NATIONAL COOK A SWEET POTATO DAY
Across the United States, National Cook A Sweet Potato Day on February 22nd celebrates a root vegetable packed with flavor and a bit of history, too. The sweet potato is eaten and loved, each day, by millions of people across the nation.
Either Central America or South America is thought to be the center of origin and domestication of sweet potatoes. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8,000 BC have been found in South America.
The sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamin A, which supports good vision, the immune system, and bone growth. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B-6, magnesium, and vitamin C. It’s also great for the complexion.
While many Americans confuse the sweet potato with a yam, the two are different. A yam is a starchy tuber while the sweet potato is truly a sweet root vegetable. The sweet potato also comes in a variety of sizes and colors, including pale to bright orange, white, and purple. High in fiber and low in fat and calories, this root vegetable is a healthful alternative to snack foods when prepared without added butter, sugar, or salt.
Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes like long, hot growing seasons. This might explain why it is the state vegetable of North Carolina.
When storing your sweet potatoes, keep them in a cool, dry place. However, don’t refrigerate them unless they’re cooked. Refrigeration will give them a bitter taste, ruining their sweet flavor. Cooks find numerous ways to experiment with sweet potatoes, too!
HOW TO OBSERVE #CookASweetPotatoDay
No matter how you cook a sweet potato, be sure to invite someone to share it with you. What’s your favorite meal of the day? Then make a sweet potato dish! Breakfast, lunch, supper or dessert call for sweet potatoes in some form. While you’re celebrating, share your favorite dishes with us. We even have a few for you to try:
Use #CookASweetPotatoDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL COOK A SWEET POTATO DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this sweet potato cooking challenge.
NATIONAL MARGARITA DAY
National Margarita Day on February 22nd rims a glass with salt and serves up a beverage that tastes like the summer sun.
Known to be the most common tequila-based cocktail served in the United States, the margarita is a cocktail that consists of tequila, triple sec, and lime or lemon juice. A key ingredient is the freshly squeezed lime juice. In the United States, the most common lime is the thick-skinned Persian lime. When margaritas are made with lemons, they have a much softer taste.
When it comes to sorting out the legends associated with the origin of the margarita, there are many. Two things are certain; the cocktail included tequila, and the bartender edged the rim of the glass with salt. In Mexico, when drinking straight tequila (especially if the quality was bad), the best course of action was to down it in one swallow, suck on a wedge of lime and lick a dash of salt off the back of your hand.
It makes sense that the salt followed the lime and the tequila to the margarita glass. Today, lime is not the only flavor of margarita, and the specialists behind the bar have gotten creative mixing dried herbs, infused sugars, and exotic salts to enhance both the presentation of the glass and the flavor of the cocktail.
Margaritas can be served on the rocks (shaken with ice), frozen (blended with ice), or straight up (without ice).
There are many different stories and myths, beginning as early as 1938, as to how and when the margarita was created.
In the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine, the margarita cocktail was the “Drink of the Month.” The recipe as printed was:
- 1 ounce tequila
- Dash of Triple Sec
- Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with a rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt—pour, and sip. (Wikipedia)
The margarita was further popularized with the 1977 release of Jimmy Buffett’s song “Margaritaville.”
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalMargaritaDay
Mix up a margarita at home or as your favorite bartender to make you one. What’s your favorite flavor? Find your Margarita Day deals by visiting our Celebration Deals page.
Let us know using #NationalMargaritaDay to post on social media. Remember, always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.
NATIONAL MARGARITA DAY HISTORY
National Margarita Day is claimed to have been founded by a few dozen bartenders, so it’s hard to trace its exact origin.
In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!
NATIONAL CALIFORNIA DAY
On February 22nd, National California Day recognizes the Golden State.
For more than a century, Spanish missionaries settled in California. Manifest Destiny and the Mexican-American War would play a pivotal role in making California a U.S. Territory. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico sold California along with its territories north of the Rio Grande for 15 million dollars.
Only days before the treaty was signed, gold was found at Sutter’s Mill in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The gold rush of 1849 would set off an era of settlement unlike any a new territory had ever seen. On September 9, 1850, two years after the gold rush began, California became the 31st state.
While many think of sunny beaches and orange groves, California has a diverse climate. Each region boasts an opportunity for seasonal outdoor adventures. Whether surfing or downhill skiing is on the agenda, it’s sure to be found. If hiking among giant redwoods or touring historic missions is more to your liking, you’ll discover it here.
Of course, we can’t overlook Northern California’s wine country. Beautiful road trips and wine tastings along the magnificent Napa Valley or Sonoma County are a must for wine lovers.
Swimmin’ pools and movie stars, Califonia has those in large numbers. While moving pictures weren’t born in California, Hollywood sure made them flourish. By the turn of the 20th century, Hollywood built a foundation of movie studios that continued to grow and many of which still exist today.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalCaliforniaDay
Take a tour of California and find something new to discover! Join National Day Calendar as we explore the 31st state’s history, people, and culture. Uncover hide-a-ways, mysteries and incredible landscapes. Use #NationalCaliforniaDay to share on social media.
February 22nd Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Just like inventors, businesses are trial and error. Frank Woolworth learned that soon after he opened his first 5 Cent Store in Utica, New York on this day in 1879. The budding entrepreneur with a vision of customers flocking to his store for the 5 cent items they could afford didn’t give up. He had that Get Up spirit and opened another store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but added 10 cent items as well. Soon, he expanded, and in 1912 after merging with other retailers, Woolworth & Co stores were in 37 states.
The first Daytona 500 NASCAR race finished in a thrilling dead heat, requiring judges to review video footage to decide the winner. Lee Petty in a’59 Oldsmobile and Johnny Beauchamp in a ’59 Ford Thunderbird crossed the finish line in a photo finish, but there was no technology at the finish line. Three days after the 47,000 spectators went home, judges declared Petty the winner over Beauchamp. in his 1959 Ford Thunderbird.
Known as the Miracle on Ice, the US Men’s Olympic hockey team upset the Soviet Union in a 4-3 win to advance to the final round. Lake Placid, New York, hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, and in the midst of the Cold War, and a dominant Soviet hockey team, the game was a match the whole world was watching.
The Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance goes to…DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for “Parents Just Don’t Understand’!! DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith won the first Grammy Award ever presented at the Grammy’s for Rap music.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep four…zzzzz. Counting sheep earned a whole new meaning when scientists in Scotland at the Roslin Institute announced the first successful birth of a cloned sheep named Dolly.
Recipe of the Day
Prep: 15 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Cook: 4 to 6 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6 servings
1 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined salt
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup strong-brewed orange spice tea, cooled
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make a marinade by combining the tea, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a plastic bag. Remove 1/2 cup of the marinade and set aside. Add the shrimp to the plastic bag, coating each piece. Seal the bag and chill for 30 minutes or up to a maximum of 12 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove shrimp from the bag and discard the marinade. Divide the shrimp between 8 skewers. Grill over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and are just firm to the touch. Turn once during grilling.
Season the shrimp with salt to taste.
Prepare reserve marinade to use as a dipping sauce. Place in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 3-5 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly. Add green onions.
February 22nd Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
George Washington – 1732
We know him as the first President of the United States. He was a farmer, a revolutionary, a statesman, and a general. In colonial America, Washington was a common man with a grade school education. He had strengths and weaknesses – some apparent and some revealed much later. Washington was born owning slaves and made his conscience known about the practice as he aged.
William Joseph Klem – 1874
“For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game!” Someone had to call the balls and strikes and one of those people was William Joseph Klem. As a professional umpire in Major League Baseball, Klem pioneered the way the world looked at and treated umpires. He brought a dignity to a profession that was often looked upon as lesser than politicians, and their pay was a pittance, too! The fans in the cheap seats can thank him for the hand signals that let you know the call, whether you like it or not. After 37 years as an umpire, Klem left a lasting impression on the sport that is still felt today.
Zitkala-Sa – 1876
She was not only a woman of many names but also one of many cultures and it was her mission to preserve the one most at risk – her Sioux culture. Born Gertrude Simmons, she achieved her mission through many different methods. Zitkala-sa wrote articles, essays, short stories, and books; she was an educator and collaborated with William F. Hanson on the first opera by a Native American – The Sun Dance. In 1926, Zitkala-sa founded the National Council of American Indians.
Robert Wadlow – 1918
He was larger than life but only lived to the age of 22. In those short years, Wadlow grew to 8-feet 11 inches tall, and at the age of 19, he became the world’s tallest man at 8-feet, 4 inches tall. Wadlow died in 1940, but he’s still the tallest man who ever lived.
Michael Chang – 1950
Wins are important celebrations. For Michael Chang, winning the 1989 French Open was significant. Defeating Stefan Edberg was the pinnacle of the day and the major celebration. However, the cherry on top was the fact that Chang was the youngest player to ever win the title.
Edward Gorey – 1925
If Edward Gorey’s surname evokes surreal images and dark tales, then his name is fitting. The German illustrator and author was known for his macabre work in the mid-20th century. Some of his works include The Beastly Baby, The Gashleycumb Tinies, and The Doubtful Guest.
Horace Pippin – 1888
Edna St. Vincent Millay – 1892
Julie Walters – 1950
Julius Erving – 1950
Steve Irwin – 1962
Drew Barrymore – 1975
About National Day Calendar
National Day Calendar® is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days! Since our humble beginnings on National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks and National Months. In addition, our research team continues to uncover the origins of existing National Days as well as discover new, exciting days for everyone to celebrate.
There’s a celebration for everyone. While National Road Trip Day satisfies the itch to wander, many pet days let us share our love of animals. National 3-D Day and National Astronaut Day honor the advancement of technology, too. Every food day you can imagine (National Avocado Day, for example), will keep you celebrating, also!
Our Ambassador Program is another way #CelebrateEveryDay®! Whether you become an ambassador or follow one of the savvy ambassadors, their fun videos and posts will keep you prepared for every holiday.