It was a recent Saturday — April 12, to be exact — and I had just fired up the grill. With me were my wife, a few close friends and six of the most beautiful New York Strip steaks I’d seen in a very long time. And that’s when I heard it.
It was National Licorice Day.
The man on the radio announced it with a straight face, or at least what sounded like a straight face, but it stopped me cold. There’s a National Licorice Day? Even if it was for the red licorice — because I’ve yet to meet a person who likes black licorice — I glanced at my plate of beef and immediately wondered: Why isn’t there a National Steak Day?
How is it possible, in the same great nation that invented hamburgers, corn dogs and buffalo wings, that we don’t have a day on the calendar dedicated to the best thing to happen to meat since fire?
As someone who works with steak on an almost daily basis, I was almost insulted that no one had thought to bring a motion before Congress (or wherever things like National Licorice Day are decreed) to give steak the recognition it deserves.
The aforementioned hamburger and corn dog both have their days in the national spotlight (May 28 and March 22, respectively). Heck, add a slice of cheddar and you’ve got National Cheeseburger Day (Sept. 18). The buffalo wings are still waiting for their standing ovation, but that’s another fight.
Oh, sure, there’s a National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5), a National Pancake Day (Sept. 26) and a National Gummy Worm Day (July 15). We can plan our menus around National Hoagie Day, National Grape Popsicle Day and National Vanilla Pudding Day, all of which are celebrated in May. There’s even a National Escargot Day (May 24). That’s snails, folks. I don’t care how you cook them, they’re still snails.
But no National Steak Day.
May would be the perfect month for it. For starters, it’s National Beef Month. Now, you might be tempted to stop there and call that a victory in and of itself, and it is, but it’s not quite the same thing. Not as long as zucchini has a day to call its own (Aug. 8) or gazpacho fans have a reason to wake up in the morning (Dec. 6). May is also home to the day in which Americans eat more beef than any other day of the year — that would be Memorial Day — which marks the unofficial start of grilling season.
So how to do we put an end to this meaty injustice? You can start by signing the White House petition to make May 31 National Steak Day (hosss.com/petition). If we reach 100,000 signatures by May 31, the White House is obligated to issue an official response to the petition. As of this writing (11:30 p.m. Saturday), we already have 784!
There must be 100,000 Americans out there who care deeply about filet mignon and rib eye. Which is 99,000 more than those who care about sauteed snails.
Bill Campbell is chairman and CEO of Hoss’s Steak & Sea House, a chain of 35 restaurants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia with Pittsburgh-area locations in Murrysville, Belle Vernon and Greensburg.