its trademark on tater tots today. This doesn’t stop people using it as a catch-all term for the generic version of the food. Ore-Ida tried to combat this in 2014 by running an ad campaign warning customers not to “be fooled by Imi-taters.”

4. Tater Tots have different names around the world.

The all-American tater tot has spread around the globe, but it’s usually sold under a different name abroad. Tot-lovers in New Zealand and Australia may refer to them as potato gems, potato royals, potato pom-poms, or hash bites. The food is so popular in New Zealand that Pizza Hut launched a pie with a hash bite crust there in 2016. In Canada, they’re called tasti taters or spud puppies, and they’ve been labeled oven crunchies in the UK.

5. Homemade tater tot recipes may not be worth it.

Tater tots on a plate served with ketchup.
MSPhotographic, iStock via Getty Images

Tater tots are the ultimate convenience food—unless you try making them from scratch at home. Recipes online involve peeling and grating pounds of potatoes, frying them once, chilling them overnight, and then shaping them into tots and frying them a second time. Without the streamlined method and equipment of a factory, the process can take 12 hours. Even fine restaurants that feature tater tots on their menus often prefer the taste (and convenience) of the frozen stuff.

6. Idaho praised Napoleon Dynamite for featuring Tater Tots.

Napoleon Dynamite takes place in Idaho, and one of the ways the 2004 film pays tribute to the state is by prominently featuring the tot. The State of Idaho passed a resolution in 2005 commending the makers of the film, specifically thanking them for “promoting Idaho’s most famous export.”

7. The birthplace of the Tater Tot is hosting a Tater Tot festival.

Nearly 70 years after tater tots were invented there, Ontario, Oregon, is honoring its patron potato product by dedicating an entire festival to it in August 2020. The Tater Tot Festival will feature games, food vendors, and a Ferris wheel, plus special events like a tater tot-eating contest and a tater tot-themed play. The fair will end with the crowning of the tater tot festival king and queen.

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