Tuesday, February 1, 2011


   This may be a time for chocolates and romantic steak dinners, bu this month is also filled with several national food holidays.  Check out all of the great food holidays to be enjoyed during the month of February, plus great suggestions on how to celebrate them.
  • National Baked Alaska Day, February 1st- Who doesn't love cake and ice cream?  But, you can make it even better by adding a thick layer of meringue and popping the whole thing in the oven.  Be creative and choose gourmet flavors of ice cream and cake.
  • Heavenly Hash Day, February 2nd-Heavenly hash is a wonderful combination of chocolate ice cream and almonds.  Be creative and make some heavenly hash ice cream sandwiches using double chocolate cookies.
  • National Carrot Cake Day, February 3rd-Take a break from cooking and baking and just grab some carrot cake cupcakes made at a local bakery.
  • National Stuffed Mushroom Day, February 4th-A great way to celebrate this national food holiday is to make mushrooms stuffed with your favorite ingredients, such as cheese and bacon.
  • National Chocolate Fondue Day, February 5th-This great food holiday is to celebrate with your significant other.  Just make a simple chocolate fondue and serve it with some fruits for dipping.
  • Food Checkout Day, February 6th-This food holiday is easy to celebrate, just go pick up something from the grocery store.
  • National Fettuccini Alfredo Day, February 7th-A delicious pasta dish is just perfect for a cold winter's evening.  To celebrate this food holiday prepare a simple Alfredo sauce and combine it with chicken or shrimp and fettuccini noodles.
  • Molasses Bar Day, February 8th-Molasses is such a tasty ingredient to work with.  You can either make these bars or you can make gingerbread or even serve it on fresh made biscuits.
  • National Bagels and Lox Day, February 9th-This is a great food holiday for a winter morning when you need a hearty breakfast.
  • Cream Cheese Brown Day, February 10th-If you want to take this food holiday over the top, make a brownie cheesecake.
  • Peppermint Patty Day, February 11th-This is an easy food holiday to celebrate.  Just grab some York Peppermint Patties and pass them around.
  • National Plum Pudding Day, February 12th-Plum pudding is actually a cake.  But, it's the perfect carb filled delight to serve on a cold winter evening. 
  • National Tortellini Day, February 13th-A good way to celebrate this holiday is to use Tortellini in creative ways.  Add it to a soup, serve it with different sauces, or add different fillings.
  • National Creme Filled Chocolates Day, February 14th-This is a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day
  • National Gumdrop Day, February 15th-Go to your local candy store and buy some handmade gumdrops.
  • National Almond Day, February 16th-There are so many great ways to celebrate this national food holiday.  You can add almonds to brownies, make chocolate covered almonds, or chop them up and  add them on top of some ice cream.
  • National Indian Pudding Day, February 17th-You can either enjoy this food holiday by making your own Indian pudding or look for a restaurant that serves authentic Native American food.
  • Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, February 18th-This food holiday is actually healthy.  Just be careful of the ingredients you use in your crab stuffing.
  • National Chocolate Mint Day, February 19th-This is another easy holiday to celebrate.  Just buy some Andes Mints.
  • National Margarita Day, February 20th-This another national food holiday that will warm your soul.
  • National Sticky Bun Day, February 21st- Can you think of a better way to start off a cold winter morning with?
  • National Cherry Pie Day, February 22nd-Celebrate this national food holiday by serving up some cherry pie topped with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • National Banana Bread Day, February 23rd-Celebrate this national food holiday by taking a homemade banana bread to work and sharing it with some co-workers.
  • National Tortilla Chip Day, February 24th-Spice things up on this food holiday by serving a large plate of nachos.
  • National Clam Chowder Day, February 25th- This is a great holiday to celebrate on a cold winter afternoon.
  • National Pistachio Day, February 28th-Eat them roasted or serve them in a pistachio pudding.
  • National Strawberry Day, February 27th-This is the month of romance.  Celebrate this food holiday by dipping some in melted chocolate.
  • National Chocolate Souffle Day, February 28th-Chocolate souffle is unbelievably sinful.  What better way to take your mind off those cold winter days with?
  • Surf and Turf Day, February29th-Celebrate this food holiday with a large New York steak and some lobster.


     Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundations Day and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia.  Celebrated annually on January 26th, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.  The hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamations of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland. 

   Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, and is marked by the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards, along with an address from the Prim Minister.
   Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on January 26th date back to 1808, with Governor Lachland Macquarie having held the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales in 1818.  In 2004, an estimated 7.5 million people attended Australia Day celebrations and functions across the country. 

     The date is seen as controversial for many Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, who see commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet as celebrating the destruction of the native Aboriginal culture by British colonists.  Dating back to the 1938 Day of Mourning, there have been significant protests from and on behalf of the Aboriginal community, and the birth of the alternative nae Invasion Day.  Others have begun to use the name Survival Day to highlight that a people and culture that was expected to die out has survived.  In light of these concerns, proposals to change the date of Australia Day have been made, but have failed to gain widespread public support.

   Some of things that happen on Australia Day include family meetings, picnics and barbecuses, parades, citizenship ceremonies, Order of Australia honours, and the Australian of the Year presentation.


   Pongal is a harvest festival-the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving.  In an agriculture based civilization, the harvest plays an important part.  The farmer cultivating his land depends on cattle, timely rain and the Sun.  Once a year, he expresses his gratitude to these during the harvest festival.  With the end of the est month of Margazhi (mid December to mid January) the new Tamil month of Thai heralds a series of festivals.  The first day of the month is a festival day known as "Pongal Day".  Pongal means the 'boiling over" of milk and rice during the month of Thai.

    The act of boiling over of milk in the clay pot is considered to denote future prosperity for the family.  Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the harvest by thanking the rain, sun and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest.  Pongal is celebrated by the Indian state of Tamil Ndu as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauitius, South Africa, USA, Canada and Singapore.  The festival is at least 1000 years old although some believe that the festival is more that 2000 years old.  It used to be celebrated as Puthiyeedu during Medieval Chola empire days.  It is thought the Puthiyeedu meant the first harvest of the year.  People of all religions celebrate the Pongal festival.

    Tamils refer to Pongal as "Tamizhar Thirunal" (meaning "the festival of Tamils").  This festival originated in Tamil Nadu.  The saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" meaning "the birth of the month of Thai will have the way for new opportunities", often is quoted regarding the Pongal festival.
   Usually, the festival takes place January 12th to the 15th (on the Gregorian calandar).  The festival is celebrated 4 days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi (December-January) to the third day of Thai (January-February).  The first day, Bhogi, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials, by setting them on fire, marking the end of the old Thai and the emergence of the new Thai.

   The astronomical significance of the festival is that it marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the sun's movement northward for a six month period.  Markar Sankranthi refers to the event of the sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn).  While Pongal is predominantly a Tamil festival, similar festivals are also celebrated in several other Indian states under different names.  In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka, the harvest festival Sankranthi is celebrated.  In northern India, it is called Makara Sankranti.  In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is celebrated on the date of the annual kite flying day, Uttarayah.  It also coincides with the bonfire and harvest festval in Punjab and Haryana, known as Lohri.  Similar harvest festivals in the same time frame are also celebrated by farmers in Burma, Cambodia, and Korea.