Thursday, December 12, 2013
Steff Deschenes has already eaten her way through tempting food holidays such as National Waffle Day (March 26), National Potato Chip Day (March 14) and National "Have a Brownie" Day (Feb. 10). She chronicles these celebratory meals on her Almanac of Eats blog.
Steff's been writing about these daily food holidays for almost four months, and she's already garnered more than 8,000 page views a month and numerous food company sponsors. She intends to keep blogging daily through the end of the year.
"I never thought the blog would get as many hits as it’s getting," said Steff, who splits her time between Lewiston and Portland. "That’s the shocking thing."
Her journey began with National Bloody Mary Day and ends with National Champagne Day.
But it's not all cocktails and cake - this blog comes with a twist. Steff is a vegetarian, which makes holidays such as Turkey Neck Soup Day (March 30), Glazed Ham Day (April 15) and National Surf & Turf Day (Feb. 29) a bit of a challenge.
"This idea seems totally ridiculous and undoable," she said. "But I like ridiculous and undoable."
To accommodate the meat-based holidays, Steff substitutes vegetarian meat analogs, such as Tofurky in place of real turkey necks.
"Glazed Ham Day wasn’t my favorite day as a vegetarian," Steff said. "It's not a day you go into enthusiastically."
How did she cope?
"I veganized a glazed ham sandwich recipe," Steff said. "It’s a lot easier to veganize recipes than people realize."
In addition to national sponsors, Steff has found local companies to supply her with holiday-appropriate eats. She's been talking with Holy Donut about providing her with a vegan doughnut on one of the upcoming doughnut holidays, and Otto Pizza about supplying her with pizza on an appropriate day. Ahimsa Custom Cakes plans to make her a vegan cake for one of the cake holidays.
"Three hundred and sixty five days doesn’t seem like a lot until you do a project like this," Steff said. "Right now my eyes are on Champagne day, because that’s the end."
- Avery Yale Kamila
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod