Obscure Food Holidays – May

wine-day-instawaresThe most widely celebrated holidays in the month of May are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, but there are a handful of other special dates that you may not be aware of. Check out this list of obscure holidays and observances that will help you to discover new foods and maybe even establish new family traditions.

National Barbecue Month – The great American barbecue is a form of cooking that’s just as much about celebration as it is about food. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, over 80 percent of Americans associate outdoor cooking with family gatherings and other social events. The steadily warming temperatures in the month of May provide us with ample opportunity to step outside and cook copious amounts of various meats over an open flame. Check out the National Barbecue Association’s list of regional and state barbecue-related websites for events in your area.

National Asparagus Month – Asparagus is a Spring vegetable that is harvested at a young age before the stems become too dense to eat. Commonly associated with appetizers and the rare side dish, asparagus is one of the most underutilized vegetables in the kitchen, despite the fact that it has a high nutritional value. Celebrate this month-long holiday by experimenting with new recipes or seeking out restaurants that offer unique approaches to asparagus.

May 6
International No Diet Day
This holiday was created by Mary Evans Young, a British woman who suffered with anorexia after being teased for being overweight. Celebrating this holiday doesn’t require you to consume unhealthy food, and it doesn’t necessarily give you an excuse to overeat. In fact, International No Diet Day is less about food and more about maintaining a realistic self-image. Studies show that the effects of dieting don’t last, and the weight will eventually come back. Take the time to stop stressing so much over food and dieting, and focus your energy on learning to accept who you are while making long-term lifestyle changes that will make you a healthier and happier person.

May 14
National Buttermilk Biscuit Day

As a child of the Deep South, I grew up eating buttermilk biscuits on a daily basis. Whether they’re covered with gravy, stuffed with meat and cheese, or filled with butter and brown sugar, buttermilk biscuits have remained one of the south’s greatest food traditions. Finding proper buttermilk biscuits at a restaurant can be difficult, so check out Alton Brown’s recipe that was featured on the Food Network show, Good Eats.

May 25
National Wine Day

Many people drink wine regularly, but this holiday is all about the wine making process. There are over 20 million acres of land dedicated to grapes that will be used to make wine, so you may live closer to a winery than you think. Wineries and grape farms often celebrate this holiday by hosting special events, so check around in your area. You could even buy a wine press and make your own wine for a wine tasting party at home!

May 28
National Brisket Day
Brisket is a cut of beef that is found in the lower chest area of the cow. This cut is primarily used to make pastrami and corned beef, and can be very tough if not cooked properly. Slowly smoking a brisket is arguably the best way to prepare it to ensure that the meat will be as tender as possible. If you don’t own a smoker, celebrate this holiday by visiting a local barbecue restaurant and ordering a delicious smoked brisket sandwich.

May 29
National Coq Au Vin Day
Coq Au Vin is a French dish that translates to “rooster in wine” and can be traced all the way back to the days of Julius Caesar. Chicken is marinated in wine, seared in a pan, and then simmered with onions, garlic, and mushrooms to create an incredibly tender and juicy meal that is well worth the effort. Try Tyler Florence’s recipe that was featured on Food 911.