Lately, it seems like barely a week goes by without one food group or another claiming it as their own but, in most cases, I’d say the celebration is unwarranted.
Last week, for example, it was National Chip Week. This week, it is National Marmalade Week. National Donut Week is held on 12-19 May and National Bread Week takes place between 16-22 April. In an outrageous and quite uncalled-for date grab, noodles (of all things) have claimed a whole month (March) as their own and, if you can believe it, a National Noodle Day (6 October), which, for what are essentially thin strips of pasta, seems more than a little excessive.
Now, while I can quite understand the point of Marmalade Week, which falls at the end of a short Seville orange season, encourages people to make their own and celebrates something that is a particularly British obsession (despite it being invented in Portugal), and am on friendly terms with British Cheese Week (30 September-6 October) because, well, we don’t want the French taking all the glory, I do question the need to celebrate chips, or, for that matter, raise awareness of donuts. Indeed, I thought the obesity problem in the UK was such that we might try and steer folk away from the deep fat fryer, perhaps even introduce a No Chip Week? Now that would be something.
Or maybe it’s enough that, hot on the heels of Chip Week, comes National Watercress Week (16-23 May) when those bloated and slothful from seven days down their local chippy can mournfully atone for their deep-fried carb-fest with a strict regimen of peppery leafage? I’ll admit, it doesn’t sound like much fun, but then nor does National Salad Week, though this does fall in the midst of bikini season (7 -13 July) when a spot of salad eating doesn’t goes amiss, so maybe we’ll keep that one.
One of the most tenuous weeks I’ve come across is National Mango Week (24-30 May), which, launched by Rubicon Exotic Fruit Juice Drinks in 2008, is one of the most wantonly commercial and self-publicising PR exercises I’ve come across, based upon the fact that “mangoes are thought to be the most popular exotic fruit sold in the UK.” Really, if you’re going to launch an entire week in honour of something, you might at least base it upon a solid fact.
But I don’t want to diss all the food weeks. Chocolate Week (8-14 September), for example, is wonderful – a genuine celebration and well-organised series of events that champion real chocolate and involve some of Britain’s finest chocolate shops, companies, restaurants and organisations – though, it has to be said, when it comes to eating chocolate, I really don’t need the encouragement.
This article first appeared on The Huffington Post.