It’s the month when, in many places, the end of summer and the start of school collide. Stores display backpacks and jackets while farm stands are heaped up with sweet corn and ripe tomatoes. Take heart—there are still plenty of days for wearing flip-flops and toasting marshmallows over campfires. You’ll notice the food holidays this month cleave mostly to the “summer” side, not the “end of summer” one (that’s the enemy!) Plenty of days dedicated to the consumption of frozen desserts and cold beverages are here to allay your seasonal melancholy.
Sara Bir is Paste’s contributing food editor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Sausagetarian.
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August is National Peach Month. The best peaches come from the tree closest to your house, but let's say you don't have such a hookup. Find a good market and spring for the best peaches (I'm fond of ones from Georgia or South Carolina) rather than the rock-hard truck farm ones from California that never ripen up right. Peaches freeze well, which is great, because there's no point in buying fresh ones once the season's over. Try pickling them, or pair them with herbs.
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August 1: National Mustard Day. Life is miserable without mustard. Sandwiches lack zip, burgers yearn for bite. Our National Mustard Day gallery brings together all of our favorite mustard things, from fashion to artwork.
jules CC BY
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August 2: Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Those cheap frozen novelties from the grocery store with the kinda slimy ice cream and sticky chocolate wafers hit the spot in their own way, but since we're all grownups now, there's no reason not to up your ice cream sandwich game with premium ice cream and sophisticated yet playful flavor combinations. Here's our list of upgraded ice cream sandwiches worth seeking out.
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August 3: National Watermelon Day. Ahh, the pleasure of sitting outside, biting into a slab of cold watermelon, and spitting the seeds all over the place without a care. Watermelons used to have seeds, you know. If you look hard enough, you can still find older varieties that are bred for flavor, not for manageable size and seedless flesh, but those smaller melons are indeed a lot easier to fit in the fridge. If you prefer to drink your watermelon, consider trying one of these de rigeur watermelon beers.
Rameez Sadikot CC BY-SA
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August 5: National Oyster Day. Wait, aren't you only supposed to eat oysters in months ending in "r"? Paste's own Amy Glynn, who is mad about oysters, says no: "Perhaps the most logical way to think of it is not when it's best to avoid oysters, but when it's best to eat them." What's she getting at? Read her tips for buying and handling oysters to find out.
Erin Kohlenberg CC BY
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August 6: National Root Beer Float Day. How many people will make their root beer float with one of those so-so popular hard root beers? Man, those things are dangerous.
Stacy CC BY
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August 7: National IPA Day and International Beer Day. Since 2007, International Beer Day has been on the first Friday of August. According to its website (since yes, this is another pseudo-holiday started probably as a way to drive traffic to said site's webstore), the celebration's goal is "to unite the world in celebration of beer." Well, we could surely do with some more unity. IPAs, on the other hand, tend to divide beer drinkers, but you can handily observe both holidays concurrently anywhere it's legal to enjoy beer in the first place.
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August is National Catfish Month. U.S. farm-raised catfish is a sustainable seafood that accounts for nearly two-thirds of all American aquaculture. It also gets a great rating from the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector. And catfish farming brings jobs to rural areas, mostly in Southern states. Here's a recipe for onion-crusted catfish (pictured) from the U.S. Catfish Board, who you can probably guess is behind National Catfish Month.
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August 8: National Zucchini Day. Do you grow zucchini, or know someone who does? Then you probably have zucchini coming out your ears by now. Food writer Deena Prichep showed zucchini who's boss by throwing an all-zucchini dinner party. Do try it at home, particularly the zucchini pickles.
Ken Hawkins CC BY
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August 9: National S'Mores Day. You know you love them. To shake up the marshmallow/graham cracker/milk chocolate routine, look here for eight different spins you can take on this classic combo.
Andrew Butitta CC BY-SA