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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 4 is National Trivia Day

national trivia day

Today is National Trivia Day. Why? Here’s your first bit of trivia:

National Trivia Day was invented by Robert L. Birch, leader of Puns Corps, who also brought us A’phabet Day. It celebrates those of us who possess knowledge of facts that might not matter much at all. Here’s your chance to receive a doctorate in “uselessology.” Memorize the following and use as desired.

  1. The Pony Express only ran for 19 months.
  2. Some cats are allergic to humans.
  3. Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.
  4. In 2009, a woman sued the maker of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries because the cereal contained “no berries of any kind.” (The case was dismissed.)
  5. The mask used by Michael Myers in the movie Halloween was a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
  6. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.
  7. An airplane’s flight data recorder is painted orange, so why is it called a “black box”? No one knows but theories abound.
  8. People love lists.

Need more? The word trivia is derived from the Latin trivium (place where three roads meet) which refers to the “lower” liberal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. They form the foundation of the quadrivium, which consists of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Happy National Trivia 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

International Sweater Vestival

Today is the International Sweater Vestival, also known as Sweater Vestival or the Festival of Sweater Vests. Always occurring on the first Friday of December—identified by some as the second Friday after Thanksgiving—it celebrates the sartorial splendor inherent in the collective donning of sweater vests.

The first known mention of “Sweater Vestival” occurred in 2008 when Carolyn Johnson interviewed the holiday’s creator for the Boston Globe. Who is this mysterious genius? Is it Johnson herself? Perhaps fearing scandal, Johnson isn’t telling; one might say she’s playing her cards close to the vest. Here is an excerpt from the article.

Q: Why should I wear a vest? Isn’t this a made-up holiday?

A: It certainly is made-up, and that is exactly why you should take part. All holidays are made-up – a collective recognition of some person or historic event or cause. These can range from the sincere to the ironic to the nonsensical. In apparent seriousness, for example, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm established Narcolepsy Awareness Day on March 9. A more arch holiday is 11/11, set aside for the Corduroy Appreciation Club to “hail the wale.” Name your cause and there’s a day: International Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sept. 19), World Wide Knit in Public Day (the second Saturday in June), or National Boss Day (Oct. 16).

The purity of a holiday’s origins tends to get buried in the commercial detritus that blossoms in the middle aisle of local drugstores. So understand that the Sweater Vestival is a nascent holiday – a rare opportunity to get in on the ground level of a holiday, before manufacturers are churning out tiny, edible, foil-wrapped vests.

[Editor’s note: seen on store shelves since 2015]

Sweater Vestival Day

tiny, edible foil-wrapped vests

 

More importantly, it is not a holiday about historical figures or causes or ideals: It is about all the other people who wear the vest.

Q: Can you tell me more about the holiday’s origins?

A: The second Friday after Thanksgiving is a lull in a jam-packed holiday season and a perfect day for people to continue the holiday cheer with something subtle yet uplifting. Unlike other faux holidays – such as Festivus, which first appeared on the sitcom “Seinfeld” as a protest against holiday-season commercialism – Vestival is not a joke at all. It also happens to be funny.

Q: Why is Vestival important?

A: On a superficial level, Sweater Vestival isn’t about something “deep.” In contrast, on a superficial level most other holidays are: Veterans Day is about the serious topic of honoring soldiers who have fought in wars to protect this country. President’s Day salutes our forefathers. Valentine’s Day is about love. But if you look beneath the surface, Valentine’s Day is more about candy and overpriced bouquets. Presidents’ Day has become synonymous with sales at car dealerships, and many people see Veterans Day as just another day off, not an opportunity to consider wars and the weight of history.

Despite its seemingly shallow artifice, though, Vestival carries unusual depth. People wearing vests smile at each other in recognition, discuss the origins of their vests, or give each other compliments. At a time when people can feel more alone than ever, wearing a sweater vest is a reason to connect.

What are you waiting for? Grab those thrift store finds; gifts from Christmas past languishing in the back of your closet; or any sweater you have the urge to liberate of its sleeves. (Common sense advice: obtain permission before wielding the scissors if the aforementioned sweater belongs to someone else.)

Embrace the cold shoulder(s) and have a happy International Sweater Vestival!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays