February 9th National Pizza Day

This is one of my favorite holidays of the entire year! Well, maybe it’s not really a real holiday, but of the not so real holidays this is may favorite. I love pizza! I am one of the national average American’s when it comes to eating pizza, that’s 23 pounds of pizza a year. Over 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the US, the most coming at Superbowl Sunday and second, oddly, Halloween!

No one knows exactly when pizza was invented. I have heard it was the Greek soldiers with Alexander who used to bake cheese and herbs on pita bread on top of their shields. Maybe true, but like most everything else, it was probably first served up by the Chinese.

Chow Mein pizza, yum. And yes I know chow mein is actually an American dish. I wonder how you use the chopsticks!?!

How to celebrate – Order pizza today. Make your own pizza today. Try a white pizza for a change.

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October 25th World Pasta Day

October 25th World Pasta Day

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Though many attribute pasta to Italy, it was brought back from China to Europe in the 13th Century by Marco Polo.

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Pasta had been a staple of the Chinese diet for probably centuries before Marco Polo visited, it had been in use for so long no one really remembered when the Chinese first started using in their dishes. Italy certainly gives China a run for the money these days though and we are all the better for it!

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How to celebrate – Have some Italian pasta today. Have some Chinese pasta today. Read about Marco Polo’s exploration of Asia.

September 5th National Cheese Pizza Day

Doesn’t all pizza start out as cheese pizza? Well, most I guess. I have never met anyone who said, “Ewe, its cheese pizza, I don’t want any!” Unless of course they didn’t like pizza in the first place, which seems kind of rare.

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To me, the more cheese the better so, bring it on! Three cheese, ten cheese, fifty cheese… well, maybe fifty is a bit much. There is nothing like pulling that first piece of pizza out of the box and watch the strings of cheese try to pull it back. Of course it never wins.

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We all know the story of how pizza got it’s start… Greece… Italy… New York City… No real need of covering that story again, for like the tenth time. Naturally children seem to love cheese pizza best. The older you get the more open you get to new and different flavors. Adding ingredients becomes a challenge and yet it all starts with the cheese pizza.

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And if everyone else wants meat or vegetables, or both, on their pizza, there is always the individual cheese pizza. You can always pick off things like pepperoni from the pizza and it instantly becomes a cheese pizza once again! Chopped vegetables take a little more effort to remove.

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But since today is National Cheese Pizza Day, it really should be celebrated by having only cheese pizza! If you want, you can add all that extra stuff afterwards.

How to celebrate – Have cheese pizza today. Try making your own pizza with a different type of cheese. Share your personal pan pizza with someone you love.

May 31st National Macaroon Day

It’s nice that my favorite cookie’s day falls on my favorite son’s birthday. Nothing against other cookies, they are good and all but Macaroons are my favorite. (And I only have one son so I am not really playing favorites here.) It is a flour-less cookie, made from ground nuts and leavened egg whites. It has been a favorite among the Jewish community during Passover since they are not allowed to cook with flour during the season.

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The coconut macaroon is by far the most popular and well known but I am told another flavor macaroon comes from potatoes. I’ve never had a potato flavored cookie that I know of, maybe I have… That ought to be interesting, I like potatoes.

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Naturally the French had to one up the other macaroons… at least I think it was the French. They don’t look like other macaroons and they come in all sorts of flavors. They  are good though. Funny looking, yes, and they are claimed to be made by Angels and Unicorns. I am pretty sure Angels have a lot more important things to do and if they were made by Unicorns wouldn’t they have a hole in the middle like a donut?

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Anyway, the traditional ones can be improved by drizzling chocolate over them, that is if you like chocolate. Not that they need it though. It is believed that the macaroon was first made in Italy around 1792. It is said that this cookie is the only thing that made the monks there talk!

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Well, did I mention it is my son’s birthday? I think maybe we should try to make him a macaroon cake. Of course it might be just a tad bit dry by the time it reaches him so, I’ll just have to eat it myself and tell him about it. I’ll bet it’ll be good.!

How to celebrate – Eat a macaroon today! Make some macaroons. Try a macaroon made by a unicorn.

January 4th National Spaghetti Day

Can you say, “Marco Polo”? Well if you can, put him out of your mind because he did not bring spaghetti back to Italy from China as legend claims. Though pasta had been in use since before 5,000 B.C. in China, it probably came to Italy from the Arab countries in the 1200’s.

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The actual word, “spaghetti” does come from Italy though and it means thin string or twine. Which really makes me wonder about what the original Italians were eating. Pasta comes in some 600 shapes. It is all basically the same no matter how you cut it, though you can put different seasonings on it to mix it up some.

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Thomas Jefferson, serving in Europe as an American Ambassador after the Revolution, learned about the use of pasta and brought it back to America in 1789. (probably with the tomato). Since then, it has become a staple of American cuisine. Americans eat over 20 pounds of pasta a year alone. When you figure how much a pound of pasta is before cooking it, that’s a lot of spaghetti!

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And, of course, it has warmed our hearts as well as our bellies over the years. Can you imagine life without pasta? I can’t.

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How to celebrate – Serve up a steaming hot plate of spaghetti tonight for a hearty dinner. If you don’t like pasta does that make you anti-pasta!?! (Think about it) See if you can come up with a new shape for your spaghetti.

 

October 24th National Bologna Day

When I was a child I use to love Bologna sandwiches. Add a little cheese and mayo or mustard, or both, and my day was made! It didn’t matter if it was German bologna, Beef bologna or Kosher bologna, I just knew it was good!

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And occasionally my mom would fry the bologna and I was in Heaven. I am not sure what made it even better when it was fried but it was. Every once in a while we got it for breakfast as a special treat.

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And then, as I got older, I started to question what was in bologna.  It is made from sausage or mortadella, a cubed sausage. Black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, celery seed, coriander and myrtle berry is added for flavoring. It does come from Bologna, Italy originally.

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I tend not to eat too many things that are ground up and mixed together before I get the chance to know what all is really in there. Like hotdogs which are perfectly safe but may contain parts I am not openly willing to eat. You are pretty safe if it is Kosher though so maybe I should give it a chance again. It really was good!

How to celebrate – Have a bologna sandwich for lunch today. Make up your own bologna recipe. (Use is sort of like Spam) Treat your kids to bologna, even if they don’t eat much of anything they will probably like bologna… just don’t tell them what’s in it.

October 17th National Pasta Day

It’s just water and flour mixed together but oh what you can do with it. Basically, the only difference from one pasta to the next is how you cut it and what flavors you add to it. Pasta, in Italian, means dough.

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It is believed Marco Polo brought back the idea of pasta to Italy from his travels to China. No one seems to know how long it had been in use in China but evidentially it had been use for quite some time (Some think as far back as 5,000 BC.) Apparently, it changed life in Italy from there on out! His travels would have been in the mi 1200’s but there is also evidence that pasta was in use in the Arabic nations in the 1200’s as well.

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Thomas Jefferson, serving the US after the revolution, spent a great deal of time in Europe and brought back pasta to the US from his time spent in Naples. He also determined that tomatoes were not poisonous as originally thought and probably started the tomato sauce craze.

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Pasta makes up a tremendous amount of our diet in the US, and across the world. Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti, ravioli, it’s actually hard to think of a meal where we don’t use some sort of pasta whether as a main dish or a side dish.

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In fact Americans eat over 20 pounds of pasta a year. That’s a lot of dough!

How to celebrate – Use pasta in your meal tonight! See if you can make the world’s longest strand of spaghetti! Invent a new shape of pasta to entertain your friends and family.