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March 3 is National Cold Cuts Day

Today is National Cold Cuts Day. Some look at a seemingly wacky holiday and say, “Why?” At Worldwide Weird Holidays, we say, “Why not?”

National Cold Cuts Day

The term “cold cuts” refers to any cooked meat that is thinly sliced, often eaten in a sandwich. According to SupermarketGuru, there are three types:

Whole cuts are slices carved directly from chicken, turkey breast, corned beef or other precooked sources.

Formed or “restructured” products are made by combining meat chunks with sticky proteins and/or artificial additives, emulsifying them into a thick slurry. The blend is then forced into a mold or casing and cooked to bind it into its new shape.

Processed meats include cured, smoked and otherwise preserved foods like sausage and hot dogs as well as bologna and liverwurst. Manufacturing steps are similar to those of formed meats, with an important exception. These mixtures may include “by-products” such as lips, stomachs, and hearts.

Note: Any lunch meat appended with the word “loaf”—olive loaf, ham loaf, pickle loaf—might warrant a peek at the list of ingredients. A word to the wise: If it calls itself a loaf but it isn’t bread, proceed with caution.

Want to know more? Watch a five-minute segment devoted to deli meats on Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” program. The script sounds suspiciously like advertising, but maybe the narrator just really, really loves lunch meat.

If you’d prefer more comprehensive reportage, prepare to be dazzled by Season 13, Episode 39 of “Modern Marvels,” a 45-minute tour de force titled, simply, Cold Cuts. (It’s currently unavailable on the History Channel but, in case you feel like breaking the law, we’ve tracked down a pirated version on YouTube.)

On a more serious note, we find it alarming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which lengthened its name in 1992 but still refers to itself as the CDC) advises pregnant women, people over 65, and those with weakened immune systems to heat cold cuts to 165° F before eating them, due to the possible presence of Listeria, a hard-to-kill bacterium that grows even when refrigerated. Did you know that? We didn’t.

There have been many cases of infection due to seafood, hot dogs, raw unpasteurized milk and cheese, as well as this one caused by lunch meat and detailed in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on October 25, 2002:

A multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections with 46 culture-confirmed cases, seven deaths, and three stillbirths or miscarriages in eight states has been linked to eating sliceable turkey deli meat. Cases have been reported from Pennsylvania (14 cases), New York (11 in New York City and seven in other locations), New Jersey (five), Delaware (four), Maryland (two), Connecticut (one), Massachusetts (one), and Michigan (one).

Find general CDC information regarding Listeria here. and resources specifically for pregnant women here. No one is saying we can’t enjoy a hoagie but let’s be careful out there. Have a Happy National Cold Cuts Day!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

March 1 is National Pig Day

national pig day

Princess Cali – credit: ctpost

Mary Lynn Rave and her sister Ellen Stanley created National Pig Day in 1972 “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.”

Pigs are intelligent, using various oinks, grunts, and squeals to communicate with each other. They excel in tests requiring the location of objects and can use mirrors to do so, a talent they share with chimpanzees.

They are social and learn from each other, cooperating to accomplish tasks such as breaking out of a pen or finding food. A pig can be trained to manipulate a joystick with its snout and play a simple game, meaning it could probably kick our butts at Pong.

Unfortunately, somebody figured out long ago that pigs are delicious. They are the only honorees we know of that have the dubious distinction of being enthusiastically consumed on the holiday that celebrates them.

Should you show your appreciation by forgoing bacon, chops, and ribs today? (We know what Princess Cali would say.) Have a happy National Pig Day!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

January 5 is National Whipped Cream Day

national whipped cream dayToday is National Whipped Cream Day. It commemorates the birth on January 5, 1914, of Reddi-Wip founder Aaron “Bunny” Lapin and honors his contributions to the world of dessert.

During the food-rationing years of World War II, Lapin introduced vegetable-oil-based Sta-Whip as a cream substitute. After the war, he used real cream to invent Reddi-Wip.

Around the same time, Henry Ford’s soybean laboratories developed Presto Whip, packing it in pressurized cans designed for military use as anti-malarial insecticide sprays.

In 1955, Lapin secured a patent for a new type of dispensing valve, with fluting to create patterns and a tilting nozzle that clicked closed to preserve propellant gases. Reddi-Wip became a national success.

Lapin sold his interest in Reddi-Wip in 1963 but continued to manufacture and sell the valves until his death on July 14, 1999. According to a 2015 survey, Reddi-Wip is the whipped topping of choice in 20.57% of U.S. households polled, second only to Cool Whip (44.75%).

In November 2017, owner Conagra Foods revealed plans to develop vegan Reddi-Wip in an effort to attract millennial customers interested in “clean” plant-based foods. (So-called “non-dairy” Reddi-Wip contains sodium caseinate, a dairy protein.) The new formula will be made with almond milk and/coconut milk. (Hat tip to the marketer who originally determined that nut milk sounds a lot more appetizing than nut juice or squeezings.)

Celebrate Lapin’s achievement by shaking up a fresh can of Reddi-Wip…or just whip up your own and have a happy National Whipped Cream Day!

 

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 2 is National Buffet Day

Today is National Buffet Day. It’s about time the U.S. recognized its favorite low-impact, dangerous sport: overeating! The essential feature of the various buffet formats is that diners can view the food, immediately select the dishes they wish to consume, and can also usually decide how much food they take. Whether it has a chocolate fountain or a sneeze guard, there’s a buffet for everybody.

National Buffet Day

In 1946, Herb McDonald introduced the $1.00 all-you-can-eat buffet at El Rancho Vegas, the first hotel-casino on what would become the famous Las Vegas Strip. The low price brought people in to be ensnared by the games. It also kept hungry gamblers from leaving the casino at all.

national buffet day

The publicist’s idea was a hit. It became a feature of every casino that followed and continues to be the best “deal” in Las Vegas. With varying levels of excess–Las Vegas steam tables are a modern bacchanal–the buffet caught on across the United States.

It conjures a uniquely American image of obese families trundling along a seemingly endless line, clutching plates, resolute in their determination to wring value from the proprietors by eating as much as they possibly can. Otherwise, they’re not just getting ripped off; they’re facilitating it.

 The History of Buffet Day

The buffet table dates back to the 16th-century Swedish brännvinsbord, or Schnapps table. Despite the name, it also included bread, cheese, fish, sausages, etc.

In the 19th century, the brännvinsbord turned into the smörgåsbord, a table where guests gathered for a pre-dinner drink and light meal; it was not part of the formal dinner to follow. The smörgåsbord was often held in separate rooms for men and women before the dinner was served.

Smörgåsbord became internationally known as “smorgasbord” at the 1939 New York World’s Fair exhibition. The Swedish Pavilion had a restaurant called The Three Crowns that included a revolving smorgasbord. Removing accents was meant to make the word less confusing to visitors.

Sometime in the mid 20th century, buffet, yet another table–this time a French sideboard–nudged out smorgasbord as the most popular term for the meal. Since then the offerings have expanded along with our waistlines.

How to Celebrate National Buffet Day

There’s only one rule to follow when celebrating this holiday: Consume! Whether you celebrate Swedish tradition by drinking a bit of schnapps and finger food or celebrate the American Way by strapping on a feedbag, have a happy National Buffet Day!

Remember to save room for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on February 4, National Jerky Day on June 12, Eat an Extra Dessert Day on September 4, National Cream-Filled Donut Day on September 14, and International Beer & Pizza Day on October 9. Bon appétit!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays