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The View from My Kitchen

Benvenuti! I hope you enjoy il panorama dalla mia cucina Italiana -- "the view from my Italian kitchen,"-- where I indulge my passion for Italian food and cooking. From here, I share some thoughts and ideas on food, as well as recipes and restaurant reviews, notes on travel, and a few garnishes from a lifetime in the entertainment industry.

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Grazie mille!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February (2012) Fun Food Holidays

It's February. In Roman times, February, named for the Latin word for purification, was the last month of the calendar year. It's a month for Valentines and for celebrating George Washington's birthday, so naturally there'll be chocolate and cherries involved. But there's more.

2012 being a leap year, February get its extra day this year, but it's still the shortest month on the calendar. So how come so much gets crammed into it?

February is – deep breath – National Fondue Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Canned Food Month, Potato Lover's Month, Sweet Potato Month, and Great American Pies Month. Of course, it's also National Cherry Month and Celebration of Chocolate Month.

The weeks are crowded with dedications to pancakes, pizza, pickles, and frankfurters and kraut.

And the busy individual food days march on through National Baked Alaska Day on February 1. The second is set aside for Heavenly Hash. Stand up for carrott cake on February 3 and sit down to a bowl of homemade soup on the 4th, which is also Stuffed Mushroom Day.

Start the first full week of the month with a celebration of chocolate fondue on the 5th, also World Nutella Day in honor of that creamy, delicious chocolate and hazelnut substance that is the Italian equivalent of peanut butter.

Another Italian dish gets a nod on February 7, National Fettuccine Alfredo Day.

Belly up to the molasses bar for Molasses Bar Day on February 8.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's February 9, National Pizza Pie Day, curiously a day also shared with bagels and lox.

Cream cheese brownies get a day of their own on February 10, followed by Peppermint Patty Day on the 11th, a day in which we also recognize the old maxim “Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk.” And, no, that doesn't have anything to do with the Great Chicago Fire; that was in October. So don't ask me why we bring up spilled milk in February.

Two dishes that I often associate with one another, plum pudding and tortellini, have back-to-back days on the 12th and 13th.

Of course, February 14 has to be National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day.

The 15th is pretty sweet, too; National Gumdrop Day.

Give almonds their due on February 16 and then dish up some Indian pudding with which to celebrate on February 17.

How 'bout some crab-stuffed flounder on February 18th, a day on which you are also encouraged to drink wine? Seriously. It's Drink Wine Day. Who knew?

Eat chocolate mint and cherry pie on the 19th and 20th, respectively, although why you would celebrate cherry pie two days before Washington's birthday, I don't know. In fact, you're supposed to down a few margaritas to mark National Margarita Day on February 22, Sticky buns get stuck in between cherry pies and margaritas on the 21st.

Banana bread gets a day on the 23rd of February, a date which also proves that every dog biscuit gets its day. Yep. Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day falls on February 23.

Tortilla Chip Day hits the calendar on the 24th. Save some to have with the clam chowder that's feted on the following day. Ewwww!

Break out the goobers and dip 'em in chocolate fountain for National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day.

Pistachios and strawberries, both of which are also pretty good when covered with chocolate, have their days on the 26th and 27th, the latter day also dedicated to Kahlua, similarly not too shabby with chocolate.

Normally, the month would close out with a nod to chocolate souffle on February 28, but it is Leap Year, after all, so consume some surf and turf on its officially recognized day, February 29.

Ciao for now!

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