July 19th National Daiquiri Day

In 1898 Jennings Stockton Cox came up with the idea for the modern day daiquiri. He was a mining engineer in Cuba and was looking for something that would be refreshing and alcoholic, his fellow miners needed something to look forward to at the end of the day. It was a success! The favorite flavor then, as it is now, was strawberry. It was the dead of summer and he felt that the drink would lighten the spirits, one way or the other! It was named for the village the Venus Bar was located in. All I have been able to find in the Spanish translation is that is a noun, I presume someone’s name. Ernest Hemingway found a way to make it even more refreshing and talked a Havana, Cuba bartender to put ice in blender and create the frozen daiquiri. That was in the 1940’s. Any fruit can be used to make the daiquiri and it can be frozen of chilled. Add a little rum and it’s nearly the perfect adult drink.

How to celebrate – Have a daiquiri! Invent your own flavor of daiquiri. Visit Cuba (Once it’s legal again).

December 6th Miner’s Day

If there ever was a dirty job it’s definitely being a miner. Hour after hour under ground digging for any number of varieties of ore. It is one of the oldest professions, starting even before recorded history when cavemen dug down in caverns for flint to make fire, weapons and tools.

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Next came gold and turquoise and malachite (which is used to make copper). Then bronze and iron and of course coal. Since then ever mineral required by man has to be mined from somewhere.  It is a proud profession and a dangerous one, both while performing the duties that need to be done to extract the materials and after retirement when the years of breathing in the air filled with dirt and other minerals can cause lung cancer and other breathing disorders.

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It’s also back breaking work, made only a little easier by the invention of new machines to help with the chipping away at the gifts the earth provides. In many ways, little has changed since the first caveman went down into the caverns. You can see how the men above looked in the past, the men below are modern day miners.

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Miners return from their shift at the Ka…Miners return from their shift at the Kalinina coal mine in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, controlled by pro-Russian rebels on December 1, 2014. Official statistics shows the country needs a million tonnes of anthracite coal per month to feed its power stations. By November 24, only 1.8 million tonnes were left in the reserves. Russia announced it was stopping coal supplies to Ukraine last week, claiming “force majeure” but offering no explanation. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERGERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Here in the US Miner’s Day was made into a resolution by the the US Senate under the leadership of the Memorial Association of West Virginia and it’s head, Roy Lee Cooke, in 2009. It is a day to remember the men, women and children that worked in the mines so that you could have many of the modern items you use daily.

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How to celebrate – Visit a mine and see the working conditions for yourself. Thank any miner you may know for their hard work. Try and list as many products as you can that come from mining. You might be surprised how many there are.

October 4th Taco Day

People love tacos, I love tacos! In fact, last year we ate over 4.5 billion tacos. Laid end-to-end that’s a trip to the moon (490,000 miles).

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No one knows exactly where tacos came from, or the name anyway. One theory states that tacos came from Mexican miners who used to place gunpowder between pieces of paper to blow iron ore out of the rock. Apparently they thought about putting meat between tortillas and naming it after the bombs they made for the mines. The second theory is that it comes from Spain where they used small fish, live insects, ants, locust, and snails in the tortilla for a lively lunch in the 16th century.

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The first known reference of a taco, to eat, came in the late 19th century called, “Miner’s Taco”. Looks like the miners won! (I’m sorta glad cause I wasn’t looking forward to the locust and snails)!

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Tacos can be filled with just about anything though. Fish, chicken, beef, eggs, cheese, lettuce, bacon, you name it, and it could go into a taco. In fact, the actual taco part of a taco is probably the shell the other stuff goes in. Add spices and sauces of your choice and it is a taco!

Taco Bell is the first company to make the taco as popular as it is. Beginning in 1962 in California, Taco Bell has served more tacos than any other restaurant in the world! – though they do tend to stick to the more traditional styles – meat and chicken. Fish has become very popular over the last few years. Ensenada, Mexico is given credit for the fish taco.

The first taco trucks appeared in New York City in 1966, operated by two ladies that hoped there would be a demand for their product. There was! I have to wonder though if they served two of the more interesting types of tacos. Tacos de Cabeza, made from the brains, eyes, tongue, and lips of cattle. Or Tacos al Pastor, made like a shepherd’s pie placed in a taco shell. There are now even dessert tacos!

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No matter what kind of taco you enjoy, this is your day to enjoy it even more!

How to celebrate – Invent your own type of taco (it has probably already been served somewhere though). Go to Taco Bell and savor the flavor!  Have tacos for dinner tonight!