Kebab Day is celebrated on the second Friday of July (July 14 this year) as an occasion to commemorate the kebab and its multiple varieties. Kebabs are hugely popular because of their meaty texture and an amazing array of spices and aromas. There are known to be more than 20 types of kebabs that are prepared differently in each region or family. That is quite a lot of variety to experience for just one day.
History of Kebab Day
The official records do not mention Kebab Day as a nationally recognized holiday. However, going by social media posts and online records, the day has been celebrated in different parts of the country since 2019. This makes it a relatively recent phenomenon, which is fair given the widespread popularity of kebabs in recent years across the United States.
Kebabs have been part of the American diet in one way or the other because of the intense cultural influx from the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, all of which are regions where different varieties of kebabs are quite popular. Since the 1970s, the kebab has become a popular snack or fast food variety in major American cities, such as New York. This is likely a factor that prompted a special day being commemorated to celebrate its universal appeal as a quick meal or appetizer.
Interest in Middle Eastern cuisine and overall culture has grown in the United States over the past two decades. People are more exposed to Middle Eastern fast food due to the high rate of commercial growth in Middle Eastern restaurants in small and big cities across the United States. With new kebab shops and restaurants popping up so frequently throughout the country, it is no surprise that people began demanding an exclusive Kebab Day to celebrate this popular food.
Today, Kebab Day has become a way to celebrate the popularity of this food, which can be eaten in so many diverse ways, with a range of breads, spices, and condiments.
Kebab Day timeline
The doner kebab is invented in Turkey.
Turkish immigrants introduce doner kebabs in Germany.
Gyro becomes a popular New York snack food.
The mad cow disease scare makes people switch to chicken kebabs.
Kebab Day FAQs
What makes a kebab a kebab?
Kebabs are various cooked meat dishes with their origins in Middle Eastern cuisine. Kebabs consist of cut-up or ground meat and they mostly consist of mashed onion in addition to vegetables, and various other accompaniments according to the specific recipe.
Why is kebab so popular?
Kebabs are usually cheap, filling, tasty and convenient.
When was kebab invented?
They are thought to have originated in Turkey when soldiers used to grill chunks of freshly hunted animals skewered on swords over open-field fires. This origin is backed up by a Turkish script of Kyssa-I Yusuf in 1377 and is now the oldest known source where kebab is stated as a food item.
How to Celebrate Kebab Day
Learn a new recipe
If you have never made a kebab in your life, then Kebab Day is the best time to learn a new skill. You can start with a basic kebab recipe that requires meat and a few simple spices that you can get from your local store. Whether you want to make a shish kebab or a doner kebab, the choice is completely yours as both are easy and fun to make.
Visit a traditional restaurant
Many restaurants cater to international tastes so they tone down their recipes. If you want to get a taste of authentic kebabs then go a bit out of the way and visit a traditional Middle Eastern restaurant. There, you will get a taste of genuine kebabs the way that Middle Eastern families cook them in their homes every day. You will also enjoy the authentic environment, complete with the diverse languages, customs, and aromas that these places offer.
Become familiar with new ingredients
As you learn to make kebabs, you will most likely come across a few ingredients for the first time. Take some time to experience their tastes, textures, and aromas. It might seem unusual at first, but when you realize how many non-native spices are part of the American diet today, it won’t seem all that strange. You can even buy some and try incorporating them in your everyday recipes to see how they change the overall flavor of your food.
5 Facts About Middle Eastern Foods That Will Blow Your Mind
The largest grower of dates
The Middle East is the single largest producer of dates in the world.
Food in the Middle East is grown using hydroponic technology.
Zaatar is used as a substitute for thyme in Middle Eastern recipes.
Olives have been cultivated in the Middle East for thousands of years.
Honey is a popular Arab food due to its longevity and high nutritional value.
Why we love Kebab Day
It exposes us to new tastes
There are so many different versions of kebabs that even those who eat kebabs regularly might not have tried them all. Kebab Day is a great time to taste different varieties of kebabs as each country and region has a slightly different version of the same recipe.
It is a healthy food
Since the kebab is a meat-based food, it is packed with proteins and other nutrients that are vital for a healthy body. If you don’t eat red meat, you can prepare kebabs with chicken and fish, which are even healthier versions. You can even add grilled cheese and vegetables to make a richer platter.
It allows us to socialize
Kebabs are enjoyed by people the world over. As you try different types of kebabs on Kebab Day, also make it a point to reach out to different communities and learn about their way of life. You will enjoy learning so many new things about the people living around us.
Kebab Day dates