June 23rd National Pink Day

Not to be confused with International Pink Day in April, today is National Pink Day (although I think they are pretty much the same). “Pink” has been around since the 14th century – the word, not the color. In 14th Century France,”To Pink”, was to decorate with a perforated or punch pattern.

During the Middle Ages, pink came into it’s own as a color. Probably some Knight washed his red flag with his white flag in hot water and the color pink was invented – LOL! Apparently no one wrote down when the color was actually created. It was occasionally used in women’s apparel but was more common in the art work of the Middle Ages when used for hands and faces. Christ as a babe was often wrapped in pink swadling.

The Rococo Period became the golden age of the color pink. Nearly every court was draped in pink to show nobility.  From 1728-1777 pastels became very popular with the people, perhaps boosted when King Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompador, wore pink nearly exclusively to “please” her king.

In 1931 “Shocking Pink” was added to the spectrum to usher in a new era of color and fashion. Pink is, however so much more than just a color, it has all sorts of meanings.

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The biggest today is, of course, breast cancer awareness. Which may in a round about way have some connection to being “In the pink”, an old saying about feeling at the top of your game, or at least what we wish would be the case.

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To “see the pink elephant” is a polite way to say smeone is drunk.

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To be tickled pink is to be thrilled or find something very enjoyable, maybe like the Pink Panther.

Then there is the “Pink Slip”, which none of us ever want to see – meaning you’ve been fired. There’s “Pink Collar” workers – which is what one might call “Women’s work” (I did not create this, just reporting). There’s “Pink Money” , which is symbolic of the money the LGBT puts into the community.

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And the picture above – well… it’s just wrong.

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The color pink is most associated with femininity, sensitivity, childhood, and romance. When pink is mixed with violet or black, it also means eroticism and seduction. The innocence of white mixed with the passion of a little red.

How to celebrate: Wear something pink today. Have some pink lemonade. Put up a pink flag, maybe with a little black lace or black ribbon to show your passionate about the day.

June 22nd National Chocolate Eclair Day

What combination is more perfect than chocolate, fluffy pastry, and a creme or custard filling? The word eclair in French actually means “lightning”, supposedly because of the glistening flash of chocolate covering the top. It may not make a lot of sense but who cares?

The chocolate in an eclair can be dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate. It sits on top of the “Chouk” (French for dough). The fondant icing is rich and gooey but subject to freezing if left in the freezer (duh, what doesn’t freeze in a freezer). The dough is normally a light, flaky pastry which is stuffed with a creamy custard. Oh, and to make it a little more special, add some whipped cream.

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French Chef Antonin Careme is credited with the invention, called “pain a la duchesse” in French. Careme lived from 1784 to 1833 so though no date is actually given for his invention, it had to appear sometime in his lifetime.

In 1884, the Eclair first appeared in a cook book in the US. Mrs. D.A. Lincoln included the recipe, along with others used in her cooking classes, and was the first English version ever in print. I wonder if she ever thought about adding strawberries as in the photo below.

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Long Johns are a type of eclair in the United States but they are actually a doughnut covered in chocolate with a custard or creme filling. There are even eclair cakes made today, though they seem very similar to what we refer to as a Boston Cream Pie.

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How to celebrate: Have an eclair. Make your own eclair (the eclair in blue at the beginning of this blog links to several examples). Go to a doughtnut shop and enjoy a Long John.

 

June 21st National Peaches n Cream Day

Peaches n Cream is probably the most refreshing summer solstice treat in the world. I remember eating fresh peaches served up with a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream as a child and knowing that I had just had one of the best moments of my life.

I lived in Illinois at the time and even though peaches are primarily grown in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and California, they find their way all over the world.

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Sometimes they are served on top of ice cream, served hot in a tart or a pie (normally ala mode), or served on top of pancakes or waffles, but nearly every version has cream served with them – a match made in Heaven.

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One interesting side note is that the common belief is that Typhoid Mary spread the bacteria around the countryside by cutting up and distributing fresh peaches that were contaminated. So if you indulge, make sure you wash your hands first, and the peaches as well.

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Here are a few recipes you can try out.  Peaches.

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How to celebrate: Find some fresh peaches and make some ice cream.  Throw a Peaches n Cream party!  Go on vacation to Georgia and pick your own peaches. Read or watch James and the Giant Peach!

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June 20th American Eagle Day

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This day was established to raise awareness of this majestic bird. Eagles are in the “Accipitridae” family and come in many varieties around the world. 60 species are in Eurasia and Asia. In the rest of the world there are 14 varieties of the Eagle, 2 in America, 9 in Central and South America, and 3 in Australia.

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Perhaps the most famous is the Bald Eagle in America which became our national symbol. Thankfully Ben Franklin’s turkey did not win or else we’d all be known as a bunch of turkeys here in the US – LOL! The Eagle is a bird of prey, meaning it hunts, in some cases animals larger than themselves. It has very keen eyesight and nests in tall trees or on cliffs (Eyries).

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The smallest eagles are called boot eagles, 10 pounds and under, living mainly in Asia. The largest are the Philippine Eagles with a wing span that covers over 7 feet.The Eagle has talons that can cut like razors and shred any victim, but its main weapon is its hook like bill, capable of crushing bones.

 

Suggested ways to celebrate: Watch a documentary on Eagles, Climb a tree and look around like an eagle (first make sure the neighbors aren’t watching), Close your eyes and imagine you are soaring over the land like an eagle.

June 19th Father’s Day

Father’s Day, in some places better known as St. Joseph’s Day, was first thought of in the US by Grace Golden Clayton in December 1907 when she brought the idea up to her pastor.  Mother’s Day was already being celebrated and only seemed fair that there should be a day for Father’s as well. Fairmont, West Virginia celebrated the day on July 5th, 1908 with Grace and her church celebrating a “Day for Father”. It didn’t go over too well, it seems it conflicted with the celebration on July 4th, our Country’s birthday.

So Father’s Day disappeared for a while.  Sonora Smart Dodd brought the idea up again, placing the date on June 19th, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. It fared a little better but still did not take off until she brought in back in the 1930’s. Maybe it had something to do with the depression and people needing a reason to celebrate, or maybe it was because so many fathers were disappearing because they coud not deal with the pressures of having to take care of a family when they had no way to do it. It made those fathers that stuck it out seem all that much more valuable. Still, Congress refused to allow the holiday as a national celebration.

Then finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Father’s Day as a national holiday to be celebrated by the entire country to honor their fathers.

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Now I know fathers can be good, or bad, or even non-existant. I can only speak about my own father. My father has been an inspiration to me. He always seems to know the right thing to do, the right things to say and what is important. He is always there when I need him.  Whether I agreed with his opinion or not growing up, I felt the need to respect what he said. I have learned a lot of very valuable things from him.. it wasn’t math or science, reading or writing… it was about showing up, about standing up for people that could not stand up for themselves, and it was about listening.

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A father doesn’t always say things but they nearly always do something. He doesn’t have to be a carpenter to build you a tree house. He doesn’t have to be a teacher to educate you. He just has to be there. Here’s to all the fathers that show up. Happy Father’s Day!

How to celebrate: Just spend some time with your dad. Buy him a gift that means something, not that just satisfies your need to give something. Take an interest in what your father does, even if it isn’t something you understand, after all, he’s done that for you all your lifetime.

June 18th National Splurge Day

It seems so appropriate that this year the day before Father’s Day is National Splurge Day. Splurge on your dad, he deserves it, doesn’t he?  I wonder if that’s what Adienne Sioux Koopersmith thought about when she invented the day in 1994?  Below are a few examples of how you might splurge on your dad for father’s day.

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How about a boat?  Just something small that he and his favorite 50 people can sail around the world.  Who knows, maybe he’d even take you along!

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Or how about a game room at home where he can disappear for hours and play his favorite games?  Maybe, on very special occasions, he might even allow you to come in and play a game or two.

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And there is always a home theater where dad can watch football or his favorite film. Then, when dads not home, you can use the theater yourself.

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Since you are splurging why not buy dad a plane like the one above. Sure, maybe he only travels a few blocks to get to work but think of how relaxed he’ll be when he finally gets there. It also may help with the family trips. Naturally it helps if someone in the family is a pilot but that needn’t stop you from making the purchase. You could always pull the plane behind your car like a trailer and show just how classy you really are.

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And last, but not least, you could get dad his own personal railroad car. Just hook on to any freight train or Amtrak and leave the driving to them. You may not know where you are going or even want to be where you end up but think of the fun you could have along the way.

Or…

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… you could just splurge and get him a tie.

How to celebrate: Think about the most outrageous thing you can buy for someone and get it. Write down a splurge list you can work on over time.  Hire a butler for just one day and live the high life.