Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Holidays and Observances for February 25 2014

National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day

It’s National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day! Nuts have been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans were fond of the walnut, Native Americans enjoyed the pecan, and the Chinese believed the hazelnut was one of the five sacred nourishments. People also believed that chocolate had divine properties.

The Aztecs and Mayans prepared drinking chocolate for all their sacred rituals. In the 17th century chocolate became a very fashionable drink throughout Europe and people soon learned that everything tastes better when it’s covered in chocolate. By the middle of the 19th century it was a common practice to dip items like pretzels, nuts, and fruits into melted chocolate.

Celebrate National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day with your favorite chocolate and nut combination!

National Clam Chowder Day

February 25 is National Clam Chowder Day. While New England doesn't have a monopoly on clam chowder, it is probably the most recognized regional style of this soup. However, there are many variations of chowders from region to region that are distinctively sourced and flavored.

So that we’re all on the same page, here’s a crash course in clam chowder:

New England Clam Chowder: This popular, stick-to-your-ribs soup is cream-based and thickened by the starch from potatoes or crushed oyster crackers. Other base ingredients include onions, celery and bacon.

Manhattan Clam Chowder: Tomatoes set this version apart from its New England cousin. They're used in lieu of the cream.

Hatteras Clam Chowder: This favorite from North Carolina's Outer Banks has no cream or tomatoes in it, so the broth is clear.

Minorcan Clam Chowder: Further down the coast in Florida, chowder junkies can’t get enough of this spicy version. It’s tomato-based, like Manhattan-style chowder, and also has corn in it. What sets it apart from other chowders is the addition of a spicy pepper called the datil. They grow readily in northern Florida and give Minorcan chowder a distinctive kick.

As for the clams you’ll see in these different chowders, the most commonly used are littlenecks, longnecks, cherrystones and the quahog varieties. If you’re making chowder at home, use whatever is freshest in your seafood market and you can’t go wrong.

World Spay Day

Spay and neuter: it’s a proven means of saving lives. Tuesday, February 25, 2014 is the 20th annual World Spay Day, a campaign by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI) to raise awareness of spay/neuter as a solution to animal overpopulation.

According to HSUS, an estimated 6-8 million homeless kittens, puppies, cats and dogs enter animal shelters in the United States every year. The majority of homeless animals in the U.S. represent puppies and kittens of pets accidentally or intentionally allowed to breed. About half of homeless animals are adopted, while 2.7 million adoptable pets are euthanized.

Worldwide, street animal overpopulation is often addressed by local authorities through the use of electrocution, poison or other methods that are ineffective as long-term solutions. World Spay Day globally promotes the benefit of spaying and neutering as permanent, effective methods of birth control, ensuring that those animals will not add to the population by continuing to reproduce.

World Spay Day events in the U.S. and around the world include low- and no-cost spay/neuter clinics, veterinary services for low-income families, fundraisers for spay/neuter programs, and educational efforts.
"By informing others of the importance of spay/neuter, you become an important part of the solution." — The Humane Society of the United States
For more information, visit worldspayday.org.