January 16 – What's with All the Food “Holidays”?

Posted on January 16, 2016

People like to eat yummy food. I guess, since people have to eat every day, why not make eating fun and delicious? And most holidays have their share of feasting and special foods that go along with that day – like turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, chocolate eggs on Easter, and cake on birthdays.

But then there are all those days that are NOT major holidays...and most of them are dedicated to one food or another!

Today is Soup Swap Day, Fig Newton Day, and International Hot and Spicy Food Day!

And the entire month of January is Hot Tea Month, Oatmeal Month, Slow Cooking Month, Soup Month, Baking Month, and Fat Free Living Month!
And every day seems to be some sort of special day to honor a food (or two, or three). Check out this calendar from Foodimentary.

Speaking of Foodimentary, I read that food writer John-Bryan Hopkins, who founded the popular website, did some research when he started his food blog, trying to gather together all of the various food holidays stared by organizations and companies, probably to promote their particular product. He discovered about 175 food holidays. Clearly, many days were not designated as any particular food holiday – so Hopkins simply shrugged his shoulders and filled in the rest of a calendar so that there was at least one food holiday per day of the year!

I suppose a food writer creating a day honoring Oreo cookies (March 6) is at least as valid as the marketing department of a company creating the same food holiday, right?

Anyway, I'm not sure if Hopkins made up any of today's food holidays, but let's check them out:

Soup Swap Day

This holiday was definitely not a Hopkins creation. Instead, a fellow named Knox Gardner started the day in Seattle, Washington. By 2006, the holiday was being celebrated by people all over the U.S., and today the day has gone global.

Soup Swap Day isn't always on January 16; rather, it's the third Saturday of January. The idea is to gather family and friends, each bringing homemade soup in enough small containers to pass out to other guests. Of course, the host also shares homemade soup pre-packed in containers for the others to take home.

Everyone takes home the same number of containers she or he brought – but it will be a variety of soups!

I bet most who celebrate Soup Swap Day serve hot soup to the gathering. That way the day goes like this: make soup, bring soup, eat soup, take home soup.

Fig Newton Day

In 1891 an American man named James Henry Mitchell invented a machine that was like a funnel-within-a-funnel. And the folks at Kennedy Biscuit Works (which later became Nabisco) realized that they could use this machine to make fig cookies using a recipe they had purchased from another fellow.

The outside funnel of the machine pushed out the cookie dough, and the inside funnel pushed out fig jam. 

Loooooooooong filled cookies were produced in this way and then cut into smaller pieces. 

Check out this video of the manufacture of fig cookies.

The cookies were called Newton because they were “born” in Newton, Massachusetts.

By the way, the Newton is one of Nabisco's top sellers, with more than a billion bars sold a year!
Why are old ads so often so creepy?

International Hot and Spicy Food Day

People have been using hot spices in their food – to preserve the food, to promote health, and of course to provide flavor! – for more than 6,000 years. 

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