It all starts out with a big joke (be careful what you eat on April 1, meaning if a jokester offers you free food, examine it carefully). And it ends with a day celebrating raisins. If you don’t like raisins, you might think that’s a big joke, too, but don’t fret. I’ll eat your raisins. No joke.
Click through the gallery to learn about the food holidays worth celebrating in April.
Sara Bir is Paste’s contributing food editor and the author of The Pocket Pawpaw Cookbook. Follow her on Instagram @sausagetarian.
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April 1: April Fool's Day. These trompe l'oiel cupcakes are a good-natured goof, but if you are a prankster type, there are much more sinister food tricks you can pull on friends and foes. Paste's Keri Lumm rounds up a few in this video (I really like the "mayo-in-the-custard-donut" one).
Kimberly Vardeman CC BY
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April 1: National Sourdough Bread Day. The art of baking with sourdough cultures at home has enjoyed a resurgence in the past few years, fueled in part by enthusiasts sharing photos and tips on social media. BK17 Bakery baker Sarah Owens' 2015 book Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More was recently nominated for a James Beard award. If maintaining a living starter is not for you (it ranks between a beta and a hermit crab, as far as hands-on care required), then become friendly with an avid home baker. I promise they always have more bread than they can consume.
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April 2: Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. According to food historian Andrew W. Smith, the first published reference to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was in 1901. We Americans love the combo so much we have taken the pairing out of the bread to other preparations, such as smoothies, muffins, cookies, ice cream, and donuts.
Katheirne Hitt CC BY-ND
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April 12: Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Wow, lots of celebrating carbs so far in April. Recent years have seen a rash of classed-up grilled cheese sandwiches hit menus. Or, considering some of these concoctions replace the bun of a hamburger with two grilled cheeses, shall we say classed-down? April 12 is not Tomato Soup Day, alas, but no one said you can't crack open a can of grilled cheese's soul mate.
Maggie CC BY
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April 12: National Licorice Day. It's oftentimes love-or-hate with this stuff, especially if it's the authentic black licorice and not a flaccid fruity Twizzlers-esque knockoff. Paste Food columnist Anna Brones taps into her Swedish roots (those Scandinavian folks cannot get enough of the stuff) with a licorice appreciation here. Maybe it's time to reassess licorice! It's black, its flavor is intense, and it's kinda Viking. Pretty goth, eh?
/kallu CC BY-SA
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April 13: Thomas Jefferson's Birthday. Hands-down the third president has had more impact on food trends than any other. Jefferson, a plantation owner and champion of the agrarian idyll, was also a passionate epicurean. He adored olive oil long before it was de rigueur and grew many exotic varieties of fruits and vegetables in his expansive gardens at Monticello (seen above; if you are a plant nerd, Monticello is worth a visit). His favorite was the pea; he had over 30 varieties. A well-traveled man, if Jefferson ate a new dish (whether here or abroad) and enjoyed it, he would badger the chef for the recipe. You could say Jefferson was the original foodie, but that seems merely trivializing the legacy of the man who invented the dumbwaiter.
Josh CC BY-ND
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April is Pecan Month, and April 14 is National Pecan Day. Sweet, mellow, and woody, pecans are a culinary and cultural treasure. Of the tree nuts grown commercially worldwide, the pecan is the only one native to North America. Sure, they're more expensive than walnuts, but pecans add a special depth and richness to all kinds of baked goods and even savory dishes. There's no need to relegate them to just pecan pie.
Corey Leopold CC BY
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April 16: Day of the Mushroom. How this differs from National Mushroom Day (October 15) is anyone's guess. But it is a nice nudge to get you out and about and looking down at the mycological wonders that spring has to offer. Mushroomers tend to be eccentric people, at once secretive with their favorite hot spots yet generous with information. If your interest in foraging is genuine, get your ass in a local mushroom or foraging club.
Eugene Kim CC BY
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Defeat Diabetes Month: Type 2 diabetes is on rise dramatically, in large part because of the prevalence of a diet high in processed, sugary foods (if you didn't know about this, you live under a rock with no access to scary food documentaries). Making many small changes in diet and lifestyle can help. The Defeat Diabetes Foundation provides information to empower families and individuals to make such changes. This year's Defeat Diabetes Month is particularly poignant, coming on the heels of rapper Phife Dawg's untimely death at age 45 after decades of dealing with Type 2 diabetes.
Victor CC BY
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April 18: National Animal Crackers Day. Animal crackers were a fad imported from England in the late 19th century. Stauffer Biscuit Company of York, Pennsylvania began selling animal crackers on a large scale in 1871, and they are still at it today. In 1902, The National Biscuit Company started packaging their animal crackers in boxes resembling circus cages. That company is now Nabisco, and their Barnum's Animals continue to be a beloved treat. Nabisco's animal crackers are sweet, cookie-like, and rendered in great detail; Stauffer's are drier, and puffy enough that it can be challenging to suss out the animal the cracker represents (is that a camel or cat?). Thoughtfully, Stauffer's has provided an animal cracker identifier on their website to eliminate the guesswork.
Steven Depolo CC BY