4 April

International Carrot Day

What's Up, Doc?

So we are drinking a...

What's Up, Doc?

Carrots, the humble root vegetable, are more than just a crunchy snack. They are packed with essential nutrients, including beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, and they have been celebrated around the world for centuries. In fact, there is even a celebratory day dedicated to this nutritious vegetable: International Carrot Day, observed every year on April 4th.

Today, people from around the world come together to appreciate the many benefits of carrots, whether they are eaten raw, cooked, juiced, or even in cake form. While the origins of International Carrot Day are unclear, it is believed to have started in Sweden in the early 2000s as a way to promote healthy eating habits.

One of the most interesting things about carrots is their vibrant colour, which ranges from bright orange to purple, red, yellow, and even white. These different colours are not just for show, as they indicate different levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

For example, purple carrots contain anthocyanins, which have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, while yellow and white carrots contain xanthophylls, which are important for eye health. So, next time you're picking out carrots at the supermarket, don't be afraid to mix it up and try some of the more unusual colours.

Carrots are also incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, mashed, pureed, and even turned into noodles. Carrots are also a popular ingredient in soups, stews, and salads, and they pair well with a variety of flavours, including ginger, garlic, honey, and balsamic vinegar.

But it's not just humans who love carrots. Rabbits, of course, are famously fond of them (more on rabbits later), and carrots are also a popular treat for horses and other livestock. In fact, the word "carrot" comes from the Greek word karoton which means "horn" or "root," and was originally used to refer to a variety of vegetables, including parsnips and turnips.

Of course, we can't talk about carrots without mentioning Bugs Bunny. This lovable cartoon rabbit has been chomping on carrots for decades, and he's pretty much the unofficial mascot of International Carrot Day. So it seems only right that we celebrate International Carrot Day with a 'What's Up, Doc?'!

It's also World Rat Day

According to the interwebz, in Britain you're never more than 20 feet away from a rat. On average, obviously. And as carriers of diseases from plague to salmonella by way of Lyme disease and Lassa fever, not to mention their nigh-constant bowel motions and the constant gnawing required to keep their ever-growing incisors under control, it doesn't take James Herbert much to make rats horrific.

Which makes it odd that today is World Rat Day.

And no, it isn't sponsored by Rentokil, or the World Health Organisation for that matter, but by a group of dedicated fans of this once-popular Goth pet. Organisers recommend "bearing gifts and treats to unsuspecting rats", hosting "Ratfests" and, generally, making "rats very happy".

If you don't have a pet rat to hand, we recommend you mark the event with a Rat Pack Manhattan, created in honour of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack gang of crooners, who sent Vegas wild during their glory days.

But, perhaps most notably, today is Grumpy Cat's birthday

On this day in 2012, Tardar Sauce, AKA Grumpy Cat, made her way into this world. Described on Wikipedia as "a cat Internet and media personality and actress", her unique expression made her an internet megastar with a brand value estimated at over $50million.

Grumpy, or Tard, whose facial expression apparently came from feline dwarfism and underbite, had her own coffee brand, worked with Friskies, sold 100,000s of T-shirts, countless mugs, keyrings, posters and a book, and even movies.

Which is slightly depressing when you think about it, but great for a cat that only came to fame when her owner's brother posted a picture of her on Reddit. Sadly, Tard died in May 2019 but she apparently lived a happy life and got to be a normal much-loved cat for the 95% of the time (when not occupied with public appearances).

Happy birthday, Tard! We're toasting you with our best grumpy faces and a Smokey Old Bastard, Craig Toone's take on the Old-Fashioned, with Lapsang Souchong tea and maple syrup.

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