Summer is still going on, even after Labor Day, but September and the start of the school year puts the kibosh on the summertime state of being. That’s okay; anyone living in a hot or humid climate is perhaps ready for a respite from balmy weather. Never fear, it’s coming, as are all the delights of the harvest season. And keep the faith: ripe homegrown tomatoes keep going and going, all the way to the end of this month.
Sara Bir is Paste’s contributing food editor. Her favorite thing about September? Foraging for ripe native pawpaws. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Sausagetarian.
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September is National Biscuit Month. One of the gems of American foodways, biscuits are subject to dozens of regional variations, some of which (such as beaten biscuits, which were leavened by whacking the dough repeatedly with a special hammer) have fallen out of favor. And then there are the challenges of reproducing one style of biscuit in a totally different location. Factors such as the protein content of the flour commonly used, or the adaptations necessary to bake southern-style biscuits at Denver's high altitude, make accessing the ideal biscuit more a matter of taste than absolutes. One thing is indisputable: it's hard to say no to a light and fluffy biscuit.
Denver Biscuit Company
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September 2: National Grits for Breakfast Day. Great grits starts with…well, great grits. There's the pathetic instant stuff you can get at most any grocery store, but if you're lucky, you have access to stone-milled grits … as well as the time to make them. Sure, they cook longer, but if you plan ahead a little, a slow cooker is grits' best friend. Didn't plan ahead? Head on over to the drive-thru at Krystal's.
Kate Hopkins CC BY
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September 3: National Tailgating Day. The first Saturday of September is National Tailgating Day, marking the beginning of tailgating season for millions who enjoy cold beverages, lawn chairs, parking lots, portable grills, and stuff in crock pots. Oh, and football.
Jarrett Campbell CC BY
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September 5: Labor Day. The last big cookout of the year, a day off school, a day when banks are closed, a last hurrah of summer. Labor Day is also a celebration of the American worker, so consider the workers who spend their days (or nights) producing, harvesting, and serving the food we eat.
ilovebutter CC BY
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September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day. Who eats pizza on Labor Day? Beause September 5 is, as previously discussed, Labor Day. Geez. Nevertheless, spare some love for the oft-overlooked glories of cheese pizza, where the holy trinity of crust, sauce, and cheese can fully demonstrate their proper harmony. A cheese pizza is a make-or-break example of a pizza parlor's prowess. Enough pepperoni can mask the flaws of a substandard pie, but cheese pizza has nothing to hide behind. So when they're good, they're really good.
John Ong CC BY
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September 10: National TV Dinner Day. Swanson's frozen dinners were the first frozen individual meals to hit the big time. In the 1950s, the company handled a surplus of turkey by creative packaging, portioning it in those appealing sectioned foil trays. It struck a chord, so much so that these dinners, while now overwhelmingly packaged in microwave-friendly plastic trays, still conjure up images of housewives in aprons and tin TV trays lined up in front of the couch.
Joe Wolf CC BY-ND
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September 13: National Peanut Day. Two American presidents have been peanut farmers: Thomas Jefferson (what didn't that guy farm?) and Jimmy Carter, pictured here. Consider trying peanuts a new way: boiled. Actually, it's a very old way to eat peanuts, but a great one.
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September 15: Mid-Autumn Festival. Sometimes known as the Harvest Moon Festival, this holiday occurs between September and October, always on a night with a full moon. Celebrated in China and Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival would not be complete without moon cakes, dense pastries filled with sweet bean pastes, lotus paste, or nut paste. Sometimes there's an egg yolk in there, too. Moon cakes are quite sweet and rich, and they are excellent with hot tea.
Karen CC BY
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September 17: National Monte Cristo Day. This sandwich, a classic of finer diners and lesser bistros, is excellent for brunch, or anytime. Essentially it's griddled ham and Swiss, often first dipped in French toast batter. Jam on the side is non-negotiable, as is a powdered sugar garnish.
Michael SaechangCC BY-SA
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September is National Whole Grains Month. One of the easiest ways to eat whole grains is in the morning. With cooler weather slowly coming on, try these 7 exciting whole grains instead of oatmeal.