Celebrate National Bacon Day

bacon wrapped artichokes

We've highlighted several "food holidays" celebrated in the US and worldwide in the past. Today's food holiday is International Bacon Day, and you can find a plethora of sites with recipes for best celebrating the day from The LA Times to The Telegraph. Any reason to eat bacon is a good one by me, but why do we celebrate these types of food holidays? Yahoo! News has the answer with an informative article on the origins of these days.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that many of these so-called "food holidays" are public relations stunts cooked up by savvy marketers. However, some of the days have roots that date back to specific events or traditions, and sometimes fans of the food pick up the banner of these days and carry them forward in spite of their commercial orgins.

National Waffle Day (24 August) has been on the calendar for over 100 years. It dates back to 1869, when Cornelius Swartwout received the first U.S. patent for the waffle iron. (Savvy marketers have been around a long time.) However, National Beer Day has a more populist origin, as it celebrates the end of Prohibition with passage of the Cullen-Harrison Act on April 7, 1933. Says Yahoo! News, "A thirsty public lined up outside breweries in 20 states and Washington, DC on April 6, or 'New Beer's Eve,' counting down until midnight. They purchased 1.5 million barrels and April 7 has unofficially been National Beer Day ever since.

Most of these food holidays are unofficial, but a few are sanctioned by the US government. For instance, in August, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to designate September 25, 2015 as National Lobster Day. Likewise, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on March 14, 2009 officially recognizing Pi Day. (Although this is a popular day for pie-making, the American Pie Council still celebrates January 23 as National Pie Day. Why that date? Linda Hoskins, the council's executive director, says it's came about from an old truism, "One, two three - easy as pie.")

A large number of these food holidays can be traced to just one person - John-Bryan Hopkins. Since 2007, Hopkins has run a popular blog that catalogues food holidays called Foodimentary. He says "I was one of the very early people to be on Twitter. Once you said [a day] was a food holiday it became a really re-tweetable, shareable tidbit," he said. Social media did the rest. Hopkins claims that when he started there were only about 175 food holidays, so he just made up the rest, like National Onion Ring Day (June 22) and National Cheese Lover's Day (January 20).

Photo of Bacon-wrapped artichokes (Fondi di carciofi) from Saveur Magazine

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