At Xyza, we’re continuing our Summertime Fun All Summer Long series with fun tidbits about national food celebrations happening the entire month of July!
Why? Because people in the United States love to celebrate everything! Celebrations come in all forms from national holidays like the birth of the country, to achievements like when NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon, to simple pleasures like ice cream! That’s right—in the US, people even celebrate food! And why not? Food, after all, is a necessary part of life and is always a welcome addition at gatherings with friends and family. July, it seems, is the month for celebrating all kinds of foods, starting with Creative Ice Cream Day on July 1st and ending with National Jump for Jelly Beans Day on July 31st (not to be confused with National Jelly Bean Day which happens on April 22nd!). There’s so much food to celebrate, some foods have to share a day—we’re looking at you, National Chicken Wing Day and National Lasagna Day (July 29th)!
Here at Xyza, we love to celebrate too! That’s why we’re picking a few national food days happening in July and sharing some interesting things about these foods in our continuing series of Summertime Fun All Summer Long! We’re starting this with National French Fry Day which is on July 13th and National Hot Dog Day which is on July 17th.
National French Fry Day (July 13th):
While it may be called “National” French Fry Day, it’s not an official national celebration at all! Nevertheless, July 13th is recognized by many restaurants and French fry lovers as National French Fry Day. Although French fries may be extremely popular in America, the tasty deep-fried potato sticks actually originated in Belgium, not France, as some people might allude from the name. So why “French” and not “Belgian” fries? Some believe that the term “French fries” came about when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, tasted the fried potatoes and called them “French” fries because people in Belgium speak French. Whatever the reason for the name, it has now become one of the most popular foods in America, and synonymous with other American food favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs. And let’s not forget the ever-popular spin-offs of the French fry such as the inventive tater tot, waffle fries, and shoestring fries.
National Hot Dog Day (July 17th)
Unlike National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Day wasn’t established by a US president. Instead, National Hot Dog Day was created by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, a council started in 1994 by the American Meat Institute as a resource for consumers and media.
And while National Ice Cream Day is always on the third Sunday of every July, National Hot Dog Day can change from year to year—all we know is that the day is sometime in July. Although this year’s National Hot Dog Day is on July 17th, the famous Nathon’s Hot Dog Eating Contest that takes place in Coney Island, New York, every July 4th has already declared its winners. On the men’s side of the competition, competitive eater Joey Chestnut, the reigning champion of the contest, took home another championship title by eating seventy-one hot dogs and buns. On the women’s side, Miki Sudo ate thirty-one hot dogs and buns and took home her sixth consecutive title. Note: Please don’t try this at home—these competitive eaters are professionals!
Interesting Fact: According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the most loved condiment for a hot dog is still mustard. Ketchup came in a close second, but the punch of flavor from mustard is what people think goes best with hot dogs.
Some claim National Fortune Cookie day is July 20th, while others claim it’s on September 13th. We say, why not celebrate these yummy little cookies on both days? Although these cookies are often associated with Chinese food, historians argue that the original fortune cookie (not the modern version) may have come from Japan. Where the fortune cookie originated has been the subject of heated debate among Chinese and Japanese immigrant populations in America. (Some claim that the modern fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco by Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in 1909, while others claim that the cookie was invented in 1919 by David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles.) The fight was finally brought to San Francisco’s Court of Historical Review in 1938. The judge ruled that the modern fortune cookie came from San Francisco pre-World War I, but even his ruling came under scrutiny with some claiming that the hearing favored San Francisco from the very beginning. So although the great debate of where the modern fortune cookie originated continues, one thing’s for sure: these little yummy fortune-producing cookies are worth celebrating.
This hard candy on a stick has made its way into the hearts (and mouths!) of Americans. But where did they come from and who came up with the idea? George Smith of New Haven, Connecticut, is credited with inventing the modern lollipop in 1908. Legend has it that he named this candy on a stick after his favorite racehorse Lolly Pop, and even though lollipops were later made of hard candy, Smith’s first lollipops were actually made of soft candy! Now there are all kinds of lollipops and the word pop is associated with all kinds of treats on a stick like lollipop’s not-so-distant cousins, the cake pop and the cookie pop!
National Ice Cream Day (July 21st)
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan formally dedicated the month of July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of every July as National Ice Cream Day. Whether you’re a fan of ice cream or not, this cool dessert is a national favorite: the average American consumes about twenty-three gallons of it a year. (If you can’t picture what twenty-three gallons of ice cream looks like, just picture a big jug of milk times twenty-three!) Ice cream is so popular that specific days in July are dedicated to celebrating certain flavors like July 23rd for National Vanilla Ice Cream Day and July 17th for National Peach Ice Cream Day.
Interesting Fact: What’s the most popular ice cream flavor in the United States? You might think it’s vanilla or chocolate, but recent research shows that it’s neither. In fact, the most popular flavor is … drum roll please … cookies and cream! Although vanilla may be the most popular in the world, cookies and cream is the most liked in the United States. Whatever your favorite flavor is, don’t forget to celebrate one of America’s favorite desserts this year on Sunday, July 21st!