The first packaged dry cereal was Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, a recipe that was stumbled upon accidentally by the vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventist Kellogg brothers. The food was intentionally bland because “Kellogg believed that spicy or sweet foods would increase passions,” according to Wikipedia. The patent was filed in 1895.
Fast-forward to the 1960s: In a Beverly Hills mansion, Miss Jane Hathaway endeavors to civilize Jethro by teaching him to eat corn flakes from a bowl after seeing him grab a handful directly from the box.
“Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are esteemed universally, but there are more socially acceptable ways to enjoy them,” she lectures.
Holding the spoon, Jethro asks, “Is this the way they eat corn in Beverly Hills?” Miss Hathaway nods. “I’m glad I come!” shouts the hillbilly.
Beverly Hillbillies, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial (~1962)
- National Cereal Day (punchbowl.com)
How should you celebrate? eHow suggests, “Make frozen food crafts like a pea necklace using a large needle, thread and a clasp… Drape the necklace around your bare neck and enjoy the chilly sensation as you enjoy National Frozen Food Day!”
In this vintage commercial, Birds Eye Green Peas and Pearl Onions are an explosive combination, going Zap! Blam! and Pow! Maybe the frozen pea necklace isn’t such a great idea in that case. The commercial features a special appearance by Mayberry’s own Sheriff Andy Taylor).
According to Wikipedia, “Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. “
So that is why it’s called that — it has nothing to do with pounding. Somebody please tell that to the schoolyard bully who, 40 years ago, asked me menacingly, “Want a pound cake?” and I knew that she wasn’t offering me cake. (Yes, my bully was a girl.)
In this commercial for Sara Lee pound cake, Christopher Hewett (TV’s own “Mr. Belvedere”) recites a plaintive poem, “Who ate the Sara Lee?” while holding an empty tin.
Who ate the Sara Lee?
Who ate the piece that I saved for me?
Who just couldn’t resist?
Who ate the Sara Lee?
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- National Pound Cake Day (eatocracy.cnn.com)
March 1 is National Pig Day.
Asked to name their favorite pig, some people might choose Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web or Babe. But for me, it’s Arnold Ziffel hands down.
Arnold was the pig in Green Acres who was treated like a person by everyone except for the perpetually exasperated Oliver Douglas. The “son” of Fred and Doris Ziffel, Arnold attended school, played the piano, painted, was even drafted into the U.S. Army. This was no more zany than anything else that went on in the fictional town of Hooterville.
- National Pig Day (wikipedia.org)
Is Peter Pan calling you?
Is Peter Pan calling you?…
Peanut butter lover
You know there’s no other
Is Peter Pan calling you?
- National Peanut Butter Lovers Day (punchbowl.com)
- Today on the tray: Fluffernutters (and A Very Brady Surprise) (michaelstvtray.com)
- Lock your windows! (michaelstvtray.com)
- Today on the tray: Peanut butter cookies (michaelstvtray.com)
February 28 is National Chocolate Souffle Day.
According to CNN Eatocracy, “The name comes from a French verb, souffler, which literally means to ‘blow up’ or ‘puff up,’” and that’s exactly the magic that happens when you bake custard and egg whites together.”
I can’t think of chocolate souffle without thinking of the episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which Sue Ann has an affair with Phyllis’s husband Lars — and Phyllis retaliates by ruining Sue Ann’s chocolate souffle. (She slams the oven door, causing the souffle to fall).
Later, Phyllis innocently asks Sue Ann if she knows how to remove chocolate stains. “Why, yes!” chirps Sue Ann.
“Good,” says Phyllis, dipping her hand into the ruined souffle and flinging chocolate at Sue Ann’s white apron.
- National Chocolate Souffle Day (examiner.com)
“In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves,” according to the London, Ohio Strawberry Festival website. “They believe that the elves, are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return.”
For National Strawberry Day, let’s watch the Beatles frolic among the strawberries in their animated Saturday morning series from the late 1960s. By the way, did you know that the real Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army children’s home in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton?
Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
- National Strawberry Day (punchbowl.com)
February 25 is National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day.
Since I have already posted about Goobers and Almond Joy for other occasions, I had to think of another chocolate-covered nut candy for today’s post so as not to repeat myself. Fortunately, I was able to consult Wikipedia’s list of chocolate bar brands.
I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of Chunky, because to me, raisins are Chunky’s more memorable ingredient. But there are nuts in there too, so it counts. Therefore, in honor of National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day, I present to you this vintage Chunky commercial. I feel as though I should know the name of the character actor wearing the bowtie. If you know who it is, please leave a message in the comments.
There is also a chocolate candy bar with nuts called Take 5. I had never heard of that one, but I immediately thought of the famous jazz piece by that name. Even if you don’t like jazz, you’ve heard this:
“Take Five” is used in the soundtrack of Pleasantville in my favorite scene. It’s the one in the malt shop where David/Bud tells the assembled group of kids about the world outside of Pleasantville. If you read this blog, the film Pleasantville is required viewing.
The candy bar Take 5 is not named after the jazz composition. It is named for its five ingredients: milk chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, pretzels, and of course, peanuts.
Whether you eat Goobers, Almond Joy, Chunky, Take Five, or some other chocolate-covered nut product, have a great National Chocolate-Covered Nut Day!
Tortilla chips started out as a way to avoid waste. According to Punchbowl.com, “Rebecca Webb Carranza invented tortilla chips in the 1950s. Carranza and her husband owned the El Zarape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles and were among the first to automate the production of tortillas. The machine often produced misshapen tortillas, and Carranza decided to try and use them instead of throwing them away. She cut the rejected tortillas into triangles, fried them, and sold them for a dime a bag.”
Let’s celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day with The Addams Family! In this 1986 commercial, Fernando Escandon brings Tostitos Chilada Flavor tortilla chips to the Addams Family house. Morticia and Gomez receive the chips enthusiastically. But before they can taste them, Thing snatches the bag.