Monday, April 2, 2012


   This whimsical bread is traditionally served at Italian and Greek Easter celebrations, though many Eastern European countries also claim it as their own. Dye the eggs for a more festive look.



  • Place 5 or 6 eggs in a medium pot. Pour in cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover pot, and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer eggs to a medium bowl of ice water; let cool completely.
  • If desired, color eggs according to food-coloring package directions, or check out our recipes for dying your eggs naturally. Transfer eggs to paper towels to dry. DO AHEAD: Eggs can be dyed up to 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 16-inch-long rope with tapered ends. (If dough begins to bounce back, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes to allow dough to relax.)
  • Arrange ropes side by side lengthwise on prepared sheet. Pinch top ends together. Braid dough. Pinch bottom ends together to secure (braided loaf will be about 12 inches long). Tuck dyed eggs between braids, spacing evenly. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45–50 minutes.
  • Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Whisk remaining egg with 2 tsp. warm water in a small bowl. Avoiding dyed eggs, brush dough all over with egg wash. Bake until bread is golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 190°, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let cool completely and store airtight at room temperature.


    There may not be an official registry (or even an unofficial one), but that doesn't stop towns, states and countries across the globe from declaring themselves the "Capital of the World" for thing or another.
    Some self-proclaimed titles are pretty well justified. Hawaii, for instance, is called the "Macadamia Nut Capital of the World." Considering the Aloha State is said to grow 90% of the world's supply, we think it's an apt description.
    Other claims are not so black and white. Biloxi, Mississippi is often referred to as the "Seafood Capital of the World," but so is Calabash, North Carolina and Crisfield, Maryland. Which place deserves the nickname most? We'll leave that up to seafood lovers to hash out.
We take a look at 12 towns in the good ol' U.S.A. that have found a way to differentiate themselves by "capitalizing" on what makes them unique, and well, a little unusual.

The Lost Luggage Capital of the World-Scottsboro, Alabama

    Ever wonder what happens to all of the lost airline luggage that goes unclaimed? Much of it winds up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Even with today's advanced baggage tracking technology, .005% of all checked luggage is permanently lost. That may seem like a small amount but it translates into an average of 7,000 lost luggage items that the Unclaimed Baggage Center is able to buy each day. Since Scottsboro houses the only store in the county that sells unclaimed baggage and the store is the size of a city block, we think it is indeed the "Lost Luggage Capital of the World."

The Fire Hydrant Capital of the World-Albertville, Alabama

    Let's not leave Alabama just yet. Not before we take notice of another town's claim to fame: fire hydrants. Albertville owes its legacy to the Mueller Company, a leader in the manufacturing of fire hydrants. After the Albertville plant produced its one-millionth hydrant in 1989, Albertville was declared the "Hydrant Capital of the World." A polished nickel-plated hydrant on a pedestal was even erected outside of the Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the occasion.

The Rolle Bolle Capital of the World-Ghent, Minnesota

    From Memorial Day to Labor Day, dozens of people take to the court next to the Silver Dollar Bar in Ghent, Minnesota to play Rolle Bolle. Pronounced "rollie bollie", this Belgian game gives a nod to horseshoes, bowling and bocce ball. The point of the game is to roll a small wheel closest to a stake at the other end of the court. If you wanted to try your hand at this outdoor game, you likely won't be able to purchase a set at your local sporting goods store. The little-known pastime is only played in a handful of places in the U.S. For more on this small (population: 300-or-so) town's sport of choice.

The Fruitcake Capital of the World-Claxton, Georgia

    Claxton was incorporated in 1911 and named for Kate Claxton (1878-1924), a popular actress at the time. However, today, it has another passion: fruitcake. Home to both the Claxton Bakery and the Georgia Fruitcake Company, each year millions of pounds of fruitcake are produced and shipped worldwide from this small community in Georgia. Texas residents, however, have their own "fruitcake" bragging rights. Located in the city of Corsicana, the Collin Street Bakery has been making it's world-famous DeLuxe Fruitcake since 1896.

The Cowboy Capital of the World-Bandera, Texas

    According to the Bandera County Convention and Visitor's Bureau web site, "Bandera embodies the cowboy in its strong rodeo tradition. Even today you'll often see horses tied to downtown hitching posts. Bandera County dude ranches offer a taste of the cowboy lifestyle with horseback riding, trail rides, and chuckwagon meals. Secluded cabins tucked away in the hills throughout the county are perfect for watching wildlife, listening to the birds, and gazing at the stars. At local honky-tonks, the music is lively, the dance floor is full, and the beverages are cold." Enough said.

The Honeymoon Capital of the World-Niagara Falls

    Yes, we know it's not completely American -- half of the Falls are Canadian -- but we decided to keep this pick on our list anyway. The destination's reputation as the "Honeymoon Capital of the World" dates back to the early 1900s, when that phrase began to be used in brochures and advertising. Today, the American side of Niagara Falls welcomes more than two million visitors each year, with approximately 90,000 being newlyweds and honeymooners from around the world. Tens of thousands more head to the other side of the falls, where many pick up their Official City of Niagara Falls Honeymoon Certificate.

Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World-Beaver, Oklahoma

    Cow chips (a.k.a. dried cow dung) were an integral part of the pioneer experience. Settlers relied on them as fuel to cook food and heat their homes. Each fall, families would take their wagons to the pasture and load up on cow chips for the coming winter. Family members soon began competing against each other to see who could toss the chips into the wagon with the most accuracy. Fast forward to 1970 and the Town of Beaver turned that storied pastime into an actual sport and now bears the title "Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World." Home to the annual World Championship Cow Chip Throw, people travel from all around the globe to see and even participate in the Cow Chip throwing contest, held the third weekend of April in Beaver, each year.

The Halloween Capital of the World-Anoka, Minnesota

    According to Anoka: The Halloween Capital of the World web site, "Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, their windows soaped and their outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done." So, in 1920 civic leaders suggested the idea of a giant celebration including a parade of costumed children. The town's love affair with the October holiday has been going strong ever since. Each year, multiple festivities take place during the week leading up to the big day.

The Jell-O Capital of the World-Le Roy, New York

    Located in upstate New York, this picturesque village is known as much for its tree-lined streets and stately Victorian homes as it is for being the birthplace of "America's most famous dessert." In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy experimented with gelatin and came up with a fruit-flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. He tried to market his product but he lacked the capital and the experience. In 1899, he sold his formula to a fellow townsman for the sum of $450. Jello-O would go on to become one of Le Roy's most important industries. Jell-O devotees who want to make a pilgrimage to Le Roy, can visit the Jell-O Gallery museum and see everything from memorabilia to past commercials.

The Earmuff Capital of the World-
Farmington, Maine

    It is said that Chester Greenwood's ears turned "chalky white, beet red and deep blue" in the cold. It was this annoyance that motivated a 15-year-old Farmington boy to invent earmuffs. He called his contraption "The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector" and it proved an instant hit. Three years and a couple of improvements later, the United States Patent Office awarded him a patent. It was 1877 and Greenwood was only 18-years-old. He soon established a factory and by 1883, he was producing 30,000 muffs a year. Thus Farmington became known as the Earmuff Capital of the World. If you're in the area, there is a parade that celebrates Greenwood's birthday the first Saturday in December where you can see local police cruisers in the parade decorated as giant earmuffs.

The Carpet Capital of the World-Dalton, Georgia

    The Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau puts it this way: "Dalton, Georgia is known as the "Carpet Capital of the World," and for good reason. More than 90% of the functional carpet produced in the world today is made within a 65-mile radius of the city. " The carpet and rug industry is the economic engine that drives this Northwest Georgia area, with nearly two billion square yards of carpet shipped annually. If you're in the market for floor covering, it's also home (not surprisingly) to a large number of carpet outlets.

Ice Cream Capital of the World-Le Mars, Iowa

   Designated the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" in 1994 by the Iowa General Assembly, Le Mars is home to ice cream maker Blue Bunny. "Today, more ice cream is produced in Le Mars by a single company than in any other city in the world!," the town's web site boasts. The town is also home to an ice cream museum, an almost 10-foot-tall ice cream sundae statue, a replica of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and dozens of street banners bearing ice cream cones


    There is a holiday for every day in April. For some days, there are even two. Here is how you can celebrate at least one every day in the month of April.

  • April 1st, National Fun Day-It's also April Fools Day, which is why it is such a fun day.

  • April 2nd, Reconciliation Day-This day doesn't sound like much fun, but who knows...you could end up with a new-old friend.

  • April 3rd, Tangible Karma Day-Have you ever watched "My Name is Earl ?" Make a list of all the bad things you have done and fix them or Karma will make bad things happen to you.

  • April 4th, Victims of Violence Wholly Day-Befriend a victim of violence and do something nice for that person.

  • April 5th, National Deep Dish Pizza Day-Sounds like a delicious holiday. I bet Domino's will be busy on this day.

  • April 6th, Drowsy Driver Awareness Day-If you are a drowsy driver, make everyone aware of the fact. You wouldn't want to hurt anyone.

  • April 7th, No Housework Day-For me, pretty much everyday is No Housework Day.

  • April 8th, National D.A.R.E. Day-Say "No" to drugs and alcohol...at least for this one day.

  • April 9th, National Cherish an Antique Day- Visit your parents or grandparents on this day.

  • April 10th, National Sibling Day-Have no siblings? No problem-adopt one for a couple hours.

  • April 11th, Barbershop Quartet Day-Go out and listen to some harmonizing.

  • April 12th, Walk on Your Wild Side Day-Go out and raise some cane!!

  • April 13th, Tax Freedom Day-Does this mean I don't have to pay taxes on anything today?

  • April 14th, Pan America Day-I still can't figure out what Pan America Day is. All I know is Congress declared April 14th a holiday and every year on this day the President makes a speech. So I guess you could listen to his speech (with the t.v. on mute).

  • April 15th, Take a Wild Guess Day-Every time someone asks you a question, make something up, but keep a straight face when you're doing it.

  • April 16th, National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day-Try to think how this would go over at work. Maybe not such a good idea.

  • April 17th, Blah! Blah! Blah! Day-I see you talking but nothing but gibberish is coming out.

  • April 18th, Pet Owners Independence Day-Does this mean pet owners get to do whatever they want all day?

  • April 20th, National Pot Smokers Day-That's all we need is a bunch of stoners walking around. They're all probably all at the grocery store because they have the munchies.

  • April 21st, Kindergarten Day-You know how you sometime wish you could be a kid again? Well, for this day you can.

  • April 22nd, National Jelly Bean Day- Gobble up some of these sugar filled pellets.

  • April 23rd, Talk Like Shakespeare Day-Or just talk like you're from England, it's the same thing. Cheerio!

  • April 24th, Eeyore's Birthday-Throw him a birthday party with all your neighborhood friends, Why Bother!! is probably what he would say.

  • April 25th, DNA Day- Leave a trail of blood for someone to follow (just kidding).

  • April 27th, Morse Code Day-Speak in Morse Code today. Beep Beep Beep! Beep Beep!

  • April 28th, Workers Memorial Day-There need to be more of these kind of days throughout the year.

  • April 29th, National Dance Day- Rather than walking, dance everywhere you go (like that won't get you noticed by people).

  • April 30th, National Hairball Awareness Day- Maybe your cat can leave a little extra one for you in your shoe!


    Depending on the year. Easter may or may not fall in April, if it doesn't, that doesn't mean there aren't other holidays to celebrate. In fact, there is a food holiday for every day in April.

  • National Sourdough Bread Day, April 1st- Sourdough bread makes a wonderful patty melt. ON this national food holiday, try making a patty melt with sourdough, your favorite meat and a cheese that you love.

  • National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, April 2nd- Every kid, and kid at heart, will love this food holiday. Grab your some peanut butter and your jelly or jam of choice and make yourself a couple.

  • National Chocolate Mousse Day, April 3rd- This is one of the best national food holidays of the month. Try making your own or purchase one of the many different brands available at your local store.

  • National Cordon Bleu Day, April 4th- Celebrate this food holiday by heading to Arby's for a Cordon Bleu sandwich and some curly fries.

  • National Caramel Day, April 5th- Another great food holiday for April. Make your favorite caramel apples or make a caramel fondue.

  • National Caramel Popcorn Day, April 6th- Two days of caramel in a row. This really is a great month. Grab a box of Crunch n' Munch and snack the night away.

  • Coffee Cake Day, April 7th- What better way to start your morning than enjoying a delicious piece of coffee cake?

  • National Empanada Day, April 8th- On this foody holiday visit your local Taco Bell and grab a caramel apple empanada.

  • Chinese Almond Cookie Day, April 9th- There's no need to visit a Chinese restaurant to enjoy this food holiday. There are several great recipes for this delicious cookie online.

  • National Cinnamon Crescent Day, April 10th- Just imagine it. A crescent roll filled with a cinnamon sugar butter.

  • National Cheese Fondue Day, April 11th- This is another great food holiday that must be enjoyed at home. Prepare a cheese fondue and enjoy it with your significant other.

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, April 12th- This is another food holiday that takes you back to your childhood. Try making it gourmet by using different cheeses and breads.

  • National Peach Cobbler Day, April 13th- Peaches really don't ripen until around August. To best celebrate this food holiday, grab a frozen cobbler and a pint of vanilla ice cream.

  • National Pecan Day, April 14th- Turn this holiday into a pecan filled day. Add pecans to your cereal, prepare chick tenders with a pecan crust, and of course make a pecan pie for dessert.

  • National Glazed-Spiral Ham Day, April 15th- This is a great food holiday to celebrate with your family. Invite everyone over and prepare a large dinner.

  • Day of the Mushroom, April 16th- Finally, a healthy food holiday in April. Try sauteing mushrooms and serving them with a nice grilled steak.

  • National Cheeseball Day, April 17th- This is a great food holiday to celebrate with a party. Try preparing a cheeseball with blue cheese, onion flavored cream cheese, and bacon. Roll the cheeseball in chopped, toasted pecans.

  • Animal Crackers Birthday, April 18th- Spend this food day enjoying a childhood favorite.

  • Garlic Day, April 19th- It may be stinky, bu almost everyone loves it. Prepare a delicious garlic bread or even a garlic cream pasta.

  • National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day, April 20th- This is a great day to fix a classic meal and enjoy a dessert classic.

  • Chocolate-Covered Cashew Truffle Day, April 21st- I suggest heading to your favorite chocolate shop on this food holiday.

  • National Jelly Bean Day, April 22nd- Who doesn't love jelly beans??? For this food holiday, buy all of your favorite flavors of Jelly Belly's and watch a favorite t.v. program.

  • National Picnic Day, April 23rd- What better way to spend an afternoon? Prepare a picnic with all your favorite food, get out there, and enjoy the spring weather if it's nice where you live.

  • National Pigs in a Blanket Day, April 24th- This month is filled with food holidays that make you feel young again. Grab some smoke sausage links and wrap them in crescent rolls. Bake until golden brown and enjoy.

  • National Zucchini Bread Day, April 25th- Just imagine sitting out on your deck or screened in porch and enjoy a delicious slice of zucchini bread with sweetened cream cheese or butter.

  • National Pretzel Day, April 26th- April doesn't have very many healthy food holidays, but pretzels are very low in fat and calories. Indulge without worrying.

  • National Prime Rib Day, April 27th- This is another food holiday that is great to celebrate with the family. Make a nice meal for you and your significant other for a nice relaxing dinner.

  • National Blueberry Pie Day, April 28th- What a great way to prepare your taste buds for summer. Prepare a homemade blueberry pie and serve with some vanilla ice cream.

  • National Shrimp Scampi Day, April 29th- To enjoy this food holiday, head to your favorite seafood restaurant.

  • National Raisin Day, April 30th- End the month, by doing something healthy. Just snack on the raisins.


   There's chocolate cake—and then there's this chocolate cake. Four layers of cake. Chocolate ganache. Salted caramel. Toasted almonds. It's a decadent combination that has become a big seller at Santa Monica's Vanilla Bake Shop—and a new favorite for weddings.



  • 1cupsugar
  • 1/4cupwater
  • 2tablespoonslight corn syrup
  • 1/2cupheavy whipping cream
  • 1/4cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4cupcrème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/2teaspoonfresh lemon juice
  • Large pinch of fine fleur de sel* plus additional for assembly


  • 1 1/2poundsbittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3cupsheavy whipping cream


  • 2cupssugar
  • 1 3/4cupsall purpose flour
  • 3/4cupunsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 1 1/2teaspoonsbaking soda
  • 1teaspoonsalt
  • 1cupwhole milk
  • 2large eggs
  • 1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1cuphot water
  • 1tablespooninstant espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 1/4cupsalmonds, toasted, coarsely chopped



  • Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to high. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then crème fraîche, lemon juice, and pinch of fleur de sel. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.


  • Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD Ganache can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.


  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.
  • Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups each).
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes; turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool completely.
  • Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe ring of ganache around edge of layer. Spread 1/4 cup room-temperature caramel filling evenly inside ring. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with second cake layer, ganache, ganache ring, caramel filling, fleur de sel, and almonds. Repeat with third cake layer. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto sides. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  • *A type of sea salt; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.


    The first of April isn't just another ordinary day. Also known as April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day. It is celebrated in a number of countries including America, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
    The origin of April Fool's Day is actually any body's guess, but it is known that it came to England from France or Germany in the mid 17th century. At one time April 1st coincided with the New Year and was celebrated as such until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII ordered the new Gregorian Calendar to replace the Julian Calendar. With there being no computers, telephones and other speedy forms of communicating, word did not travel very fast in those days and therefore many people continued to celebrate New Years Day on April 1st, while some rebelled against this change in their old traditions.
    With some embracing a new system and others fighting progress it is thought that those following the new system mocked the others who were behind the times and sent them on fool's errands, such as to seek non existent objects like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in order to have some fun at their expense.
    People in England, Germany, Denmark and Norway continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1st, up until the mid 1700's, the Scottish adopted the new calendar in 1660.
    April Fool's Day has also been associated with ancient festivals, such as Hilaria which was to celebrate the resurrection of the god Attis, in ancient Rome when people would dress up in various costumes and the Holi festival in India which celebrates the arrival of spring. During this celebration people play jokes on each other.
    Tricks and hoaxes in England can only be played up until noon. In France, the victim of the prank is called an April Fish, while in Scotland they are called an April Gowk (gowk is a cuckoo or another word for a fool). Anyone who tries to continue the jokes into the afternoon re likely to bring bad luck upon themselves.
    According to the Museum of Hoaxes, the best April Fool's joke of all time occurred in 1957 when the BBC news program "Panorama" based a full program on the spaghetti.
Crops in Switzerland and how due to the mild winter and virtual elimination of the spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper crop. Some viewers failed to see the funny side, others wanted to know where they could purchase their own spaghetti bush.
    Many people love the excuse to play pranks on others and take full advantage of this opportunity on April Fool's Day, others prefer to keep their heads down and breathe a sigh of relief when the clock strikes 12!


April Fool's Day is rapidly approaching, and April Fool's celebrations will be occurring all around the world. But not all April Fool's Day celebrations will be the same; April Fool's Day in one country is often quite different than in another.
  • April Fool's Day in the U.S. is usually a day of trickery, pranks and outrageous stunts. The media becomes involved, running bogus news stories or promoting false products. The April Fool's Day celebrations can occur any time of the day and can be as simple or complex as the trickster wishes. The victim of the prank is supposed to maintain good humor about it, and traditionally he or she will attract bad luck by getting upset about he prank.
  • April Fool's Day in France is traditionally call Poisson d'Avril, which translates to "April Fish". The term refers to the fish that are recently hatches and therefore naive and easy to catch. The traditional April Fish prank in France is to tape a fish to someones back, and call them a Poisson d'Avril when they discover it. Originally, the fish was a real dead fish, but nowadays it is most often a paper fish. April Fish is also a common prank on April Fool's Day in Italy, called Pesce d'Aprile in Italian, April Fish trickery can last all day, and may include other kinds of tricks.
  • April Fool's Day in Canada is similar to April Fool's Day in the U.S., and also incorporates the tradition of Poisson d'Avril from French April Fool's Day celebrations. On Canadian tradition comes from investigator James Randi, who annually announces a tongue in cheek award called the Pigasus Award on April Fool's Day. These "awards" seek to expose paranormal or psychic frauds or to ridicules institutions that promote paranormal claims. Past Pigasus awards have been given to the Kansas school board, John Edwards and Nostradamus. New "winners" will be announced on April Fool's Day.
  • In Scotland, April Fool's Day celebrations last for two days. April Fool's Day in Scotland is sometimes called "Tally Day" or "April Gowk". The traditional prank for the first day is to send people on a fools errand. You give someone an urgent note that they are supposed to deliver, but the note informs the receiver that it is an April Gowk joke, and they send the person to yet another person, who sends them somewhere else...etc. On the second day, the traditional prank is to stick an April Gowk sign on someones backside, similar to a "Kick Me" sign. April Gowk pranks are usually only played in the morning, and if someone tries one after noon, they are considered the fool instead.
  • April Fool's Day in Poland is called "Prymas Aprylis". In addition to being a day of pranks, April Fool's Day celebrations often involve dressing up in costumes. April Fool's Day in Poland is largely a holiday for children, but adults also get in on the fun. In recent years, Polish media has also taken part in the April Fool's Day celebrations.
  • There are a few countries that have April Fool's Day celebrations on days other than April 1st. In Denmark, for example, April Fool's Day celebration are held on May 1st, and the day is called Maj-kat, or May-cat. Hispanic countries such as Spain and Mexico observe the Feast of the Innocents of December 28th by pranking and tricking people just as in April Fool's Day celebrations. Victims of pranks are not allowed to be upset, because the pranksters are representing the innocents. Yet another prank day similar to April Fool's Day celebrations occurs in Iran near the beginning of April, called "Sizdah Bedar".


    April Fool's Day is the one day of the year that serious minded people can go crazy without criticism. Over the years there have been many great hoaxes that have occurred on or around this day of the year. The Museum of Hoaxes put together a list of 100, this is a list of the top 15.

  • In 1982, the Daily Mail reported that a local manufacturer had sold 10,000 "rogue bras" that were causing a unique and unprecedented problem, not to the wearers but to the public at large. Apparently the support wire in these bras had been made out of a kind of copper originally designed for use in fire alarms. When this copper came into contact with nylon and body heat, it produced static electricity which, in turn, was interfering with local television and radio broadcasts. The chief engineer of British Telecom, upon reading the article, immediately ordered that all his female laboratory employees disclose what type of bra they were wearing.

  • In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helen's erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far"!

  • In February 1708 a previously unknown London astrologer named Isaac Bickerstaff published an almanac in which he predicted the death by fever of the famous rival astrologer John Partridge. According to Bickerstaff, Partridge would die on March 29th of that year. Partridge indignantly denied the prediction, but on March 30th, Bickerstaff released a pamphlet announcing that he had been correct. Partridge was dead. It took a day for the news to settle in, but soon everyone had heard of the astrologer's demise. On April 1st, April Fool's Day, Partridge was woken by a seton outside his window who wanted to know if there were any orders for his funeral sermon. Then, as Partridge walked down the street, people stared at him as if they were looking at a ghost or stopped to tell him that he looked exactly like someone they knew who was dead. As hard as he tried, Partridge couldn't convince people that he wasn't dead. Bickerstaff, it turned out, was a pseudonym for the great satirist Jonathan Swift. His prognosticatory practical joke upon Partridge worked so well that the astrologer finally was forced to stop publishing his almanacs, because he couldn't shake his reputation as the man, whose death had been foretold.

  • IN 1984, back in the Stone Age of the Internet, a message was distributed to the members of Usenet (the online messaging community that was one of the first forms the Internet took) announcing that the Soviet Union was joining Usenet. This was quite a shock to many, since most assumed that cold war security concerns would have prevented such a link up. The message purported to come from Konstatin Chernenko (from the address chernenko@kremvax.UUCP) who explained that the Soviet Union wanted to join the network in order to "have a means of having an open discussion forum with the American and European people". The message created a flood of responses. Two weeks later its true author, a European man named Piet Beertema, revealed that it was a hoax. This is believed to be the first hoax on the Internet. Six years later, when Moscow really did link up to the Internet, it adopted the domain name "kremvax" in honor of the hoax.

  • On March 31st, 1989, thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction. The saucer turned out to be a hot air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36 year old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London's Hyde Park on April 1st. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.

  • In 1976, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 a.m., a once in a lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When the time arrived, BBC2 began to received hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

  • In its April 1995 issue, Discover Magazine announced that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had discovered a new species in Antarctica, the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plated on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. "To the ice borer, he would have looked like a penguin", the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history.

  • In 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today, announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu, a "Left Handed Whopper", specially designed for the 32 million left handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180- degrees for the benefit of their left handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow up release revealing that although the Left Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, many others requested their own "right handed" version.

  • The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the "Biblical value" of 3.0 Before long the article had made its way onto the Internet, and then it rapidly made its way around the world, forwarded by people in their email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls form people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislator attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by a physicist named Mark Boslough.

  • In 1992, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation program announced that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again". Accompanying the announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon's voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

  • In 1977, the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven page supplement in honor of the tenth anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi colon shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands wee named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capitol was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology. The success of the hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that then gripped the British tabloids in the following decades.

  • In 1996, the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens call up the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell is housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed that it was all a practical joke a few hours later. The best line inspired by the affair came when the White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale, and he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold, though to a different corporation, and would now be know as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

  • In 1962, there was only one t.v. channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that thanks to a newly developed technology, all viewers could now quickly and easily convert their existing set to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their t.v. screen, and they would begin to see their favorite shows in color. Stensson then proceeded to demonstrate the process. Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of people, out of the population of seven million, were taken in. Actual color t.v. transmission only commenced in Sweden on April 1st, 1970.

  • In its April 1985 edition, Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch and he could reportedly throw a baseball with startling, pinpoint accuracy at 168 mph (65 mph faster than anyone else has ever been able to throw a ball). Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the "art of the pitch" in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the "great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa". Mets fans everywhere celebrated at their team's amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. But in reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the writer of the article, George Plimpton.

  • In 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thank to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in, and many called up wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. To this question, the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best".