January – one of my favourite months of the year. Why? Because I get to start the new year afresh, make some new year resolutions (which I will try my hardest to keep) and get excited about all the new opportunities to come.
Plus, January is full of some pretty awesome national food holidays’ worth celebrating, starting with National Bloody Mary Day on 1st January (a great drink for anyone who had a little too much to drink on New Year’s Eve, especially as 1st January is also National Hangover Day!).
Other national drink days in January include National Milk Day and Hot Toddy Day on 11th January, National Irish Coffee Day on 25th January and National Green Juice Day on 26th January.
However, when it comes to celebrating the joy of food here are some of my January national food day favourites to get excited about.
Shortbread Day (6th January)
Who can resist the tempting buttery melt-in-your-mouth golden-brown crumbly biscuit? Originating in Scotland, it is believed that shortbread traces back to medieval times, whilst Mary, Queen of Scotland is said to have invented the modern-day shortbread during the 16th century by adding sugar to the original recipe. However, the first printed recipe for shortbread was published by Mrs McLintock back in 1736 and has been regarded as a national Scottish food ever since. Careful though – shortbread is extremely easy to eat and with plenty of calories, it’s wise to do some pre-or post-exercise to avoid weight gain!
National Bagel Day (15th January)
Originating in the Jewish population of Europe during the 1600s, possibly from Krakow, Poland where it is believed to be given to women who were going through childbirth, bagels today are a popular breakfast, brunch and lunchtime treat. Smother your bagel with dollops of cream cheese and add your favourite toppings. For me, I love to add spinach, smoked salmon, sliced Truss tomatoes and a crack of black pepper. Other popular bagel topping ideas include ham and cheese, avocado and poached egg, fresh fruit (blueberries, bananas, strawberries), Nutella, scrambled egg with ham or bacon.
National Cheese Lover’s Day (20th January)
Cheese – one of my absolute weaknesses in life. In fact, if you give me cheese, I can almost guarantee you will become my best friend! When it comes to cheese though, there are so many varieties from right across the world to enjoy from your creamy brie to your strong English Stilton and extra mature cheddars. Celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day by sampling a variety of cheeses with friends and family as part of a cheeseboard, along with your favourite deli meats, smoked salmon, olives, dried fruits, nuts and crackers. Or why not enjoy it melted as cheese fondue, macaroni cheese or ham and cheese toasties. You could even try making your own cheese with a cheese-making kit.
National Pie Day (23rd January)
Who loves pie? Whether it’s a sweet or savoury pie, I’m pretty much a sucker for all types of pies. Why not indulge in a Pork Pie, chicken and mushroom pie, steak and onion pie, curried chicken pie or even Shepherd’s pie and Beef & Guinness Pie. For dessert, who can resist an apple pie with vanilla ice cream, cherry pie, pumpkin pie or even a custard pie, banoffee pie or key lime pie. Of course, at Christmas, it’s all about the mince pie!
National Corn Chip Day (29th January)
Another weakness of mine – corn chips. Best served with salsa or roasted capsicum or spicy tomato dip, corn chips are extremely moreish and a great Friday night snack. Of course, you can also enjoy corn chips as part of a Mexican dish and use them for nachos and chilli.
National Croissant Day (30th January)
Wake up to this crescent-shaped, flakey, buttery pastry, that is golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The best croissants have multiple thin layers of flakey pastry heaven, best served warm straight out of the oven. I love mine plain with butter, but popular croissant fillings include almonds, pistachios, chocolate and pastry cream.