Opinion: February, the yummy month
And so we come to the end of January, a month that introduced a new year that began with the build-up to an insurrection in the national capital and is ending with a new administration in charge of our government, though not as a result of insurrection. On Monday, we’ll flip a page on our monthly calendar and notice that February, which had 29 days in 2020, is once again only 28 days — our shortest month.
It might interest you to know that there was no February in the original Roman calendar. In fact, there was no January, either. Before 153 BCE (or AD, as our years were known for about two millennia), the new year started on March 1, and there were only 10 months. But, as those in charge of such things learned that it took about 365 days for the earth to revolve around the sun, January and February were added. January 1 was recognized as the start of a new year, and February had little significance until the British called it “Kale-monath,” meaning “Cabbage Month.” I don’t know how it got that sobriquet. Perhaps people in medieval England simply ate a lot of cabbage at this time of year.
National Days of Recognition
For some reason, February is the month that has the most days that are devoted to the recognition of scrumptious foods. Behold the following line-up:
Feb. 1: National Dark Chocolate Day
National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
Feb. 2: National Tater Tot Day
I’ll bet people in Pennsylvania snack on warm tater-tots on Groundhog Day as they await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil and his prediction about the arrival of spring.
Feb. 3: National Carrot Cake Day
Feb. 4: National Thank-a-Mail-Carrier Day, and grateful mail recipients will show appreciation with a plate of cookies
Feb. 5: National Bubble Gum Day
National Chocolate Fondue Day
National Nutella Day, and you can top that off by having fun during National Shower-with-a-Friend Day.
Feb. 6: National Frozen Yogurt Day
Feb. 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
Feb. 9: National Pizza Day
Feb. 12: National Plum Pudding Day
Feb. 13: National Tortellini Day
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day, and we know that involves a heart-shaped box full of chocolates
Feb. 16: National Pancake Day
National Paczki Day (a paczki being a deep-fried donut-type Polish dessert that’s filled with sweet cream or fruit)
Feb. 18: National Drink Wine Day
Feb. 19: National Chocolate Mint Day
Feb. 20: National Muffin Day
Feb. 21: National Sticky Bun Day
Feb. 22: National Margarita Day (not recognized in Margaritaville, where everyday is Margarita Day — just ask Jimmy Buffet)
Feb. 23: National Dog Biscuit Day (if you don’t think that this is a yummy good, just ask Snoopy)
Feb. 24: National Chili Day
National Clam Chowder Day
Feb. 26: National Pistachio Day
Feb. 27: National Protein Day (Be sure to choose a delectable protein, like veal parmigiana)
Feb. 28: National Chocolate Souffle Day
Not being a particular fan of cabbage, which my Irish great grandmother boiled in the same pot with corned beef and potatoes, I prefer to think of the next four weeks as Yummy Month. (It’s also why I identify with the Italian side of my family, people who knew how to prepare and eat really delicious food.) While the British Isles gave us yucky things like Haggis Baggis or yucky-sounding things like clotted cream (which is about the only taste-bud teaser to come from Britain), Italy watered our mouths with antipasto, ravioli alla Napoletana, tiramisu, and bisque tortoni.
Paying the piper
After sating our appetites by appropriately recognizing all those national yummy-food days, we should probably spend the month of March by fasting and committing to a low-calorie diet plan. We’ll need to get our body-mass index (BMI) below 30, the point at which “normal” becomes “overweight.” To help you find your BMI, here’s the formula:
BMI = your weight in pounds, times 703, divided by your height in inches, divided by your height in inches, again.
A BMI between 19 and 24.9 is considered to be healthy; 25 to 29.9 is overweight; 30 to 34.9 is obese; above 35 is morbidly obese. And we’re reminded of this by our calendar because March 4 is “World Obesity Day.” Until we get there, enjoy Yummy Month if your current BMI is acceptable.
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Jim Glynn is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.