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Photo from Chuy's / For the restaurant chain's annual Elvis Birthday Bash, Chuy's will offer $1 off their signature Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken, a chicken breast breaded with Lay's potato chips and fried golden brown, then served with green chile sauce and cheese.

It's doubtful anybody will roll out of bed Wednesday morning giddy that Jan. 8 is National English Toffee Day. It's a fair bet, actually, that few of you even knew that, but it is, at least according to foodimentary.com, a website that lists such things.

According to its site, which was founded in 2006 as a blog by John-Bryan Hopkins, every day is national food day for something. Thursday is National Apricot Day and Friday is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, for example.

Some days are so special, in fact, they feature multiple foods. Sunday is National Marzipan, National Curried Chicken and National Glazed Doughnut Day. And it's not just the days of the month that are highlighted. January is also the national month for hot tea, oatmeal, slow cooking, soup, baking and fat-free living.

While such days sound like they are given actual "national" status by some governing body, often they are not. They are sometimes given an official blessing by a city council, a mayor, or even the president of the United States, as was the case on July 9, 1984, when Ronald Reagan declared it National Ice Cream Day.

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Staff file photo by Erin O. Smith / National Blueberry Day will be celebrated on July 11 during National Blueberry Month.

But mostly it's guys like Hopkins who make such declarations. He gathers his list using existing lists or days created by almond growers, for example, or he decides on his own which foods should be attached to which days. He created his list to be just that, a reference list for people who like food.

"When I started this, there was not a place to go to find this stuff," he says. "In fact, there was a point in time where no one cared about them, but I like to celebrate food."

He says when he started, most food-related blogs featured recipes or cooking tips.

"Food holidays seemed to work for me," he says, "and when I expressed it on Twitter, it became a nationally trending thing by pure accident."

At one time, foodimentary.com was a Top 50 trending site on Twitter around the world, "which is pure craziness," he says.

Over the years, he has been quoted and referenced on so many cooking shows, websites and media outlets that he has quit counting. Restaurants sometimes use his list to create marketing campaigns — or excuses to feature a food item.

Firebellymarketing.com is another site that lists national food days, with an eye toward restaurants using the lists in their marketing campaigns.

"It could be used to sell food, but it is most effective as a conversation starter," Hopkins says.

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Photo from Chuy's / For the restaurant chain's annual Elvis Birthday Bash, Chuy's will offer $1 off their signature Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken, a chicken breast breaded with Lay's potato chips and fried golden brown, then served with green chile sauce and cheese.

Plenty of restaurants take part in the observances as a way to push a particular item on the menu, like National Doughnut Day or National Lemonade Day. Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day has become a pop-culture phenomenon, with the company reporting that as many as 1.8 million customers in a day have dressed like a cow to receive free food.

Chuy's, a Tex-Mex restaurant chain with a location on Gunbarrel Road, observes several food-related holidays during the year, including National Margarita Day on Feb. 22 and National Taco Day on Oct. 4. Wednesday, the chain is having its annual Elvis Birthday Bash with several food and drink specials. Customers who come dressed as Elvis Presley, or his former wife, Priscilla, will receive a free entree of their choice.

"Elvis is our patron saint at Chuy's, and we love to celebrate his life with a birthday party every year," says Ashley Ingle, Chuy's vice president of marketing. "It's amazing to see Chuy's fans who love Elvis as much as we do."

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Photo from Chuy's / Customers who arrive dressed as Elvis Presley, or his former wife, Priscilla, during Chuy's Elvis Birthday Bash on Wednesday, Jan. 8, will get a free entree of their choice. Presley is the patron saint of Chuy's, and the restaurants construct shrines in his honor and celebrate his birthday every year. The Chattanooga Chuy's is at 2271 Gunbarrel Road.

Hopkins says the whole national food day campaigns started in the '50s and '60s by retailers looking to sell certain foods to housewives when the foods were out of season. Things like frozen strawberries.

"I thought I should change that, so I try to put things on my list at a time when it makes sense. I try to make sure it is the right time of year when people want to celebrate them," he says.

That includes National Frog Legs Day on Leap Day, Feb. 29.

Hopkins says he daily gets requests from people asking him to add a new day, "but my big stance is that I think we have enough days. Unless we have some new food come along."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

National Food Days in January

Jan. 1

National Bloody Mary Day

National Black Eyed Pea Day

Jan. 2

National Buffet Day

National Cream Puff Day

Jan. 3

National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

Jan. 4

National Spaghetti Day

Jan. 5

National Whipped Cream Day

Jan. 6

National Shortbread Day

National Bean Day

Jan. 7

National Tempura Day

Jan. 8

National English Toffee Day

Jan. 9

National Apricot Day

Jan. 10

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

Jan. 11

National Hot Toddy Day

National Milk Day

Jan. 12

National Marzipan Day

National Curried Chicken Day

National Glazed Doughnut Day

Jan. 13

National Gluten-Free Day

National Peach Melba Day

Jan. 14

National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

Jan. 15

National Bagel Day

National Fresh Squeezed Juice Day

National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

Jan. 16

National Fig Newton Day

International Hot and Spicy Food Day

Jan. 17

National Hot Buttered Rum Day

Jan. 18

National Gourmet Coffee Day

Peking Duck Day

Jan. 19

National Popcorn Day

Jan. 20

National Buttercrunch Day

National Cheese Lover’s Day

Jan. 21

National Granola Bar Day

National New England Clam Chowder Day

Jan. 22

National Blonde Brownie Day

National Southern Food Day

Jan. 23

National Pie Day

National Rhubarb Pie Day

Jan. 24

National Peanut Butter Day

Lobster Thermidor Day

Jan. 25

National Irish Coffee Day

Jan. 26

National Peanut Brittle Day

Jan. 27

National Chocolate Cake Day

Jan. 28

National Blueberry Pancake Day

Jan. 29

National Corn Chip Day

Jan. 30

National Croissant Day

Jan. 31

National Hot Chocolate Day

 

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