As of 9:00 last night we had celebrated absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkis. Whoops! A bit of National Thesaurus Day bleeding over past the weekend. No, we had only one National Day today, and it didn’t show up until bedtime.
National Popcorn Day
So many options with popcorn – a veritable buffet of bountiful bizarrities can be splattered upon the stuff. Caramel? Sure! Cheese powder? Why not? Actual cheese? No ref will intervene on that one. Soy sauce? I mean… you could. I’ve tried it, and found it somewhat foot-like, but why let that stop you? Popcorn, like pizza, is a palette. It waits for nothing but the creativity of the person preparing it.
We are tragically old-fashioned with popcorn, and prefer to let it soak in its familiar jacuzzi of generous butter and salt. On its own, popcorn is a passable snack; with some seasoning it gets elevated to the divine, apart from the inevitably obnoxious tooth-snagged husks. Popcorn is perfection, and thanks to psychological conditioning for all our years, it accompanies a film unlike any other noshable treat.
As for its origin, we have to look at the ancient peoples who used to inhabit the land we now call Mexico. They figured out the crop of corn about 10,000 years ago, but it couldn’t have taken long for a kernel or two to drop onto a hot surface and explode into something yummy. Remnants of popcorn have been found there dating back to about 3600 BC. Charles Cretors from Lebanon, Ohio was the first to patent a machine to pop corn in oil, back in 1885. Thanks, Charlie.
To quote the late great James Brown, in his loving tribute, “Mother Popcorn”:
“Look-a-here! Ha! Good lord!
Do the popcorn and do the horse
Show everybody where you at!
You gotta be boss
The way you do your little thing
Step in a small ring
And jump back, baby!
James Brown gonna do his thing!
Popcorn! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”
Truer words were never sung. Thanks for that one, James.
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
It’s not so much a celebration, but a commemoration. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, and unless you know someone who has suffered from this condition you probably have no idea what it is. Maybe you’re aware that it has to do with the eyes. Maybe I’m wrong – maybe you have done your research so you could fake the condition to get a medicinal marijuana prescription. I’m not judging.
Good news! Glaucoma does not cause you eye pain. The bad news: you’ll lose your peripheral vision, then your central vision, then you’ll be totally blind unless you seek treatment. You know that little blast of air you get at the eye doctor? If the doctor spots an abnormal amount of cupping in your optic nerve, he or she may want to dig a little deeper. Treatment can include medication, lasers or surgery – you can slow this disease or even stop it entirely, so if you suspect it might be affecting you, get off your ass and get it looked at.
The early symptoms are just that: a bit of vision loss. It’s gradual, so you may not even notice its beginnings, which is why popping into the eye doctor on a regular basis is crucial. This one does tend to run in the family, so call up your older relatives and ask them if it might come up. You may get treated to an extensive chat about whatever actually is ailing them at the moment, so that might be fun.
Sugar Awareness Week (UK)
Are you aware of sugar? I am as well. Great, can we call this thing celebrated and move on?
No, we have to do right by this week, and maybe try to learn something. According to the American Heart Association (sorry Canadians, this statistic popped up first, and sometimes we have to go for expediency), men should be eating 37.5 grams, or 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. Women should keep it to 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons. Now, unless you’re the type to plop a bag of sugar in your lap and mindlessly scoop it into your mouth with a teaspoon, this won’t mean anything to you. So let’s look a little deeper at what this means.
- A 3 Musketeers candy bar contains 8.14 teaspoons of sugar.
- A can of Coke contains 7.25 teaspoons.
- A single bowl of Honey Smacks cereal? 11.4 teaspoons.
- A serving of grapes (FRUIT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUR FRIEND!): 3.14 teaspoons.
- A single cup of low-fat yogurt can contain 12 teaspoons.
- A bottle of any “ade”-type sports drink may contain 8 teaspoons.
- Vitamin Water – which sounds like a health food – contains about 8 teaspoons.
- A caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks contains over 18 grams.
So the lesson here is just… don’t eat anything. Everything good contains sugar, and if you eat more than one serving you’ll be over your recommended limit for the day. Maybe that’s not the lesson, but that’s what I’m digging from this mess. It also makes me think that the hot buttered rum I drank on Friday night probably contained 30 or 35 grams of sugar. Yikes.
Happy Monday! We’ve got some fun ones to get to today.
- National Penguin Day. Unfortunately, work must intervene in this life of utter revelry. So we may not have time to meet any penguins in person. But we will pay tribute to their majesty, because how could you not?
- National Disc Jockey Day. A good day to stick to the radio. We will be sampling some of our favorite jockeys throughout the day.
- National Buttercrunch Day. A Skor bar is made of buttercrunch. A Skor bar is a wonderful bit of candy.
- National Cheese Lovers Day. We are. We shall behave as such. A sampling of fine cheeses with dinner.
Also, for the sake of completeness I should add that we sampled the Trader Vic’s version of the Hot Buttered Rum last night, which involved scooping some of the premade “batter” from the freezer into a mug, then adding rum and hot water. It was much less sweet than the Rachel Ray version, and would serve as an adequate alternative to a hot rum toddy. If you’re interested in the recipe, check out the link in Saturday’s article.