Obscure Food Holidays: October Edition
In this first addition into the series of obscure food holidays and how to celebrate them, we begin with the month of October, sure to be an exciting one! Some of the highlights of the month that will be spotlighted in this edition include national homemade cookie day on October 1st, national kale day on the 3rd, national gumbo day October 12th and lastly national candy corn day on the 30th.
- October 1st - National Homemade Cookie Day
There is a reason October 1st is reserved for national homemade cookie day, because they are just so good. Cookies are a special treat, but don’t always have to be just a treat. A variety of spins can be put on the classic cookie to make them healthier, and even vegan! Below is a personal favorite recipe for a completely vegan chocolate chip cookie that can be enjoyed by everyone.
1 cup white, oat, or spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar, unrefined if desired
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp milk of choice, plus more if needed
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in wet to form a dough – it will be dry at first, so keep stirring until a cookie-dough texture is achieved. If needed, add 1-2 tbsp extra milk of choice. Form into one big ball, then either refrigerate at least 2 hours or freeze until the dough is cold. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 325 F. Form dough balls, and place on a greased baking tray, leaving enough room between cookies for them to spread. Bake 11 minutes on the center rack. They’ll look underdone when you take them out. Let them cool on the baking tray 10 minutes before touching, during which time they will firm up.
- October 3rd - National Kale Day
In a day that is sure to be controversial for some, the often-overlooked kale gets its day on October 3rd. For those that are unsure entirely of what kale is, it is a leafy green member of the cabbage family that is similarly related to Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Kale has a huge variety of nutritional and health benefits that include iron, calcium, antioxidants and a number of vitamins that can boost eye and skin health as well as weight loss. For those who may be celebrating kale for the first time, an easy recipe for garlic kale is below, needing only a few ingredients it is very easy to prepare.
- 1 Bunch kale
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces from the thick stems; discard the stems.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic in the hot oil until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and continue cooking and stirring until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 5 minutes more.
- October 12th - National Gumbo Day
A certainly obscure holiday for an obscure food hailing from Louisiana gets celebrated next on October 12th. Gumbo is a stew that usually contains shellfish such as shrimp and often served over rice, it is also the official cuisine of Louisiana. Stew is always a perfect food for the chill of mid-fall, this can be enjoyed with a unique Cajun twist with gumbo. It does require a variety of ingredients, but is surprisingly easy to prepare and enjoy, a recipe for a great gumbo is below.
4 tbsp. Butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 small yellow onion
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 tbsp. cajun seasoning (without salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 green onions, sliced
cooked white rice, for serving
- In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark caramel colored, about 10 minutes.
- Add onions, peppers, and celery, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and sausage, then season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bay leaf, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add shrimp. Once shrimp is pink and cooked through, taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in green onions, reserving some for garnish.
- Serve spooned on top of white rice.
4. October 30th - National Candy Corn Day
No October obscure food holiday list would be complete without a Halloween entry, or at least the day before. There’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than with candy, and what better candy than with the always festive candy corn. Candy corn is great when enjoyed on its own, but even better when used in a spooky Halloween recipe. Mostly sugar based it has a variety of uses in recipes whether that be as an ingredient or decoration. A personal favorite recipe of mine featuring candy corn inside is for blondies that end up looking very festive.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup candy corn
1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
- Stir in the candy corn and white chocolate chips.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Bake for about 22 to 26 minutes, or until done.
Holidays from: Holiday Insights