National Food Days

When news is slow, journalists (and, I confess, food bloggers) can struggle to find material. On the food front, a constant source of entertainment is to look up the mutitudinous foodstuffs which have been allocated a specific day or week. There are of course a few which have long standing significance. Perhaps the best known is Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes were made not only for a spot of pre-Lenten indulgence, but to use up eggs and fat, from which folk traditionally abstained.

That apart, it's hard to escape the conclusion that crafty marketing and PR departments are responsible, epecially in the USA, where there is barely a day without encouragement to make or buy one particular dish. It is also fairly clear that these said teams either don't coordinate their efforts, or have extremely strange views on what foods go well with each other. I started this column on Monday 25. Following the calendar, I ought to have been dining on waffles, lobster Newburg and pecans. Not, perhaps quite as odd as Tuesday, when a combination of nougat and spinach was prescribed.

Tater Tots

Tater tots are, I believe, a type of American potato snack or side dish. Making them involves grating potato, deep frying then freezing. The fact that they have their own designated day (February 2, since you ask) is down not to the genius of their manufacturer Ore-Ida, but to a food blogger, John-Bryan Hopkins. They were his favourite junk food. Hmm. I sense the genesis of a cunning plan.

I was astonished to learn that some of this random daftness is claimed to have a basis in history or fact. I read an article which explained the justification for National Beer Day (and no, it isn't because there's a in the day). The reason, the columnist explained, is that April 7 celebrates the end of Prohibition, when people lined up the night before so that they could legally be served beer at the stroke of midnight. The only problem with that theory is that Prohibition ended on 5 December 1933. I therefore treat with equal scepticism the idea that National Donut Day was instigated by the Salvation Army to raise money during the Great Depression. My cynicism is enhanced by learning that there are in fact two such days, namely the first Friday in June, and November 5.

And what should we be munching today, March 27? My calendar tells me that it's National Spanish Paella Day. I wonder if anyone has informed the good citizens of Valencia? And this year, and this year only, since it's the last Wednesday in March, it's apparently Whole Grain Sampling Day. No, I don't know what that is and I really lack the will to find out.

But let's end on a cheerful note, inspired by the good John-Bryan Hopkins. Truly an inspiration to aspiring influencers everywhere. I definitely don't fall into that category, but here goes. My birthday is July 10. I hereby designate that day National Champagne Day. Watch this space - it might catch on.

An apology

Last week's On The Side column, Rhubarb and Edinburgh, was intended to end with a joke. I have just noticed that a typing mistake rendered a fairly corny joke entirely meaningless. This has now been remedied. Click the link to see it in amended form, if you can be bothered. Oh, and why, pray, did no one point it out before?


  1. Janet Hood on 27th March 2024 at 8:47 pm

    30 May – fab fizz day.

    • Tom Johnston on 28th March 2024 at 9:26 am

      Your birthday, I assume. I see that this year, August 4, October 25 (the fourth Friday in October) and December 31 all have claims to be National/World Champagne Day.

Leave a Comment