September 12th National Chocolate Milk Shake Day

Ah, a refreshing treat no matter what time of year it is, the chocolate milk shake. Today is your day to celebrate with a chocolate milk shake, forget vanilla, forget strawberry… today it is chocolate or nothing! I can’t even imagine the milk shakes before chocolate was discovered. Plain old vanilla probably, boring! (Actually, apparently they had chocolate before milk shakes!)

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But when the milks shake came along I’ll bet one of the first flavorings they added was chocolate! naturally it was difficult to find that chocolate cow to give us the chocolate milk, but once they found it, the world was the limit!

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Of course today we have to complicate it. Instead of just plain chocolate, which is pretty good on it’s own, we can do nearly any flavoring added to the chocolate. Say, you feel like a German chocolate cake flavored milk shake… no problem! There’s dark chocolate, triple chocolate, chocolate with various kinds of candy mixed into it like Reese’s, or Hershey, or Snickers, or Milky Way… you find it, they can blend it in!

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And if you really want to confuse somebody, serve them a white chocolate milk shake, telling them its plain vanilla, and watch their faces light up! (Unless of course they are allergic to chocolate which might make something else light up!)

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And if you want to stay up all night why not have a coffee flavored chocolate milk shake!?! You can even add booze if you like to make it a potent chocolate milk shake! Ah the choices. There are so many it might actually make you choose strawberry instead! But you are better off if you have nothing more than just a plain Chocolate milk shake.

How to celebrate – Hey, here’s an idea! have a chocolate milk shake! See if you can invent a new flavor, keeping in mind it must include chocolate. Buy a chocolate milk shake for you and your best friend and enjoy sucking up!

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June 22nd National Chocolate Eclair Day

Why are so many of our National Holidays related in some form or way to food? For all those on a diet I apologize. Today is Chocolate Eclair Day, perhaps the most fattening and tempting treat on the planet.

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Chocolate covered dough with a creme or custard filling. Once again, thank Christopher Columbus because if it weren’t for him we would probably all have to just settle for an Eclair without the chocolate.

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How to celebrate – Have a Chocolate covered eclair today! Be thankful you can have a chocolate covered eclair today. Try making your own version of a chocolate eclair adding something that makes yours even more delicious.

June 7th National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

There is nothing more refreshing than a big bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day. For most of us chocolate is even better. There are people that are allergic to chocolate, I do honestly feel sorry for them. There is something about chocolate that appeals to even those who are allergic to it!

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There is something sexy about chocolate too. Drizzling over something, dipping something into it, covering yourself … (No wait, not supposed to tell that story!)  The point is, what isn’t made better by adding chocolate to it?

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And what is more refreshing than chocolate chip mint ice cream! The freshness of mint and the flavor of chocolate, yum. I think most chocolate chip mint ice cream is made with dark chocolate, which frankly is healthier than milk chocolate.

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My favorite is white chocolate, which is made into ice cream too. To me it is creamier and smoother. Of course there is a lot more wax in white chocolate which in theory should make it better for you. (But it isn’t.) It does seem sweeter to me, probably just my imagination. But it is still chocolate and qualifies me as a chocolate lover.

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So sometime during your day, stop and thank Christopher Columbus for bringing chocolate to the European market where it was developed into something we all enjoy today.

How to celebrate – Enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream sometime today. If you are in a hurry, get a chocolate ice cream cone! Experiment with different topping on your chocolate ice cream. (Most people seem to think you shouldn’t put anything on your chocolate ice cream, purist I guess, but add a little whipped cream, sprinkles, etc., etc., etc.

March 24th National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

I remember sitting at the table as my Grandmother played bridge with her friend and munching on the chocolate covered raisins she sat out for her guests to munch on. I always thought I was doing them a favor from getting all that chocolate on their cards. I loved bridge day.

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Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean discovered by Christopher Columbus when he came to the Americas. (Of course the Native American knew about it long before Columbus got there.) Believe it or not the cocoa bean is considered a vegetable. So if you want to really stretch it, you can tell people you are eating your vegetables while chomping down on that chocolate. (I suggest you don’t really believe that you are though.)

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And then there’s the raisin. It is a fruit, it is a grape. I can only imagine that there was a time when someone found some grapes they had left out for say, a couple of years, and decided to eat it any way. By itself, the raisin does not have that visual appeal of something you want to put in your mouth but it does taste good and is at least sort of good for you.

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Remember going to the movies and chopping down on chocolate covered raisins while being entertained? Today, no one can afford those tiny morsels anymore but there was a time when they were cheap, fun and  easy to eat. (Add to that you are eating fruits and vegetables it so rewarding.)

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And if you want to try something truly an overload, fix yourself a chocolate covered raisin cake!

How to celebrate – Find some Raisinets and enjoy the memories. Discover your own way to use chocolate covered raisins. Include some chocolate covered raisins in your kids lunch today and create a smile.

 

February 14th Valentines Day

Ah, the most romantic day of the year. It’s appropriate that they put it in winter where we can cuddle together without sweating!  Today it’s all about chocolate and flowers for the one you love. Of course if they are allergic to chocolate, flowers, perfume… well, good luck! In all honesty though, its just about showing your soul mate that you love them… something you should do everyday.

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The day supposedly celebrates the Roman God of Fertility. The above is the Goddess because… well… the only God of Fertility I could find was Greek and he really stood out if you catch my drift. You can check him out if you like but be warned.

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It is also known as the first day of birds mating season. I guess a lot of birds are  born Aquarius. Of course they have all flown south for the winter so I assume most birds are southern. You can check this out for yourself by listening to their Southern accent chirping.

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In 2009 39,897 coules got together in Mexico and kissed for 10 seconds creating a new world record. It happened to be Valentines Day. Ironically February 15th, 2009 marks the most ever reported colds day. (Not really) Red and pink are the Valentine color. Of course pink is the mix of white and red so… red means energy, strength, power and danger (All things that get your heart beating faster) mixed with the innocense and purity of white. So red leads to white and ends up pink!

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Whatever reason you choose, today is the day to show your lover that you love them. If you know them well enough, you know what you need to do. Over 1 billion dollars of chocolates sell today, I have no idea what the amount spent on flowers is but I am sure it’s close to the same. No matter what you buy, saying I love you is what really matters.

How to celebrate – Let your mate know you love them. Take your mate out for a nice dinner. Go buy some fish with the one you love.

November 4th National Candy Day

Today is National Candy Day. It is every child’s dream and most parents’ nightmare! The word candy actually comes from Middle England around the 13th century. That came from Old French, “culre candi”, which came from the Persian “Qand” or “Qandi”, which means sugar cane. The first “candy” was made from honey that was used to preserve fruit and flowers. The honey coated the fruit which happened to make a nice tasting treat. It also helped the digestive track and soothed sore throats.

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It is believed that the first “candy” to reach America came from either Britain or France, or perhaps both, in the form of “Rock Candy”. Rock Candy was basically nothing but crystallized sugar, all of which was clear. That would have been in the 18th century and the process to make Rock Candy was so expensive that only the very wealthiest could afford it. Over the years we have learned how to add food dyes and flavoring to Rock Candy to make it somewhat more popular.

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Chocolate did not come into the picture until centuries later even though Columbus took the cocoa plant back to Europe after his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. Other milestones for the candy industry came in the 1800’s when candy was made cheaper by production lines and crude machines. This candy was known as “Penny Candy” and for the first time in history, everyone could afford a sweet, at least on special occasions. By 1847 a candy press was invented making candy as cheap as it had ever been and in quantities that made it available even in remote locations. In 1851 the steam pan became available to melt down the sugar even faster and an industry was born.

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In 1928 Hershey’s introduced Reese’s peanut butter cups, the first real sign that chocolate could be mass produced as well and sold in a package to consumers. The peanut butter filling was something new for the industry but was extremely well received.

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During World War 2, soldiers were given M&M’s made by Mars Inc., for a pick me up because they were coated in a hard candy shell that did not melt while they were in the field. The first real use of M&M’s was actually reported during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s where Ernest Hemingway noted seeing soldiers with a hard shelled candy they carried around with them for an energy burst.

How to celebrate – Whatever type of candy you like best, today is the day to enjoy a piece or two. Try to invent your own new candy! Go back to the basics with this recipe for Rock Candy and make your own!

August 25th National Banana Split Day

Continuing on with eating our way through the summer, the next day up is “Banana Split Day”. It all started back in 1904 when an apprentice pharmacist created the first banana split at Tassel’s pharmacy in Latrobe, Pa. He cut a banana in two halves and placed them in a long bowl, filling the center of the bowl in with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream. He covered the strawberry ice cream with a pineapple topping, the vanilla with chocolate flavoring, and the chocolate with strawberry topping. All of that was covered in whipped cream, to which crushed nuts and maraschino cherries, wete added. It cost a dime.

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Today we make a number of variations including those that add fresh fruit to the recipe and maybe use different flavors of ice cream. Of course back in 1904 there weren’t that many varieties of ice cream to choose from. In fact, you can use any flavor of ice cream you choose, any fruit that’s in season (which is practically all of them since it is summer), and you can use heavy, regular, or light whip cream. And nuts have become optional since so many are now allergic to them.

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You don’t even have to use the bowl any more. You can put all the fixings in a ice cream cone and carry it with you where ever you go.

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You can also make it into a cake, using the same ingredients, or those of your choice, and turn it into a party. You can still use ice cream if you like, or a flavored batter, that will taste like the Split, but is lactose free.

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Or you can make the best of both worlds and turn your banana split into a pie and meet the ice cream half way!

Anyway you choose to have a banana split is totally acceptable, so long as you accept the calories that go along with it.

This year, 2016, the US Post Office came up with a stamp celebrating the banana split. It sells for 47 cents. More than the original Split, but less than any single item in the split would cost you by itself.

How to celebrate – Have a banana split. Make your own banana split cake or pie. Make up your own banana split recipe -as long as you include the banana, anything goes!