Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31: Clams on the Half Shell, Oranges and Lemons, & Tater Day

National Clams on the Half Shell Day

I like all seafood, and I love shellfish, but I especially enjoy clams.  (Maybe because I don't eat clams that often.)   I've had clams in various soups, steamed, grilled, and baked, but I've never eaten them raw.  Seems you can enoy Clams on the Half Shell either baked or raw.  Raw shellfish has always been a little difficult for me to eat (but not raw fish... yes, I'm weird that way) so I'll probably continue to stick to cooked clams.

I also poke at clams I find on the beach, but I've never actually eaten any of the clams I've found on beaches.  I'm still a little leary of eating anything I find in the wild.

A friend recently traveled to Washington to visit another friend and shared historic pictures of the geoduck.  I think if I saw a clam as big as these pictures, I'd probably run away screaming.  Still, someday, I will have to try eating geoduck.

National Oranges and Lemons Day

The Examiner serves up the rhyme for National Oranges and Lemons Day.  I'm really not sure what to say for this day, since I think everyone knows what an orange is and what a lemon is.  You can find lots of different varieties of oranges in the stores these days - blood orange, cara cara orange, navel orange....  You also have your choice of growing location - California or Florida will probably be the two most common sources of oranges in the US.  I'm partial to California oranges, as I haven't been fond of the Florida oranges I've tried.  When I mentioned this to a friend, she claimed that the type of orange that is typically grown in Florida is meant for juicing while the ones in California are meant for eating.  I'm still not sure if this is accurate, so take that with a grain of salt.  I did find it interesting to note that oranges are the third most consumed fruit in the US, if you don't count orange juice, according to this paper from the USDA.  (That same paper claims that 74% of Florida's oranges go toward making orange juice concentrate, so maybe my friend was right.)

The cara cara oranges I tried in Whole Foods today were absolutely delicious, so I bought some and celebrated the day by eating one with dinner.  You can celebrate today by eating a fresh orange or lemon (yes, just eating the fresh lemon - I know plenty of people who do this) or by using an orange or lemon in a recipe.  I recently came accross the cookbook "Lemons and Oranges" by Rose Marie Donhauser.  There were a few recipes in there I'm interested in trying, particularly the Carrot Orange Soup, the Sauerkraut with Mandarin Orange, and the Berlin Air.  There are a lot of different cookbooks that feature oranges and lemons, including one that focuses on Mediterranean recipes and one that is so popular it's hard for even Amazon to keep in stock

(National?) Tater Day

Really?  Another day to celebrate potatoes?  The potato must have a really good advertising team, because I think the potato has more days and months on the calendar than any other food. 

In looking for information about today, I couldn't find much about the history.  And while the Examiner and a few other sites call today National Tater Day, I'm  beginning to suspect that it's not a national food celebration at all.  Instead, it's probably a regional celebration.  Specifically,  the town of Benton, Kentucky.  Seems that Benton, KY, has celebrated Tater Day for 169 years!  While it seems the technical "tater day" is April 1, Benton, KY, celebrates for an entire weekend.  This year, Tater "Day" actually runs from March 31 through April 2, complete with entertainment, cookoffs, and a run/walk. 

A celebration that lasts a whole weekend?  Those people in Benton, KY, know how to celebrate!

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