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.

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.

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.

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.

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 10th National S’mores Day

August 10th National S’mores Day

Got some chocolate candy? Grahams crackers? Marshmallows? If you do, you’ve got the makings for S’mores. S’mores were created sometime in the 1920’s supposedly by the Campfire Girls. It amazes me how long it took people to figure out the uses for chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie, s’mores… wow, what were they waiting for? They say you can even make them in a microwave in 12 seconds but why? Get your act together and make a campfire and make them the right way, like the Campfire Girls of old! Sometimes you just can’t beat the old ways of doing things!

How to celebrate – Go camping so you can make some S’mores! Become a Girl Scout or Boy Scout to properly celebrate today. Make your own S’mores by adding whatever you feel might improve something already pretty darn good!

July 28th National Milk Chocolate Day

If you are a chocolate lover today must be Heaven to you. It’s National Milk Chocolate Day! Not to be confused with Dark chocolate or White chocolate, today is strictly for Milk Chocolate. It is exactly as it sounds, chocolate with milk added to it. It retains most of the flavor without the bitterness some dark chocolate has to it. Naturally it’s not as healthy as dark chocolate. (Not that dark chocolate is all that healthy either) Today is sort of the Easter (Without the religious aspect) of the summer but I do not suggest hiding eggs with chocolate in them outside.

How to celebrate – Do a taste test of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate to see which you like best. Learn how milk chocolate is made. Have a glass of chocolate milk.

July 19 National Ice Cream Day

The 3rd Sunday in July, National Ice Cream Day since Ronald Reagan proclaimed it so in 1984. He also proclaimed July National Ice Cream month. So, in short, I think we can conclude that Reagan liked ice cream! But then… who doesn’t! It is comfort food that kids and adults enjoy alike. Ice Cream has been around since 200 BC, naturally in China. The only thing amazing to me is that it took so long to create a National Ice Cream Day! No it’s not particularly healthy and there are some people who are allergic to it, but for those of us who aren’t today is the day to indulge in a little delight and it is so appropriate it comes in the dead of summer.

How to celebrate – Have some ice cream. Throw and ice cream party! See how many flavors of ice cream you can list.

July 7th Chocolate Day

What don’t we add chocolate to anymore. We can start out our day with chocolate flavored coffee and cereal, have a chocolate energy drink or bar at lunch and finish our day off with chocolate pie for dessert after supper. And if you need a snack try having a chocolate candy bar or some chocolate covered nuts or pretzels. I think what we as American’s are saying is, we love chocolate! Chocolate did not start out sweet. Native American’s used it for medicinal purposes when Columbus landed here (Alright it wasn’t exactly the states he landed on) and found chocolate in use. He sent it back to Europe where it did not go over well until sugar was added. It has quite an interesting history way too extensive to go over here.

How to celebrate – Read the history of chocolate. Enjoy some form of chocolate. See how many ways you can name chocolate is used.

June 2nd National Rocky Road Day

It seems only appropriate that since yesterday was National Trails Day you celebrate today by having a big bowl of Rocky Road ice cream! Naturally after eating it you will need to take another walk in nature afterwards. You can easily make your own Rocky Road ice cream by adding nuts, either almonds or pecan, mini marshmallows and semisweet chocolate chunks to vanilla ice cream. Today though, we generally just make Rocky Road ice cream by starting with chocolate ice cream. Is it fattening? You bet it is but who cares!?!

How to celebrate – Have a bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. Make your own Rocky Road adding whatever you choose like cherries or other berries. Throw an ice cram party.

February 19th National Chocolate Mint Day

If you like chocolate and mint, this is your day. I am pretty sure that someone, one day, added mint to their chocolate and a new flavor was invented. People liked it so much that even botanists were able to mix a chocolate plant with a mint plant and create a naturally growing chocolate mint plant – well at least that’s how I think it started. I do like chocolate mint. Just like any flavoring I think maybe we get a bit carried away with its use, but that said, it is refreshing and makes a good thing perhaps a little better.

How to celebrate – See how many things you can name made with chocolate mint. Try different types of mint with your chocolate. Add a chocolate mint plant to your garden.

January 23rd National Pie Day

I love pie. Nothing against cakes or cookies or any other type of dessert you may choose, they are good too, but pie is normally so flavorful! Most of the time pie is made with fresh fruit, it’s juicy and tasty and satisfies so many senses. The day was created by the American Pie Council, I didn’t even know that existed! Who do they council? Either you like pie or you don’t! Anyway, I am sure they are important, at least they created the day which gives us all a reason to celebrate something! Cherry pie is my favorite, apple pie is apparently the most popular, but pie can be made out of any fruit or even chocolate, lemon (Lemon is a fruit, right?) Key Lime. You name it, it can be made into a pie. Home made, store bought… they are both good.

How to celebrate – Have a pie party! Taste test several pies to see which you like best. List as many pies as you can think of.

December 16th National Chocolate Covered Everything Day

If you like chocolate, today is your day! If you stop and think about it, everything we eat could be covered in chocolate. It’s a pretty easy process to melt chocolate and it is fairly easy to cover it in chocolate goo. Not that that makes it good, or even better, but if you like chocolate it can improve the taste of things like brussel sprouts, broccoli and carrots. Now, I do not think this is a particularly good idea, chocolate, while not exactly bad for you, isn’t great to consume all the time. Chocolate in it’s natural state is not even sweet. Sugar, or other naturally sweet products, need to be added to make it what most of us know it to be today. That said, if you feel like covering everything you eat, or don’t eat, in chocolate today is the day to do it.

How to celebrate – Start covering everything in chocolate. Imagine the foods that might be better if covered by chocolate. Think up what non-food items you might like better covered in chocolate.

August 10th National S’mores Day

August 10th National S’mores Day

Got some chocolate candy? Grahams crackers? Marshmallows? If you do, you’ve got the makings for S’mores. S’mores were created sometime in the 1920’s supposedly by the Campfire Girls. It amazes me how long it took people to figure out the uses for chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie, s’mores… wow, what were they waiting for? They say you can even make them in a microwave in 12 seconds but why? Get your act together and make a campfire and make them the right way, like the Campfire Girls of old! Sometimes you just can’t beat the old ways of doing things!

How to celebrate – Go camping so you can make some S’mores! Become a Girl Scout to properly celebrate today. Make your own S’mores by adding whatever you feel might improve something already pretty darn good!