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 ‘National Eat What You Want Day’ Is One Food Holiday We Plan to Celebrate—Today and Every Day

Food writers know we don’t get to really complain about our jobs. Whether we’re critics, recipe developers, food editors or writers, most of us love what we do, realize we’re lucky, and have worked hard to get here.

But there’s one thing that I must admit sticks in our craws: National “food holidays.”

These faux holidays, which are largely marketing concoctions, have been lurking in the blogosphere since the mid-oughts, and they’ve gotten even weirder with age. February 22nd is “National Margarita Day,” which unless it coincides with your Cabo vacation is a mighty chilly date to celebrate the awesome marg. (National Scotch Day, conversely, falls on July 27th. I don’t know about you, but my grandpa was stashing his Scotch back in the liquor cabinet—in favor of margaritas—in the hot summer.)

Bloggers, writers, and content providers grit their collective teeth over the ascension of these food holidays. People tend to google them, which means traffic, so we are told to cover them. Writing about “National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day” (November 7th) can feel like “Funny Hat Day” at Girl Scout camp in 1983. (How did you not get the memo, and can you make a hat out of twigs, origami paper, and graham crackers?)

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The sole bane of food writers’ existence, the websites for these “holidays” have spawned books, which then generate media coverage, and on and on, an ouroboros. (To my knowledge, there is no “Snake Eating Own Tail Day.”) We have one of the best jobs in the world, so we bite our tongues and don’t complain while creating wing slideshows for “National Wing Day” (July 29th), or lauding the arrival of “National Fresh Celery Month,” which apparently consumes the month of March.

But I am relieved for today’s reprieve from the March of Days: May 11th is “National Eat What You Want Day.” So go on and have pancakes for dinner and make steak smoothies, you nutty human, you. Per one website, “Whether you love donuts or fast food, today is your day to indulge without feeling guilty.” Oh, good.

Strong opinions about food, guilt, and “permission” aside, I find that I’m inclined to celebrate NEWYWD every day. “Call a friend and go out for some fun and indulgence,” exhorts this site. I think I shall.

In fact, the writers continue, “There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one.” That’s quite an accomplishment from a 365-day calendar. But I think I’ll go ahead and celebrate “National Eat What You Want Day.” I just might celebrate it for all the days, thank you very much. But I’ll still look for you in the Scotch tent at the festival this summer.

 Alex Van Buren—follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alexvanburen—is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and content strategist who has written for The Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, New York Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Epicurious.

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