National Watermelon Day – Aug. 3, 2018

NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY

Watermelon is the perfect fruit to enjoy on August 3rd.  It is also National Watermelon Day. Enjoyed by many, it is a favorite at summertime events such as picnics and fairs.  Watermelon is 92% water, which is why it is so refreshing.

Celebrate National Watermelon Day on Aug. 3.

To celebrate National Watermelon Day, check out the recipes at BH&G.com.

Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon – although not in the genus Cucumis – has a smooth exterior rind (usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, or white).

The fruit was likely first cultivated for its ability to hold plentiful water in a desert landscape, especially since the wild melon was bitter or tasteless.  Seeds and art found in tombs of Pharaohs are substantial evidence of the watermelon’s value. Cultivation and breeding brought out the better qualities of sweet and tender fruit we enjoy today.

Watermelons can grow enormous, and you will find competitions across the country which award prizes each year for the largest one.  The Guinness Book of World Records states that the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more refreshing watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Enjoy a slice of Watermelon today and celebrate with the rest of the country! Post on social media using #NationalWatermelonDay.

Better Homes and Gardens™  has a variety of watermelon recipes.

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Celebrate National Watermelon Day -Aug.3

This non-official American holiday’s beginnings are unknown however some believe it was created by watermelon farms while others suspect it was a creation of the National Watermelons Board.

According to Holidays Calendar, “Biologists and botanists believe that the modern watermelon can be traced all the way back to a vine like plant that grew wild in southern Africa. It has been cultivated by indigenous people since at least the second Millennium BC. From that auspicious beginning, the modern watermelon then spread all the way through Asia over the next thousand years, and eventually made its way into southern Europe by the tenth century. It was then introduced to the New World via European settlers and African slaves by the sixteenth century. By the seventeenth century, it was a commonly grown staple throughout much of the southern United States.

Today, watermelons are grown in almost every state in the U.S. In fact, there are only about 6 states where watermelons aren’t grown commercially. The states which produce the most watermelons are California, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Florida.”

 

Watermelon Facts:

  • Watermelons are mostly water. About 91% of the watermelon by volume is made up of water.
  • The seeds and rind of the watermelon are edible.
  • Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable.
  • Seedless watermelons are NOT genetically engineered. They are a result of hybridization.
  • Oklahoma’s official State vegetable since 2007.
  • Watermelon has more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

Paul Bunyan Day – June 28

Paul Bunyan Day is a giant  of a day. Paul Bunyan was a gigantic lumberjack of American Folklore. According to folklore, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox “Babe” lived and travelled around country. He is best known for his logging feats.

Paul Bunyan and Babe

Visit the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota.

The Origin of Paul Bunyan Day:

French Canadians were believed to have originated Paul Bunyan during the Papineau rebellion of 1837.  While he may have been created in Canada, Paul Bunyan quickly became a huge American legend. Many of the tales of Paul Bunyan originated in lumberjack industry and logging communities. Like all good folklore, it was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Over campfires, his legend grew, and tales were created. Written tales emerged in the early 1900’s.

Some historians believe Paul Bunyan was based on a real person — a French-Canadian logger named Fabian “Joe” Fournier. Fournier, born in Quebec around 1845, moved to Michigan after the Civil War to take advantage of the high-paying logging industry.

 

Paul Bunyan is “credited” with many deeds. Among his more legendary feats:

  • He created logging in the U.S.
  • He scooped out the great lakes to water Babe, his ox.
  • He cleared the entire states of North and South Dakota for farming.
  • He trained ants to do logging work. They were, of course, Carpenter Ants.
  • Babe’s large footprints created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

 

Check out this Walt Disney version of the folklore legend:

According to the website Brownielocks and The 3 Bears, the actual date of Paul Bunyan Day is on February 12.
Why? It is believed by the people of Bangor, Maine that Paul Bunyan was born there on Feb. 12, 1834.

According to the site “Another version is that because “Bunyan” sounds like the French-Canadian slang word “Bonyenne” which translated into English means “Good Grief!” This exclamation would often be said if you heard something extraordinary. And, it is rumored that way back during the Papineau Rebellion of 1837 the French Canadians created Paul Bunyan (pronounced the same way as bonyenne) tales as a way to keep their spirits up and be entertained as they fought against the British colonial government. As you know, stories get spread between people, but in doing so, they don’t get retold accurately. So, as time went on, stories got more exaggerated to keep the entertainment up; or, as a way to compete amongst each other for who could be the most creative in telling a Paul Bunyan tale.

When did they get written down? The first known publications of Paul Bunyan tales were in 1910 by James MacGillivray. Years later, a man by the name of W.B. Laughhead, published these lumberjack tales in 1916 for promotional logging reasons and they grew in popularity far beyond just the lumbering trade.

Michigan claims Paul Bunyan began there because they (1) Have the first known publications about Paul Bunyan by James MacGillivray; and (2) because they are the first to actually have a Paul Bunyan observance activity in honor of him. The first known celebrations of Paul Bunyan Day date back to 1938, with the first Paul Bunyan Dance at the Saline Valley Farms, with a small group of foresters. As the popularity grew, the dance changed from square dance to waltzes, jitterbugs and so on. Although most of these dances were held in February, on November 20, 1943 at the University of Michigan they held a formal dance in the Michigan Union Ballroom, with a cider bar (no alcohol!). But, they also had a sawing contest with male and female partners as well. This event was very popular and attracted up to 100 couples. The winner received a grand prize of two U.S. War Bonds! Other Paul Bunyan dances featured square dancing and jug bands. The dances died off for a while. But, have been revised by the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan off and on.”

 

To take a trivia quiz on Paul Bunyan, visit Brownie Locks.com.

 

The Story Behind Mother’s Day

by Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic

Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis  (Photograph by Bettmann, Corbis)

As Mother’s Day turns 100 this year, it’s known mostly as a time for brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation.

But the holiday has more somber roots: It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.

It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one—best known as the composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”—issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Around the same time, Jarvis had initiated a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state. But it was her daughter Anna who was most responsible for what we call Mother’s Day—and who would spend most of her later life fighting what it had become.

“Mother’s Day,” Not “Mothers’ Day”

Anna Jarvis never had children of her own, but the 1905 death of her own mother inspired her to organize the first Mother’s Day observances in 1908.

On May 10 of that year, families gathered at events in Jarvis’s hometown of Grafton, West Virginia—at a church now renamed the International Mother’s Day Shrine—as well as in Philadelphia, where Jarvis lived at the time, and in several other cities.

Largely through Jarvis’s efforts, Mother’s Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday.

“For Jarvis it was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,” West Virginia Wesleyan’s Antolini, who wrote “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother’s Day” as her Ph.D. dissertation, said in a previous interview.

“It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter.” That’s why Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day,” rather than the plural “Mothers’ Day,” Antolini explained.

But Jarvis’s success soon turned to failure, at least in her own eyes.

Storming Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards—a development that deeply disturbed Jarvis. She set about dedicating herself and her sizable inheritance to returning Mother’s Day to its reverent roots.

Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and tried to retain some control of the holiday. She organized boycotts, threatened lawsuits, and even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day to raise funds for charities.

“In 1923 she crashed a convention of confectioners in Philadelphia,” Antolini said.

A similar protest followed two years later. “The American War Mothers, which still exists, used Mother’s Day for fund-raising and sold carnations every year,” Antolini said. “Anna resented that, so she crashed their 1925 convention in Philadelphia and was actually arrested for disturbing the peace.”

Jarvis’s fervent attempts to reform Mother’s Day continued until at least the early 1940s. In 1948 she died at 84 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

“This woman, who died penniless in a sanitarium in a state of dementia, was a woman who could have profited from Mother’s Day if she wanted to,” Antolini said.

“But she railed against those who did, and it cost her everything, financially and physically.”

Mother’s Day Gifts Today: Brunch, Bouquets, Bling

Today, of course, Mother’s Day continues to roll on as an engine of consumerism.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on mom this year, down from a survey high of $168.94 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $19.9 billion. The U.S. National Restaurant Association reports that Mother’s Day is the year’s most popular holiday for dining out.

As for Mother’s Day being a hallmark holiday, there’s no denying it, strictly speaking.

Hallmark Cards itself, which sold its first Mother’s Day cards in the early 1920s, reports that Mother’s Day is the number three holiday for card exchange in the United States, behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day—another apparent affront to the memory of the mother of Mother’s Day.

About 133 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged annually, according to Hallmark. After Christmas, it’s the second most popular holiday for giving gifts.

Mother’s Day Gone Global

The holiday Anna Jarvis launched has spread around much of the world, though it’s celebrated with varying enthusiasm, in various ways, and on various days—though more often than not on the second Sunday in May.

In much of the Arab world, Mother’s Day is on March 21, which happens to loosely coincide with the start of spring. In Panama the day is celebrated on December 8, when the Catholic Church honors perhaps the most famous of mothers, the Virgin Mary. In Thailand mothers are honored on August 12, the birthday of Queen Sirikit, who has reigned since 1956 and is considered by many to be a mother to all Thais.

Britain’s centuries-old Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of the Christian period of Lent, began as a spring Sunday designated for people to visit their area’s main cathedral, or mother church, rather than their local parish.

Mothering Sunday church travel led to family reunions, which in turn led to Britain’s version of Mother’s Day.

 

 

National Shrimp Day – May 9th

Here are today’s five food finds about Shrimp: The pistol shrimp can deliver an explosive attack hotter than the surface of the sun and loud enough to rupture a human ear drum. Every shrimp is actually born male, and some develop into females. Some shrimp are actually capable of glowing in the dark. Shrimp can […]

via May 9th is National Shrimp Day !🍤🍤 — Foodimentary – National Food Holidays

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Hearts, flowers and chocolates are all part of the holiday we celebrate as Valentine’s Day.  Find out more about the Legend of St. Valentine and the origins of the Day of Love by clicking here: History.com

 

Here’s 10 Trivia questions (answers given below) about Valentine’s Day: 

 

  1. Who is the winged child shooting the lovers arrow?
  2. Is Valentines Day the #1 card giving holiday?
  3. What does the word ‘valentine” stand for in Latin?
  4. On Valentines Day 1876 who received a patent for what important invention?
  5. What percent of women send roses to themselves on Valentines Day?
  6. Who will receive the most Valentines cards this year:  Mom, wife, girlfriend, or neither?
  7. In Old Ireland a heart was carved into what as a Valentines gift?
  8. The Farmers Almanac says “If a woman sees a robin on Valentines Day she will marry a ..???”
  9. Which state produces the majority of America’s roses?
  10. Name the actress who was nominated for an astounding SIX Academy Awards and was born on Valentines Day?

 

 

 

Trivia Answers: 

  1. Cupid
  2. No, Christmas is.
  3. Valor
  4. Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone
  5. 15%
  6. Neither.  Teachers get the most!
  7. A wooden spoon.
  8. Sailor
  9. California
  10. Thelma Ritter was born Feb. 14, 1902.  She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All About Eve (1950), The Mating Season (1951), With a Song in my Heart (1952), Pickup on South Street (1953), Pillow Talk (1959), and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).  She never won! 

 

 

Besides Frederick Douglas, Carl Bernstein and Jimmy Hoffa,  click HERE for a list of other famous people born on February 14th.

 

Did you know?

The heart shape wasn’t always a romantic symbol. 

Gil Elvgren Vintage Pin up - Happy Valentine's Day

Artist Gil Elvgren‘s pinup girl wishes you a happy holiday!

Prior to the 14th century, the shape we call a heart symbolized the anatomical heart, widely believed to be humans’ center of memory, according to Time. It wasn’t until Italian and French artists began championing the idea of romantic love that the St. Valentine heart became synonymous with love.

“Wearing your heart on your sleeve” is more than just a phrase.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be. They would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings.

 

Find out more trivia about Valentine’s Day from Woman’s Day.com

 

 

 

Celebrate National Milk Day (Jan. 11) with Martha Stewart’s Bananas Foster Milkshake

Thank ol’ Bessie for that big glass of milk you have for breakfast!  It’s National Milk Day.

National Milk Day on January 11 commemorates the day that many think the first milk deliveries in glass bottles began in the United States.  Alexander Campbell of the New York Dairy Company professed to the New York State Senate that his company was the first to make these deliveries in 1878.

In 1915, The International Association of Milk Inspectors submitted a request to Congress in October of 1915 for a resolution naming an observance of National Milk Day. A date was not suggested in their request. No record that the incoming Congress ever presented a resolution for National Milk Day has been found, nor did incoming President Woodrow Wilson ever declare the day.

Regardless, it’s a day to celebrate milk and a good excuse to have a milkshake!

Martha Stewart's Bananas Foster Milkshake

Photo by Bryan Gardner

 

To celebrate, make a Bananas Foster Milkshake from Martha Stewart’s recipes.

This recipe is inspired from the sweet and salty dessert of the same name.

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  1. Dip rim of a tall glass in caramel. Place glass in freezer while preparing milkshake.
  2. Blend vanilla ice cream and milk until thick but pourable. Add 1/2 of the banana and pulse to combine.
  3. Sprinkle remaining banana slices with sugar; using a hand-held kitchen torch, caramelize the bananas.
  4.  Spread some caramel sauce on the inside of the prepared glass. Add coffee ice cream. Drizzle with more caramel sauce and break 2 pretzels into glass. Top with milkshake; do not fill to the top of the glass or it will overflow when toppings are added. Pipe on whipped cream, as desired. Top with bruleed banana, more caramel sauce, and pretzels also dipped in caramel. Serve with a straw, a bowl and a spoon.

 

 

Milk Trivia

—  The United States and Australia are the world’s largest exporters of milk and milk products.

Life Photographer Nat Farbman's photo of cats Blackie and Brownie getting squirts of milk during milking at Arch Badertscher's Dairy Farm.

Udder Bliss: Cats Blackie and Brownie (in foreground) catching squirts of milk during milking at Arch Badertscher’s dairy farm. Photo by Nat Farbman

—  Throughout the world, there are more than 6 billion consumers of milk and milk products.

—  In the Middle Ages, milk was called the virtuous white liquor because alcoholic beverages were more reliable than water.

—  1863 – French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization, a method of killing harmful bacteria in beverages and food products.

—  1884 – American Doctor Hervey Thatcher of New York City, developed the first modern glass milk bottle, called ‘Thatcher’s Common Sense Milk Jar,’ which was sealed with a waxed paper disk. Later, in 1932, plastic-coated paper milk cartons were introduced commercially as a consequence of their invention by Victor W. Farris.

—  The females of all mammal species can by definition produce milk, but cow milk dominates commercial production. In 2011, FAO estimates  85% of all milk worldwide was produced from cows.   

—  Aside from cattle, many kinds of livestock provide milk used by humans for dairy products. These animals include buffalo, goat, sheep, camel, donkey, horse, reindeer and yak.

—  Milk is processed into a variety of dairy products such as cream, butter, yogurt, kefir, ice cream and cheese.

—   Modern industrial processes use milk to produce casein, whey protein, lactose, condensed milk, powdered milk and many other food-additive and industrial products.

—  World Milk Day is celebrated on June 1.

 

The Top 7 Dairy Cow Breeds are:

Holstein Cow

Holstein cows are the most popular of dairy breeds, since they tend to produce more milk than all the others. Holsteins are black and white (and sometimes red). Their markings are like human fingerprints: no Holsteins have the same markings. 

  1. Holsteins
  2. Jerseys
  3. Guernseys
  4. Ayrshires
  5. Brown Swiss
  6. Milking Shorthorns aka Durhams
  7. Dutch Belted