National Raspberry Cake Day

Happy National Raspberry Cake Day! I know what you’re probably thinking: who in the world comes up with these random (and strangely specific) food holidays?

Some are designated by presidential proclamation, such as National Ice Cream Month, or legislation in Congress. Executive departments can also issue proclamations. However, most days are simply created by councils or enthusiasts of a particular food, and they don’t have much cultural significance.

If you want to learn more, there’s a great article on Bon Appétit’s website titled “How national food holidays became a thing.”

While some may find these food days pointless, I take them as a fun opportunity to enjoy a certain food or try a new recipe. Today I baked a cake.

Simple raspberry cake

Ingredients:

  • box of yellow cake mix (includes 1 cup water, 1/3 cup butter and 3 eggs)
  •  1/2 pack of raspberry gelatin
  • carton of fresh raspberries
  • white frosting

Directions:

Follow the directions on the cake mix box, including the raspberry gelatin when you beat the batter (the gelatin makes the cake pink and adds raspberry flavor). Fold desired amount of raspberries into the batter. Bake the cake as directed. Frost the cake after it cools, using the remaining raspberries as garnish.

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National Lasagna Day

I’m sure Garfield the cat is in heaven, blissfully and lazily consuming pans of lasagna, because today is  National Lasagna Day.

Lasagna is a popular Italian dish comprised of layers of flat pasta, tomato sauce and cheese. Variations can be made by adding meat, vegetables or even tofu.

‘Lasagna’ is also referred to as ‘lasagne,’ the plural form of the word in Italian. Lasagne is derived from the Greek word ‘laganon,’ a wide, flat sheet of pasta cut into strips. It may also be derived from the Greek word ‘lasanum,’ which was the pot used to cook the dish.

Grab a fork and celebrate today by making a pan of homemade lasagna or heading to your favorite Italian restaturant. Buon appetito!

One for the chocoholics

Widely-loved, satisfying and versatile, milk chocolate is definitely worthy of its own holiday. That’s why today, July 28, is National Milk Chocolate Day.

In 1876 Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter, working in conjunction with Nestlé, created the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk. Before this time chocolate was primarily mixed with milk and enjoyed as a drink.

Varying the amount of cocoa used produces the different types of chocolate: white, milk and dark. Milk chocolate is known for its sweet, creamy flavor.

Researchers have found that chocolate actually has mood-enhancing benefits. This is due to the stimulant theobromine and the neurotransmitter anandamide contained in chocolate.

So guiltlessly grab a chocolate bar and get happy today by celebrating National Milk Chocolate Day.

National Coffee Milkshake Day

When you take your cup of joe today, consider enjoying it in the form of a milkshake in honor of today’s food holiday. That’s right, July 26 is National Coffee Milkshake Day.

This oddly specific food holiday is perfect for the summer. Indulge in a frozen coffee milkshake for a refreshing pick-me-up this July afternoon.

The Frappuccino, created by George Howell in 1992, is the original coffee milkshake. Howell came up with the idea as a way to increase sales during the summer at his Coffee Connection cafes. Starbucks bought the rights to the Frappuccino name and began serving the blended beverage in 1995.

It’s fairly simple to make your own homemade coffee milkshake. However, there are a few variations depending on how you choose to get your desired coffee flavoring.

Here are some recipes to try:

1. Using cold-brewed coffee

2. Using strong coffee or espresso

3. Using coffee-flavored ice cream

National Blueberry Muffin Day

You probably didn’t think anything different if you ate a blueberry muffin for breakfast or a snack today. But in fact there’s reason to celebrate because July 11 is National Blueberry Muffin Day

Here’s a fun fact: blueberry was named the official state muffin of Minnesota in 1988. Blueberries are powerful little superfruits packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. They also provide great health benefits and are low in calories.

Although baking blueberries into muffins kind of cancels out the “healthy” aspect, we all need to indulge once in a while. I celebrated the holiday by baking blueberry buttermilk muffins because I had some leftover buttermilk I needed to use up. 

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Here are some different twists on the classic blueberry muffin:

1. Skinny banana blueberry muffins for a lower-calorie option 

2. Blueberry muffins with a fruit or jam filling and crumble topping

3. Vegan blueberry-lemon muffins that are healthier and vegan-friendly

Fried chicken fans rejoice

Today is National Fried Chicken Day. Yes, this exists. 

The timing of this holiday is particularly fitting. We’re still feeling the waves of patriotism following Independence Day this past Thursday, and what food screams “‘Merica!” more than fried chicken to continue the celebration?

The exact origins of National Fried Chicken Day are unknown. There is no documentation, such as congressional records or presidential proclamations, declaring the holiday, so technically it’s unofficial. But who’s keeping track anyway, right?

I’ve always wanted to make my own fried chicken, and I figured today was the perfect opportunity. I followed a recipe I found online. While the process is a little time-consuming, it’s actually quite simple.

Make sure to gather all the ingredients and proper kitchen utensils, and you’ll be on your way to “finger lickin’ good” homemade fried chicken. 

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Happy National Ice Cream Month

Today is the first of July, which marks the start of National Ice Cream Month! Some may find it silly to devote an entire month to ice cream, but I’ll take any excuse I can find to devour the delectable dessert.

President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. He also designated the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. Because this holiday was created by the president and backed by Congress, it has a legitimacy that many other food holidays lack.

In honor of this oh-so-important holiday, I had my own celebration at Karma Cream, located on West University Avenue in Gainesville. Karma Cream is known for their organic ice cream and their large selection of vegan flavors, in addition to regular dairy flavors. I had a mix of vegan pineapple coconut and cherry amaretto.

How are you celebrating National Ice Cream Day?