This week celebrate chocolate ice cream, best friends, ice tea, Donald Duck, corn on the cob, and interracial marriage

UNDATED – Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day — chocolate ice cream was actually invented before vanilla. You heard right — the earliest ice cream flavors were modeled after drinks, so chocolate naturally came before vanilla because hot chocolate was very popular in 17th-century Europe.

In fact, the first frozen chocolate recipe was published in 1692 Naples in the book “The Modern Steward,” and much later chocolate ice cream found its way to the U.S. This day falls on June 7 to help us channel our inner Willy Wonka and pay tribute to this decadently frosty treat.

Whether they’re near or far, old or new, best friends help to carry us through our lives. Tuesday is National Best Friends Day. It’s time to tell them how much we appreciate their company.

As the Mayo Clinic reports: “Friends help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one. They also encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.” Today’s the day to enjoy a little one-on-one time with the people who never fail to catch us when we fall.

Donald Duck made his cartoon debut in “The Wise Little Hen” back in the summer of 1934. But he wouldn’t meet Mickey Mouse until his second appearance in “Orphan’s Benefit” later that year. From there, it wasn’t long before Daisy Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie were introduced. In spite of their superior diction, they weren’t able to steal the spotlight from Donald. You can’t replace his grumpy, nearly incomprehensible charm, and it’s why the Donald has been in more movies (200+) than any Disney character. So, let’s celebrate on Wednesday – National Donald Duck Day!

And his accomplishments don’t stop there. He co-hosted the Oscars in 1958 with a little help from Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, and Jimmy Stewart. Oh, and they named an asteroid after him in 1995. If that doesn’t convince you he’s a force of nature, know that he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Well, what do you give to a duck that has it all? His own holiday!

Tea has been around forever, but iced tea didn’t burst onto the scene and win over America’s hearts and minds until 1904. In that year, visitors to the St. Louis World’s Fair were greeted by exceedingly hot weather. Tea plantation owner and merchant Richard Blechynden, who was present at the fair, took advantage of the situation by selling chilled tea drinks. The rest is history.

On June 10, we fill our glasses with iced tea (sweetened or unsweetened—that’s your call) and celebrate National Iced Tea Day.

Some call it “corn-stick,” others go with “sweet pole,” but we like to call it amazing. National Corn on the Cob Day falls on Friday, June 11. Although, for most home gardens, mid-June is still too early for the harvest you can’t blame anyone for being in a hurry.

If you plan on picking the corn yourself, there’s a trick to spot when the corn is ready. During the milk stage, the kernels are still soft, and this is nature’s way of saying “come and get it!” The milk stage (or commonly referred to as roasting ear) occurs about 20 days after silking as kernels develop a buttery yellow color and are full of milky white fluid. Stress from pollination through the milk stage will readily cause kernels close to the ear tip to abort, as energy is prioritized to the base of the ear. 

Ear of corn at milk stage

Boil it, steam it, roast it, or grill it — there’s no wrong or right method as long as it stays on that cob.

National Loving Day is on Saturday, June 12, and the name for this day is an interesting one.

The holiday is, of course, about spreading love but, ironically, it also references the names of Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the laws confining them and everyone else from marrying interracially.

Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958.

 Every June 12, we honor the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down laws in several states that banned interracial marriage. The decision was sparked by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958. Mildred Loving was both black and Native American, and her husband, Richard, was white.

Mildred and Richard started off as childhood friends and, over the years, their friendship developed into love. On her 18th birthday, in 1958, Mildred was married to Richard in Washington, after which the couple returned to their hometown. Two weeks later, the Lovings were arrested in July 1958, when the local sheriff burst into their bedroom in the middle of the night, demanding to know what they were doing together. Their union was illegal in Virginia. A county judge offered a deal: They could avoid prison if they pleaded guilty and promised to leave Virginia and not return for 25 years.

Richard and Mildred Loving at their home in Central Point, Va., with their children, from left, Peggy, Donald, and Sidney, in 1967. “If it’s genuine love, color doesn’t matter.” Credit…Free Lance-Star, via Associated Press

After moving to Washington D.C., the couple pursued legal action by writing a plea to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The case was forwarded to the American Civil Liberties Union and, eventually, the ruling was in the Lovings’ favor. Richard and Mildred returned to their home in Virginia, where they settled with their three children.

The house Richard Loving built for his wife, Mildred, is empty now, its front yard overgrown, a giant maple tree shading a birdbath that is slightly askew. It sits down the road from the church graveyard where the couple is buried. Richard died in 1975, and Mildred in 2008.

Richard and Mildred’s determination changed the lives of millions of Americans and shaped the future of relationships in the country.