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The origins of National Something On a Stick Day, celebrated every March 28, remain unclear despite our research and digging. There seems to be no specific historical event attached to the beginning of the day’s observance nationally; it is more likely a case of a fun-loving individual or group of people manipulating internet search results via the wizardry of SEO to boost the holiday’s legitimacy, and we don’t mind! There’s no getting around it, food on a stick is fun. Well, maybe we wouldn’t try to eat Jeff Dunham’s ‘Jalapeno on a Stick,’ but as far as candy apples, creamsicles, shish kabobs, and teriyaki chicken on a stick are concerned, today is the day to chow down!
History of National Something On a Stick Day
The use of sticks — skewers of wood — in the preparation and consumption of food items goes back a long way. A very long way. An archeological site in Germany contained a stick with a burnt tip, indicating its use in the cooking of meat over a fire, from 300,000 years ago, the Lower Paleolithic era.
From ancient Greece, Homer’s “Iliad” makes mention of cooking meat on skewers. In the absence of a metal grill to set over a wood fire, piercing your meat with a sharpened stick and holding it over the flames to cook while you turn it and adjust its height above the flames for ideal doneness is a no-brainer. Perhaps this is the sole reason that this method has been around for millennia.
There’s even a story, popular among medieval scholars, of Turkish soldiers in the crusades using their swords as spits to cook meat with. Make that thing a multitasker!
So the next time you are out camping and you cook your hot dog at the end of a sapling branch you’ve found, know that you’re in good company — humans have cooked meat that way for almost as long as there have been humans. And National Something On a Stick Day is the perfect time to reflect on that.
National Something On a Stick Day timeline
In the streets of the cities of Japan, food vendors begin to sell yakitori — teriyaki chicken on a skewer stick — from their charcoal fire pits.
A San Francisco-area youth accidentally leaves a sugary soda mix outdoors overnight, only to discover the next morning after the liquid had frozen that he could lick the treat off the wooden stirrer, thereby inadvertently inventing the Popsicle.
The Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois, is the first restaurant to serve corn dogs on a stick — or so it is claimed.
Turkish chefs introduce the shish kabob to the Greeks, who add chunks of tomato and vegetables to the skewered meat, then leak the recipe to the Americans who in turn increase the size of the meat cubes.
National Something On a Stick Day Activities
Get that backyard firepit blazing
March 28 isn’t the height of summer, but even in temperate climates, it shouldn’t be too chilly to gather the kids around the campfire to cook hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks or skewers over the flames. No flicking your stick, though, because molten marshmallow on your cheek is never fun!
Host a shish kabob grill out
Have a dinner party centered around your grill, and use official bamboo skewers to make kabobs of lamb, beef, chicken, tofu, and/or veggies, in this more sophisticated open-flame celebration of taste.
Make your own popsicles
If you don’t want to invest in specialized popsicle makers for your freezer, with the prefabricated drip-proof handles, there’s a simpler alternative — fill your regular ice-cube trays with Kool-Aid or other sweet liquid, cover the trays with plastic wrap, and insert a toothpick through the plastic into each cube, to serve as a handle after freezing takes place. Mini-pops!
FIVE AMAZING FACTS ABOUT HOT DOGS
An unusual brainchild
Officials in the German cities of Frankfurt and Coburg will dispute the claim, but it’s generally accepted that the hot dog as we know it was invented by Viennese citizens Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany, who introduced the food item to American diners at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
“That doesn’t belong in a tube.”
Apollo 7 astronauts had the freeze-dried ice cream removed as part of their space-bound menu, but one meal that survived on through Apollo 11 was the great American hot dog.
The numbers don’t lie
In 2015, Americans spent more than 2.5 billion dollars on hot dogs, and it’s estimated that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, U.S. citizens will consume 7 billion hot dogs.
Too much of a good thing?
In the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, a contestant named Matt Stonie, a.k.a. ‘Megatoad,’ ate 62 hot dogs in just 10 minutes.
“It’s mine, all mine!”
In 1927, Stanley S. Jenkins applied for a U.S. Patent — granted in 1929 — for a machine that combined a regular hot dog with cornmeal batter and fried it into — you guessed it — a corn dog.
Why We Love National Something On a Stick Day
It cuts down on cleanup time
What do you do with a popsicle stick, or a corn dog stick, or a shish kabob skewer, when you’re done eating? Toss it. We can’t say for a fact that food tastes better when you know you don’t have to do the dishes after you eat, but it sure seems that way!
It leaves one hand free
Whether being on your smartphone or tablet at the dinner table is accepted depends on your family’s preferences, but if you’re alone and busy, it sure helps to be able to eat with one hand — your food on a stick — and send out that PDF with the other.
It reminds you that summer is on the way
When you celebrate National Something On a Stick Day on March 28, warmer days are right around the corner, so it’s especially good to practice your ice-cream-bar eating skills and perfect the ‘dripless finish.’ Sweet, cold, and mess-free. What could be better?
National Something On a Stick Day dates