February 5th was World Nutella Day! Sorry if you missed it. I’ve written before about how food holidays come about–most often a brand or food commission will propose that a mayor, governor, or president dedicate a day to celebrate the food, and after that it’s simply a matter of marketing. But World Nutella Day has a much more interesting history, since it was proposed by a couple of bloggers who simply wanted to share their love for the brand online. Nutella’s parent company issued a cease-and-desist at first, which was dumb, but they came to a happy reconciliation. Now Nutella gets free marketing and anyone who wants to can share their love with the internet for one special day. Just don’t try to sell it in a milkshake or name your infant daughter after it.
I’m late to the World Nutella party, but I’ll share. I never buy it in the States; Nutella has very strong associations with Italy for me. The first time I visited that country, I was with a school group that flew into Bologna and took a train to Arezzo, where we would be performing. Someone opened the windows on the slow-moving local train as we left the city, and the whole air smelled like chocolate and hazelnuts. I don’t know if we were passing a factory or the Nutellaria or what.
Years later, I arrived in Rome for a month-long summer study. I hauled my month’s supply of clothes and books from airport to the train station down through the metro underground and up a hill to my dorm; it was raining and also a national holiday, so everything was closed and I was miserable and hungry. While I was trying to dry out my things, my roommate arrived. She was an older woman, a late-in-life art student who had visited the city before and knew where to find an open shop in the neighborhood. I bought tea, toast, and Nutella, comfort foods which I ate happily for breakfast every day. No wonder I got so cranky during our four-hour morning class–sugar crash!
Anyway, here are 8 Things You Might Not Know About Nutella via Mental Floss.
This is not really “elsewhere on the internet,” but I love Valentine’s Day unironically and I’ve posted about love, sex, and candy often enough to do my own link roundup as we approach the date:
- “Euphemisms” remains one of my favorite food music playlists to date.
- Totally prosaic vegetables that were once thought to be aphrodisiacs.
- Historically, St. Valentine’s Day was not specifically a day for romance but a day for tricks, games, and sweets not unlike Halloween.
- Along those lines: here are some turn-of-the-century valentines that mocked and threatened suffragettes–which, interestingly, is my number 1 most visited page of all time.
I’ve only watched one episode of Masterchef Junior, and will watch no more. Sure, it’s adorable, the kids are amazing, it’s hilarious to see Gordon Ramsey be tender and encouraging–but I was chewing my nails off watching those kids compete in high-pressure timed contests! I was a big contest-goer as a kid, but they were solitary competitions: just me, a pencil, and a writing challenge or math test; no teamwork, no cameras, no keeping a straight face during a constructive critique. At the Atlantic, Caroline Framke doesn’t think the critique on Masterchef Junior is all that constructive; she sees it as replicating certain biases that we see in kitchens and elsewhere. She makes a compelling argument; I wonder if those of you who watch the show would agree?
A sweet, nostalgic celebration of Ring Pops. . . . or is it?