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Don't Forget to Celebrate Frozen Foods This Weekend

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You might be girding yourselves for the Cajun cuisine that goes along with the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration, but a little-known and rarely celebrated holiday is right around the corner.

Declared by President Reagan in 1984, National Frozen Food Day -- which fallas on Sunday -- celebrates the modern convenience that brings us such wonders as the pizza on a bagel, the pizza in a pocket and their miniature cousin, the pizza bite.

In the proclamation that founded the holiday, Reagan praised the role that frozen foods play in our daily lives. They improved city life, provisioned citizens in World War II and even have a role in the Space Age, partially replacing the iconic freeze dried space foods.

The retail success of frozen food was made possible by flash freezing, a process created by Clarence Birdseye in the early 1900s. A biologist and entrepreneur, Birdseye was inspired to create the process after observing that fish caught by Inuit fishermen in the frigid region of Labrador, Canada froze instantly, preserving them far better than other methods.

Birdseye was also responsible for the way we get our frozen foods. Birdseye leased freezer display cases to retailers back before they were commonplace and maintained food temperatures via refrigerated boxcars.

We've come from the Atomic Age with little more than Salisbury steaks and flash-frozen fish to today, where you can walk into your neighborhood grocery store to see an entire aisle of the frozen foods section dedicated to breakfast alone.

It might not evoke the same excitement as Mardi Gras, but why not pay tribute to the ubiquitous fare by picking up your favorite frozen junk food or full-blown meal? Maybe it will even tide you over until you can get your hands on some gumbo.

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