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A Valentine’s DayRepost from a Few Years Ago

February 12, 2014

OK, we all know Valentine’s Day is kinda stupid – we know we shouldn’t have just one day a year when we express our fondness for the person we’re involved with – but, we are suckers for a day when we can go to the mall and buy something with a “good” excuse. And, who can be unaffected by all the messages we are bombarded with around this time of year. If you don’t go to Jarrads, or you don’t make a reservation at a restaurant you can’t afford, you suck! For many people this is a very stressful day…but why stress? Since there’s a serious recession going on and money is tight and not everybody has a romantic partner in their life why not go crazy and 1) not buy anything 2) celebrate all the people you care about in a non materialistic way?

First some St.Valentine’s Day trivia

There are a number of legends about Saint Valentine, for whom the day is named but my personal favorite is: he was a priest in 3rd century Rome who married couples in opposition to the Emperor who commanded that only single men could be soldiers and outlawed marriage.

The elementary school tradition of exchanging St. Valentine ’s Day cards has its roots in a Middle Ages tradition when young men and women would draw a name from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would then pin the name on their sleeves for one week. This was done so that it becomes easy for other people to know your true feelings. This was known as “to wear your heart on your sleeve”.

Mid February has many traditions related to fertility and love most of which have given way to Valentine’s Day – be glad. Be very glad most have disappeared – one would have you marry the first person of the opposite sex you saw the morning of St. Valentine’s Day.

For couples who want to express their feelings about one another:

First, there seem to be a lot of people who think St. Valentine’s Day is only for men to profess or demonstrate their love/caring/infatuation to the women they like. Wrong. Men like to be appreciated just as much as women (my brothers both agree on this one). Also, what to do if both people in the couple are of same gender?

For some St. Valentine’s Day has been one during which couples try to outdo each other in showing their “love”.

Suggestion: Do what most couples, married or not, don’t do and look at your partner in the eyes for more than 18 seconds every day.

Florists love YOU on St. Valentine’s Day.

Suggestion: If you want the heavy symbolism of the rose but not the expense consider planting a seed of an equally symbolic flower the Forget Me Not – easy to plant inside in a pot before you put them in the garden after the first frost and they require little after they are in the ground.

Hallmark makes a mint!

Suggestion: Take 2 minutes and write down something about the person you care for – text, note on the kitchen counter, message written in the condensation on the bathroom mirror – all just as, if not more than, meaningful.

Chocolatiers make a ton o’ money!

Suggestion: If you must celebrate this holiday don’t mess with this one! But remember, men like chocolate too!

Restaurants clean up on this day.

Suggestion: Cook a meal together. Mac and Cheese, although hardly fancy is a universally loved meal and you can jazz it up –

Big Batch of Mary Whittaker’s Extra-Special Macaroni and Cheese

(she says it reheats really well!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. package of Penne pasta
  • 1 stick of butter (you can add more)
  • 3-4 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 2 12 oz cans of evaporated milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of onion powder
  • 4 8 oz packages of Macadam “Wicked Sharp” Cheddar Cheese (2lbs of cheese – you could mix Extra sharp and Wicked sharp cheese)
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs with melted butter (optional – Mary says most people like to eat it without baking)

Preparation:

If you think you have the patience to bake it : Grease a big baking dish. Heat oven to 350°. Otherwise serve it out of the pot.

Cook penne following package directions; drain, rinse, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat to add the flour—it burns easily, and should be the consistency of of loose paste. Slowly add evaporated milk, whisking constantly, cook until thick–the consistency of very heavy cream—add more milk if necessary (regular is fine). Salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add the penne, heat through and eat – unless you want to wait until you bake it ….

If you bake it combine bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.

For non-couple- related gestures to one another

Remember those candy hearts from grade school? Or the valentine’s cards you spent time scribbling your name on? Everybody (ok, most people) likes to be acknowledged. A few suggestions about how to let those in your life know you care about them:

TELL THEM!!!! TELL THEM!!! TELL THEM!

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