Today is "National Pumpkin Pie Day," but that might not mean much to you.
National (insert food or drink here) days are part of our daily social media and in-person conversations. It seems there's an official (or more commonly, unofficial) holiday dedicated to every food group and more — National Cupcake Lovers Day or Deviled Eggs Day, anyone?
This month, sausage pizza, moldy cheese, soft tacos, noodles, potatoes, beer and oatmeal are each, among others, celebrated, according to Foodimentary.com, a website that chronicles, and often creates, these "daily food celebrations." John Bryan Hopkins, who started Foodimentary.com 11 years ago, describes the food holidays as a “social media phenomenon.”
And with one look on what’s trending on Twitter, where Foodimentary’s account has 860,000 followers, or my Facebook feed each day, I’d agree.
“Some people roll their eyes at it, but a lot of people get a kick out of it,” Hopkins said via phone this week. “If you share that it’s National Beer Day or Bloody Mary Day, guess what everyone’s going to want to do after work?”
When Hopkins, 45, a Birmingham, Alabama-based blogger, hears chatter about food — recent examples include cake pops and avocadoes — he adds it to the list.
“I want to celebrate food every day and I think it can be relate-able and meaningful for people,” he said. “If there’s a food we all love, then it should have its own day.”
The trend can seem, um, cheesy — until you go through his blog and something jumps out at you.
For me, it happened with National Pumpkin Pie Day, which appears on Hopkins’ calendar twice — on Oct. 12 and again on Dec. 25.
Why write about it today? It’s closer.
When I saw a holiday for pumpkin pie — which I’ve requested as my birthday cake for 10 years — coming up, I decided to share a recipe. And I knew I'd get in trouble if I didn't share a particular recipe for pumpkin pie: my grandmother's.
My 80-year-old grandma — whose given name is Dolly Sue, but who answers to "Nannie” — says she's not an adventurous cook, but I know a long list of people who crave her macaroni and cheese, biscuits and gravy and fried chicken if they're away from her Kentucky kitchen for too long. My go-to Nannie craving, especially when I see October on the calendar, is pumpkin pie.
When I called Nannie to tell her about the holiday, she said: “Well, that’s just perfect for you.”
She reached to the top shelf of her kitchen cabinet and found the recipe, which is a combination of instructions pulled from a pumpkin puree can and handwritten notes from years of trial and error.
She rattled off the ingredients — "nothing fancy," she noted — and said she won't dip up the recipe again until Thanksgiving dinner.
As we talked, I asked Nannie why she thinks I like pumpkin pie so much.
"In your mind, you associate it with fall, family and Nannie. It's your favorite thing," she said.
A few seconds after we hung up, she called me back and started talking before I could say “hello.”
"The smell of pumpkin pie — the smell of all the spices in the oven — it fills up the whole house," she told me. "You think, 'Okay, this is fall and this is the holidays.' It reminds you of happy, happy times."
I think she’s right.
By the way, pumpkins are a big deal this month on Foodimentary.com. Oct. 1 is National Pumpkin Spice Day, Oct. 21 is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and Oct. 26 is just plain old National Pumpkin Day.
There are hundreds of other National food days on that list. Maybe one of them will strike a chord, or a conversation, on your end.