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March 17: St. Patrick's Day. Cynics might think of St. Patrick's Day as America's Irish answer to Cinco de Mayo: an excuse to embrace cartoonish emblems of an entire culture and also get sloppy drunk. Mrs. Grumpypants here wants you to know that Guinness is not the only Irish beer, that corned beef in indeed wonderful but not a true cornerstone of traditional Irish cuisine, and that raisins have no rightful place in authentic soda bread. Here to rain on my grouchy parade is National Green Beer Day and National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day, which also fall on March 17. Purists, you can get your Irish on by enjoying this ode to contemporary Irish cuisine, or this appreciation of two of Ireland's most revered cookbook authors.
VasenkaPhotography CC BY
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March 20: The Great American Meat-Out. Thinking about going vegan, but just can't get around to committing? The Great American Meat-Out can be your nudge. This annual day invites participants to avoid animal products for 24 hours. Simple! That way veganish bastards who frequently dabble in plant-based foods can enjoy the fun, too.
Jennifer CC BY
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March 22: World Water Day. Sounds boring, but in light of the American West's massive drought issues of recent years (and the chemical contamination of West Virginia's Elk River, which destroyed the water supply for thousands of residents for months), we're all learning the hard way that safe and plentiful water isn't just about flushing toilets and watering lawns. Every single thing we eat—grain, meat, water, produce—all starts with water, something we take for granted in developed countries. The United Nations's inter-agency mechanism UN Water calls attention to global water issues with this annual international observance and learning opportunity. The theme for 2016 is "water and jobs."
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March 23: National Melba Toast Day. And you thought National Celery Day was a big deal! Named after Australian-born opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, melba toast daintily provides a vehicle for dips, spreads, and canapes of all types. Melba was an epicurean (the fruity dessert Peach Melba was also created in her honor), and supposedly while staying at London's Savoy hotel, she ordered dry toast from room service (maybe she was on the Victorian version of Weight Watchers). The toast she got was shingle-thin and bone-dry, but the story goes that she loved it. Sure, you can buy melba toast, but if you're Type A, you can make your own using Julia Child's recipe.
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March 25: National Hot Cross Bun Day (Good Friday). Hot cross buns (symbolism alert—the cross is an Easter tie-in for the crucifixion of Jesus) range from divine to disgusting. Why not make your own? This recipe (I'd call it ingenious, but it's mine and I'm trying to be humble) uses sweet potato puree for a buttery crumb, yet it's entirely vegan. So you can save the eggs for dying!
Jan Smith CC BY
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March 27: Easter Sunday. Easter is a heavy-duty food holiday. Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, ham, hard-boiled eggs … rise early and go on a big springtime run to get your belly ready.
Getty/ Topical Press Agency
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March 28-April 3: National Egg Salad Week. Timing is everything. Every year, National Egg Salad Week occurs in the seven days immediately following Easter Sunday. Few things are more satisfying (and messy) than a well-constructed egg salad sandwich with lettuce on toasted bread. Grab some extra napkins and nosh away.
Kurman Communications, Inc. CC BY
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March 31: Oranges and Lemons Day St. Clement's church is name-checked in an old nursery rhyme ("Oranges and lemons/ Say the bells of St. Clement's") that children supposedly made up to go along with the ringing of the bells of London's many churches. The rhyme has its macabre moments, like most any nursery rhyme (it closes with a beheading). The actual citrus connection here is pretty thin, all in all, though we're huge fans of citrus fruits of all kinds, so we're just gonna go with it.
Joan Campderrós-i-Canas CC BY