Downloadable: Using ChatGPT to create a Food & Drink Holiday iCalendar (.ICS)

Massive Table of Food & Drink

Here's a quick life hack to add a National Food & Drink Holidays calendar for meal planning, powered by ChatGPT

While I often talk about AI thought leadership and strategy, I also enjoy sharing little life hacks. As a hobby, my wife and I keep a blog over at where we create and share BBQ and grilling recipes. For inspiration, we often look to National Food & Drink Holidays and will match up a recipe. The challenge is the list is posted on many sites in text format only, such as this comprehensive list at JuleeHo Media. We wanted to add it as a separate Holiday Calendar in Outlook, but there was no clear way to do this. Enter ChatGPT to help generate the iCalendar (.ics) formatted file. A link to the download can be found at the end of this post.

Before we delve into the implementation details, let’s briefly understand what an iCalendar file is. An iCalendar file is a popular standard for exchanging calendar and scheduling information electronically. It allows users to store, share, and import events, tasks, and appointments across different platforms and applications. It’s a simple text file with a simple markup syntax. Let’s take a look below:

Creating the iCalendar (.ICS) File

The first challenge was to start building the .ICS formatted file. The header format I found that works is the following:

PRODID:-//BBQHawks//Food & Drink Calendar 2023.6//EN
X-WR-CALNAME:Foodie Holidays

Next, I asked ChatGPT to give me a sample of the entry format and it was correct, but set the time to “Busy”, so I added in the STATUS: and TRANSP: fields:

SUMMARY: National Rotisserie Chicken Day

Next, I tried using ChatGPT4 + Bing Search to scrape the site and give me the correct

Finding the Edges of ChatGPT4 + Bing Beta

I had hoped to use ChatGPT4 to scrape the site, generate the list and results. Using my ChatGPT Plus account, I enabled the Beta for Bing Search results in settings and fed it the following prompt:

Extract the Subject and Date entities from the list from the following site: "".. All dates happen in 2023. Reformat the following list into this format and do not stop until you reach the end of the list:"  

SUMMARY: [Subject]








The only challenge I ran into is ChatGPT doesn’t like to give verbose results and would not generate the entire list. Instead, it gave me a few samples:

The Workaround

I messed around with generating a Python script but instead channeled my inner Voltaire and focused on a good enough solution. I scraped the list myself as text and fed it back into ChatGPT3. Why ChatGPT3? Even after telling the prompt to give me the full list, it refused. I had to continue generating over a dozen turns to create the full list:

Here’s a sample of the results:

This was a little tedious. I tried to get ChatGPT to generate a .TXT file with all the results at once. It affirmed it would do this, then asked me to wait and it did…nothing. It “lied”, demonstrating another example of why the prompter needs to use intellectual judgement as the edges are not clear.

Final Assembly and Testing

I then pulled this text list of VEVENTs into my .ics file with the header and a simple footer:


I then tested the .ICS file by importing into Outlook (I happen to be running the new Preview version). It worked flawlessly. I created a blank Calendar and imported it, shared it with my wife and now we can toggle it on and off as we do meal planning.

Final Thoughts and Links

This is a great example of the personal productivity benefits of ChatGPT. I could have just written a Python script to scrape the site, or a tool like Power Automate to extract. But for business professionals with low-code or no-code experience, you can now take a calendar in email, reformat it, quickly add it to a calendar and share it with the whole team.

Also, ChatGPT can be used to clean up mistakes. When I first ran the prompt, I missed that there was an extra space between “DATE: YYYY…”. So I used ChatGPT to quickly generate a PowerShell script to remove the additional space. This saved me considerable time and effort. Perhaps I’ll write a follow up on that one. In the meantime, here is the iCalendar (.ICS) for the National Food & Drink Calendar in case you want to add to your own calendar! Big thanks to Julee Ho Media for sharing the source list!

2023 National Food & Drink Calendar (iCal | Calendar | .ICS) download

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