We are officially in the thick of summer. Lawn chairs, cookouts, open cans in koozies, and thirsty gardens thick with green beans and tomatoes. If your life is not delivering proper levels on all those fronts, no fear: July is the time to get set straight. Or not, considering how many food days this month are dedicated to booze. Click through the gallery to see what’s worth celebrating.
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July 4: American Independence Day. Fire up the grills! Break out the coolers! And get your red and blue food coloring ready, because this is the one day to make patriotically colorful Jell-O salads, cupcakes, frozen desserts, blended drinks, and god knows what else. Pursue our gallery of Painfully Patriotic Desserts for, er, inspiration.
Courtney "Coco" Mault CC BY
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July 4: Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. Because there's just not enough other stuff to look forward to on July 4. Even though it might feel sweltering, a hot sidewalk is a very ineffective way to cook an egg. Perhaps use a solar oven instead, and why not make s'mores in there while you're at it?
Rusty Clark CC BY
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July is National Baked Beans Month. Canned baked beans were among the earliest convenience foods introduced in America, notably by Heinz and, later on, Bush's. While from-scratch baked beans are wonderful, any concoction made with the canned stuff tends to be pretty good, too. No cookout is complete without them.
Ernesto Andrade CC BY-ND
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July 6: National Fried Chicken Day. There are as many styles of fried chicken as there are regions in America. But for fried chicken that's a little off the beaten path, check out our list of spicy-crispy-crunchy Asian fried chicken styles.
jon oropeza CC BY-SA
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July 10: National Piña Colada Day. It's frothy and frozen and smells like a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion. What's not to love? Give props to Coco Lopez and Malibu, and then top it all off with a rousing karaoke version of Rupert Evans' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)".
Ruben I CC BY
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July 10: National Pick Blueberries Day. Blueberries keep well in the refrigerator, freeze well, and are delightful snacks al fresco. They're also quite easy to pick compared to low-growing strawberries and they thorny brambles of blackberries. Read the classic children's book Blueberries for Sal to get in the mood. After picking blueberries, you'll be all set to prep for National Blueberry Muffin Day on July 11.
Matt Jiggins CC BY
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July 11: World Population Day. Feeding the record number of humans on our planet (7.4 billion) is the defining challenge of our time. Creating better ways of ensuring clean and safe water supplies, sustainable land management, agriculture systems that pollute minimally…the whole shebang. Of course there's not any one solution, but access to education and reproductive health care for women is a giant part of it. The United Nations Population Fund has observed this day of annual awareness-raising since 1989. There's a connection between empowering the girls of the world and there being enough baked beans to go around. Part of the glory of frivolous food holidays is that we have the abundant food supplies and leisure time to celebrate them in the first place. Every person on our planet should have that the ability to do so, too.
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July 13: National French Fries Day. Who doesn't love french fries? Salty, crisp, greasy, starchy: they hit all the pleasure points. A lot of what is appealing about the modern french fry can be traced back to the now-ubiquitous Russet potato, developed by agriculture titan Luther Burbank. Learn the story here.
shirokazan CC BY
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July 14: Bastille Day. Here in America, we like to honor the major holidays of other countries by eating watered-down versions of their national cuisine that have very little to do with said holiday itself (see Cindo de Mayo). In other words, get started on the escargots and coq au vin!
Kurman Communications, Inc. CC BY
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July 17: National Peach Ice Cream Day. Before refrigeration and those handy electric Cuisinart ice cream makers, frozen treats were the epitome of ephemeral luxury. Add ripe peaches to the mix and you have the poignant essence of summer in one single bowl. Get your hands on an ice cream maker and churn up some of your own, perhaps using this Southern Living recipe.
That Other Paper CC BY-SA