National Macaroon Day
Are you nuts about coconut? You’re in luck - May 31 is National Macaroon Day!
This delightful little confection has a storied past, and where you are could determine what it looks like.
The original macaroon is Italian and resembles the amaretti cookies we know today. The fluffy cookies are traditionally made from an almond paste, sugar and egg whites. Depending on who you ask, they're either named after the Italian word for paste, maccarone, or the word ammaccare, which means "to crush."
Italian Jews started adding coconut to these puffy pastries, and sometimes even dipped them in chocolate. Because there’s no flour or leavening agent in the cookies, these coconut cuties are perfect for Passover as they’re completely kosher.
According to online specialty foods magazine The Nibble, the French-style macaroon, spelled macaron, was invented by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée. He apparently had the brilliant idea of making a meringue cookie sandwich, held together with ganache. Now, macaroons come in all flavor combinations, something baker Dana Loia knows all about.
“My favorite flavor is s’mores. We use brown sugar to make the meringue and add a toasted homemade marshmallow fluff. Our most exotic flavor would have to be Fruity Pebbles - cereal is so underrated!”
After she opens her New York-based shop, Dana’s Bakery, on June 1, customers can order her delightfully colorful confections in-store and online.
As a caution to first time macaron bakers, she adds, “Macarons are very moody which make them difficult to make, but not impossible to master! Humidity is a macaroon's worse enemy, so I would recommend a sunny, dry day for one's first attempt at making them.”
Save Your Hearing Day
Save Your Hearing Day is always observed on May 31st and reminds us that our hearing is vital, and needs to be protected.
Many hearing loss problems are avoidable. Hearing loss can result from a variety of reasons, including: health, genetic and environmental causes. On the environmental side, repeated long term exposure to loud, high decibel noises can overtime cause hearing loss. This cause, in particular, is often avoidable.
Use Save Your Hearing Day as an opportunity to learn what you can do to avoid hearing loss to yourself, and your family. Then, practice it.
Turn Down the volume already – I’m the fella two cars behind you and you’re hurting my ears!
Now for some facts from our friendly folks at Better Hearing (www.betterhearing.org)
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States. A single shot from a shotgun, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud machinery may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to human hearing.
- 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise;
- 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.
- The effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually.
Excessive noise damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. This damage results in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Dangerous levels of noise can come from working in noisy occupations or in engaging in dangerous recreational activities:
- Beware of dangerous recreational activities: video arcades, fire crackers, discos, music concerts, shooting a gun, movie theatres, sporting events, motor boards, motorcycles, snowmobiles, “boom cars”.
- Occupations particularly under risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise are as follows: firefighters, police officers, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, military personnel, heavy industry workers, musicians, entertainment industry professionals.
If you have to raise your voice to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within an arm’s length away, the noise is probably in the dangerous range. Some of the warning signs of the presence of or exposure to hazardous noise are as follows:
- You can’t hear someone three feet away
- You have pain in your ears after leaving a noisy area
- You hear ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears immediately after exposure to noise
- You suddenly have difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise; you can hear people talking but you cannot understand them.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Hearing
- If you work in an at-risk occupation, check with your employer to make sure you have adequately protected your hearing according to OSHA regulations.
- Limit exposure time to noisy activities.
- Wear hearing protection, such as foam or silicone plugs or muffs. Foam plugs are available at your pharmacy while muffs and specialized ear protection can be purchased at sporting good stores or safety equipment stores.
- At home, turn down the volume on the television, radio, stereos and Walkman’s.
- Wear ear plugs or muffs when using loud equipment (i.e. lawn mowers, power saw, leaf blower).
- Buy quieter products (compare dB ratings – the smaller the better).
- Reduce the number of noisy appliances running at the same time in your personal environment.
- Avoid medications that can be dangerous to your hearing. Be sure to ask your physician about possible effects on your hearing.
An Ounce of Prevention
Be alert to hazardous noise. Since prevention is so critical, make sure that your family (especially children), friends, and colleagues are aware of the hazards of noise. Remember: One-third of hearing loss is preventable with proper hearing protection.
Speak in Complete Sentences Day
OMG! If you are a frequent texter, chatter or emailer, chances are good you may not be too thrilled with this particular "holiday." May 31 is Speak in Complete Sentences Day, an annual holiday that reminds us of the importance of proper writing and speaking skills. While the origins of this holiday are unknown, a frustrated language or speech teacher probably came up with the idea!
While modern day slang, text speak and acronyms allow us to communicate with one another more quickly via various technologies, our grammar, writing and speaking skills may be suffering. Today is the perfect day to put all those skills we learned in school to use!
How to Celebrate Speak in Complete Sentences Day
- If you can't remember the last time you wrote a letter using a pen and paper, here's your chance!
- If you happen to have an old typewriter collecting dust, why not give it a go and try your "hand" at honest-to-goodness typing?
- Write, and give, a speech in front of your family or friends - for old time's sake!
- Speak in complete sentences all day long!
What You Think Upon Grows Day
What you think upon grows. This is an Eastern maxim, and it sums up neatly the greatest and most fundamental of all the Laws of Mind. What you think upon grows.
What you think upon grows. Whatever you allow to occupy your mind you magnify in your life. Whether the subject of your thoughts be good or bad, the law works and the condition grows. Any subject that you keep out of your mind tends to diminish in your life, because what you do not use atrophies.
The more you think about your indigestion or your rheumatism, the worse it will become. The more you think of yourself as healthy and well, the better will your body be.
The more you think about lack, bad times, etc., the worse will your business be; and the more you think of prosperity, abundance, and success, the more of these things will you bring into your life.
The more you think about your grievances or the injustices that you have suffered, the more such trials will you continue to receive; and the more you think of the good fortune you have had, the more good fortune will come to you.
This is the basic, fundamental, all-inclusive Law of Mind, and actually all psychological and metaphysical teaching is little more than a commentary upon this.
World No-Tobacco Day
Since 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been shining the spotlight on the harmful consequences of tobacco use and exposure as well as business practices of tobacco companies. In 1988, a resolution was passed declaring each May 31st World No Tobacco Day.
Nations and organizations around the world participate in the observance by participating in a wide variety of activities. While a different theme is adopted each year, every theme highlights the harmful effects of tobacco use and exposure. This year's theme is Tobacco Taxes. The theme for 2013 was "Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship" while the theme for 2012 was “Tobacco Industry Interference.”
Did you know tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death? According to the WHO, more than 6 million people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. 600,000 of those die due to second-hand smoke exposure.
World No Tobacco Day Resources
- Smoking FAQs - Learn about the many health benefits of kicking the habit.
- 10 facts on second-hand smoke.
- NTD Brochure – Spread the word and save lives.
- How much do you know about tobacco? Take the online quiz and find out.
- Support WNTD on Facebook
- Download this year’s free poster.
- Tips and Resources on How to Quit Smoking from the Centers of Disease Control
- Learn why people smoke.
- Help others by participating in a smoking cessation research study.
- Send a Smoke Free Ecard to loved a one who smokes.