11 of 20
National Florida Tomato Month: Florida-grown tomatoes start coming into season now. Florida produced a third of the fresh tomatoes in the U.S. If you've read Barry Estabrook's book Tomatoland, you know that those tomatoes are overwhelmingly bred for appearance and shipping, with no consideration for flavor. Florida's sandy soil and humid climate are ill-suited to growing tomatoes on a large scale, but we do it anyway, because dammit, this is America, and we must have fresh tomatoes available year-round, even if they taste like Styrofoam. We suggest you celebrate National Florida Tomato Month by not eating fresh tomatoes unless they are grown locally and in season, because with tomatoes above all other produce, the difference really shows. (Sorry to be such a drag, Florida.)
12 of 20
It's also National BLT Month. How handy! Is the Florida Tomato Committee behind this, too? Maybe it's the bacon people. Anyway, if you want to gorge on sub-par BLTs featuring cardboard tomatoes all month long, knock yourself out. Fortunately, what with Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day and Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, April's already covered on the sandwich front.
Suz CC BY
13 of 20
April 19: Garlic Day. California grows 90 percent of the garlic produced in America. In recent years, imported Chinese garlic had flooded the market. There are various reasons to be concerned about this, but a basic one is quality and flavor: in independent taste tests, California garlic easily trumped Chinese garlic. There's a simple way to identify if a bulb of garlic is imported, says Bill Christopher, president and CEO of Christopher Ranch, California's most prolific garlic grower. "In California we cut the roots off but we leave a little bit of a brush. In Chinese garlic they cut the root plate off flat, with no brush." Why the big fuss over a homely allium? Garlic offers a powerhouse of health benefits. In 1980, filmmaker Les Blank made Garlic Is As Good as Ten Mothers, and Blank's celebration of all things garlic is still fun and informative.
14 of 20
Global Child Nutrition Month: Childhood hunger is not only painful to consider on a level of human suffering, but also as a practical consideration: when bodies do not receive adequate nourishment during their formative years, it impacts mental and physical development and can lead to a lifetime of health issues. In other words, starvation perpetuates violence and conflict. An annual observance by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, this event seeks to raise awareness of the importance of implementing policies that combat hunger.
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April 20: Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day. The Hawaiian Fruit Company began canning pineapple in 1903; before that, pineapple was considered a luxurious and exotic fruit. But canning (and James Dole's savvy marketing) made pineapple an affordable and shelf-stable household staple. It began appearing in all sorts of salad and dessert recipes. Food historian dispute over when the first "true" Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe appeared (the dates 1924, 1930 and 1936 come up), but it remains a classic of the American cake repertoire today. We like Maida Heatter's recipe, which is baked in a skillet.
16 of 20
Passover begins the evening of Friday, April 22 and ends Saturday, April 30. Break out the matzo! Like many religious observances, Passover is defined as much by what you cannot eat as what you do eat. And so, for seven or eight days (it depends if you're Reform Jewish or not), Jews avoid all foods that are chametz, or leavened. We're not about to recap thousands of years of history, but from a culinary standpoint, Passover is a great time to get creative, because interpretations of what's chametz can be pretty hardcore. Here's a handy list of some products that are kosher for Passover. And for even more inspiration, check out Simone Miller and Jennifer Robins' new cookbook The New Yiddish Kitchen, which renders classics of the American Jewish repertoire (including many Passover-friendly recipes) using only Paleo-approved ingredients (white potatoes count, yay!) Don't get too carried away—their bagels are made with almond and cassava flour, yes, but they're still chametz.
Rebecca Siegel CC BY
17 of 20
April is National Garden Month. Growing your own food isn't easy, but it's also not rocket science, and the spiritual rewards eclipse the time investment. Here's an easy DIY raised bed you can put together in half a day. Or just get a few large containers, some potting soil, and a few packets of lettuce seeds (lettuce is insanely easy to grow, even if you have a brown thumb like me). Can't commit to the responsibility of watering those containers of lettuce but crave getting your hands in the dirt? A lot of community gardens have work days when you can volunteer. And then you'll see why gardening is a zillion times better than a gym membership.
18 of 20
April 23: National Picnic Day: A summer month might be better for this holiday, but whatever. If you live in a state with a temperate climate, put on your lightweight jacket and rustle up your picnic hamper. It's true that eating out of doors is an enlivening pleasure. Need some picnic gear? Don't fear – we have you covered. But don't get hung up on being too elaborate. A bottle of wine, a fistful of napkins, and takeout bahn mi makes a fantastic picnic.
Michell Zappa CC BY-SA
19 of 20
April 26: Pretzel Day (April is National Soft Pretzel Month). If you've never made a meal of freshly baked pretzels and beer, you haven't truly lived. Oh, work some good mustard in there, too.
Melinda CC BY
20 of 20
April 30: National Raisin Day. There are the people who pick raisins out of their baked goods, and there are people who eat raisins by the handful. Though high in naturally occurring fructose, raisins are also high in fiber and antioxidants. Golden raisins soaked in gin are a home remedy for joint pain and arthritis. And dark raisins are the sweet and chewy touch that makes the classic broccoli-raisin salad so appealing (who'd imagine a mishmash of bacon, red onion, broccoli, and raisins dressed in mayo could be so good?).