March was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The month itself represents a battle of seasons, where the promise of spring rumbles against the tenacity of winter (unless you live in San Diego or something, in which case can I come visit you?) Mars was also the guardian of agriculture, and this month signals the beginning of the farming and gardening season for many who flaunt green thumbs.
Speaking of green, there’s a mid-month event that honors the dude who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle that somehow involves green beer, followed up with a big celebration of the resurrection of Christ that somehow involves green plastic grass. If you’re a secularist, no worries: March still holds plenty of opportunities to make merry with food. Including Oreos (green filling is optional).
Sara Bir loves Oreos, but just the classic kind. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.
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March 1: St. David's Day. Wales—that one little British country that's not Ireland or Scotland—has its own early spring celebration. St. David's Day is the feast day of the patron saint of Wales, and an important emblem of the day is the leek (it's a Welsh national symbol). Read about some of the wonderful foods of St. David's Day here. Where I live it's scarce on Welsh ancestry, so I'll have to make due by playing lots of Tom Jones.
liz west CC BY
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March 1: National Pig Day. Observing this day by not consuming pork is just as legitimate as having pork on the menu. National Pig Day dates back to 1972, when founder Mary Lynne Rave was moved to honor the pig as "one of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals." Indeed, pigs are a noble animal in culinary, cultural, and agricultural terms, as well as incredibly adaptable and intelligent. Perhaps celebrate the pig by reading Harry Crews' A Childhood: Biography of a Place (which famously includes a recounting of an accident at a pig boiling that altered his life), by getting a copy of Lyall Watson's Whole Hog, or getting all softie and watching Babe, straight-up one of the best animal movies of all time. Or, yeah, just order a ham sandwich at lunchtime.
Jenny Poole CC BY
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National Frozen Food Month: What was life like before freezers were standard-issue major appliances? Let's just say that casual consumption of Popsicles, ice cubes, and pizzas tasting like cardboard was unheard of. Let alone the usefulness of batch cooking so you can have a bunch of dinners at the ready for weeks to come. Read about the history of frozen food here, and the next time you nuke an Amy's black bean and cheese enchilada, you'll savor it just a little more.
Steven Depolo CC BY
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March 3: National Cold Cuts Day. Sigh. Cold cuts have gotten a ton of bad press in the last year or so. Packed with nitrites, nitrates, sodium, and fat, they offer little in the way of nutrition and a lot in the way of cancer-causing carcinogens. However, cold cuts are made to be eaten in moderation. Plan ahead and go cold turkey on cold cuts for a few weeks so you can live it up deli-platter style, eschewing the sad stuff pre-packed in the grocery store and getting some quality lunchmeat.
Alpha CC BY-SA
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March 6: National Oreo Day. Oh, the pleasure of twisting them open, of dunking them in milk, of their inimitable smell when you open a new package. Oh, the tenacity of that coal-black residue that lingers in the crevices of your molars post-eating. Almost everyone loves Oreos. Purists prefer their classic iteration, but if you're one of those people who follow the rapid successions of kooky limited edition flavors that Nabisco has hurled at us in recent years, this video of Paste staffers critiquing Oreo variations might be useful in informing future purchases.
Angelbattle bros CC BY-ND
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National Fresh Celery Month: Crunch greatness! Scrub out the interior residue left from Oreo Day and Cold Cuts Day by masticating on a crisp, fiber-packed rib or two of fresh celery. Crunchy, refreshing, budget-friendly. Not convinced? Maybe this celery PSA, courtesy of Portlandia, will nudge you to cele-brate every day, all March long.
Julie Jordan Scott CC BY
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March 7: National Cereal Day. Initially conceived as a breakfast food yet enjoyed by millions as a snack, dessert, dinner, or straight-up from the box when they're stoned, few prepared foods span such a large chasm between junky and sugar-packed and healthy and full of fiber. Just think—which other convenience food commands its own entire aisle at the supermarket? Check out Martin Gitlin's The Great American Cereal Book, a fun and informative nostalgia-fest for any cereal fan.
Caden Crawford CC BY-ND
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March 8: IHOP National Pancake Day. This will mark the eleventh year that IHOP has held its National Pancake Day event. Participating locations will offer a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes, asking patrons to instead leave a donation to a selected charity organization (this year, it's the Children's Miracle Network). So the upgraded stack shown above is not really an accurate depiction of what's in store, unless you feel like springing for extra. And if you're an IHOP fan, why not? (We encourage non-fans of IHOP, or of crowds clamoring for free pancakes, to just stay at home and haul out the griddle. And hey, no one said you have to visit a pancake restaurant to make a donation to charity.)
Elsie Hui CC BY
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March 13: Daylight Savings Time. It's time to spring forward, meaning you'll lose an hour of the day. What does this have to do with food? It can throw off your internal body clock, sort of like a minor case of jet lag. Maybe skip breakfast and lunch and do a Sunday brunch to ease into it.
frankieleon CC BY
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March 14: Pi Day. It's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, but also a homonym for a beloved pastry item that happens to be in circular form. Pie-loving math nerds, roll up your sleeves.
Catherine Cronin CC BY-SA