As far as food holidays go, Easter sucks. The menu is limited (lamb, lamb, more lamb, maybe a ham, and, if you're me, maybe some rabbit to creep out the children), the seasonal produce is not great (too early for many spring vegetables, and, after a long winter, who needs more potatoes and rutabagas?), and, other than Peeps, even the candy is kinda gross--all those pastel colors, all that fondant, all those cheap chocolate bunnies...
Little Suzie does NOT want to see what's in her basket in the morning
Lucky for us, though, Americans are great at turning random calendar days into excuses for pigging out in all sorts of different ways. So even if, like me, the thought of another leg of lamb with mint jelly, early asparagus and rhubarb pie makes you want to hurl, the good news is no red-blooded American gastronaut ever has to wait long before another, better food holiday comes around. What follows is my list of the best, most decadent and grub-tastic food days to look forward to.
Thanksgiving is the mother of all great American food holidays. And while a turkey, perfectly roasted (or deep-fried), might be the centerpiece of any properly laid table, Americans all know that it's the stuffing, the gravy and the sides that really matter. Also, taking bets on which weird aunt or alcoholic cousin is going to end up with a nice holiday mugshot by which to remember the day. Thanksgiving is also the best American food holiday because there's nothing else to it but the eating--no church, no presents, no fireworks, just one, long, unbroken stretch of eating and drinking and fighting with one's relations, followed by more eating, more drinking, football, more drinking and then, the inevitable standoff with the local SWAT team and hostage negotiators (which is always nice, since you probably haven't seen them since last Thanksgiving). And there's always those leftovers the next day--perfect for throwing together a few sandwiches while everyone goes down to the courthouse to bail out Uncle Scooter who got all liquored up on cooking wine and rum cake and sodomized a police dog.
Look at those breasts...
4th of July
The 4th of July combines two of the greatest things in the world into one awesome food holiday: Barbecue and explosives. Granted, it should really be called Missing Fingers and House Fire Awareness Day, but 4th of July does have a much more patriotic ring to it.
This is somewhat less than hygenic
February: National Potato Lovers Month
Okay, so maybe you missed National Potato Lovers month this year. But I bet you won't miss it again! Because I have been trying for years to get National Potato Lovers Month turned into a huge bachanalia of starchy, starchy love, wherein all lovers of the homely spud get blowjobs, cash prizes and kisses from the Potato Queen. Thus far, I haven't had a lot of success, but I'm still trying...
I love you, too, Mutant Potato
Most people look at Christmas just in terms of presents. Some of them look at it as the day that a crazy loner was born who would someday completely change the world (I mean Karl Rove, of course). Me, I see it as a day which might start with presents, but ends with a massive feast without all the rules and regulations of Thanksgiving or Easter. On Christmas, we can eat whatever we want. Turkey, ham, lamb, goose, tofu, cookies, hash brownies, Chinese take-out, candy canes dipped in Everclear, cheeseburgers, waffles--you name it. The proper Christmas feast may have been initially laid out by Dickens in A Christmas Carol, but Americans, wisely, have never really taken much in the way of culinary inspiration from the British. So now, every family in the nation has developed their own Christmas dinner rituals which they hold to with the ferocity of Hatfields and McCoys, and every minor alteration in the orderly flow of tradition has the potential to leave lasting scars, both physical and psychological.
Asleep and dreaming of a white Christmas
Chinese New Year
Possibly the awesomest of all food holidays because, like Thanksgiving, it revolves almost completely around eating and, like the 4th of July, also involves explosives. Plus, after Thanksgiving, Christmas and Potato Month, I've had my fill of American grub and am totally in the mood for some...of whatever that is in the picture above.
I am fully in favor of any holiday that involves things on sticks
March 28: Something (Anything) On A Stick Day
All food tastes better on a stick. And I mean all food. Hot dogs are great. Hot dogs on a stick are better. Hot dogs on a stick, dipped in batter and deep-fried? Well, that's a corndog and that's the best dog of all. Pancakes on a stick. Cheesecake on a stick. Cheesesteak on a stick. Just plain cheese on a stick--it's all good, and March 28 was the day we were all supposed to celebrate the brilliance and deliciousness of all stick-based cuisine.
My favorite: the whole duck-on-a-stick
If you missed Something On A Stick Day this year, don't worry. I did, too. But the best thing about food holidays? It doesn't matter if occasionally (inevitably) they go all wrong because as soon as they're over, the countdown to next year's celebration just begins all over again.
And right now, we're just 360 days away from the next Something On A Stick Day. I'm going to start planning right now.