Blog Archive

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love & The How To Guide

Valentine's Day, is it real or simply a part of American pop culture? In several Christian religions such as Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day. History itself is more vague on the whole point, was there really such a person and did he somehow represent love as a virtue?

Legends and mythology often stroll the record books of history hand in hand. J.C Coppers, The Dictionary of Christianity states that Saint Valentine was “a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians.” In another ancient text, Bede's Martyrology compiled in the 8th Century, states that Saint Valentine was interrogated in person by Roman Emperor Claudius II who offered Saint Valentine a deal. Valentine refused the offer and was executed.

As with all history embellishments appear through the rolling years and facts become points of argument only for scholars. Yet there is no real evidence of any links to St. Valentine's Day and romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry in the 14th Century.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Parlement of Foules in 1382 and though a modern translation is desperately needed to follow, his words were:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”

Translated Chaucer really said, “For this was on St. Valentine's Day, When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

True it may be arguable whether birds look to mate in February in England but it was the earliest connection to romance and St. Valentine's Day. Today we are bombarded with giant red hearts, a multitude of greeting cards in every price range, and of course the obligatory chocolates. For chefs and restaurants it is a day to turn down the lights, play romantic music and roll out the decorated plates.

Although most of us associate St. Valentine's Day with a Christian leaning, the notion of love and its heady allure is far from copyrighted to St. Valentine. In China February 14th is too close to the Chinese New Year so in Chinese Culture there is an older tradition called 'The Night of Sevens.' Here according to legend, the Cowherd Star and the Weaver Star are normally separated by the Milky Way or the silvery river, but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar. Sort of cute and warming as many legends are, don't you think?

On the other hand, in India's antiquity there was a tradition of adoring Kamadeva, the lord of love, which was exemplified by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, and by the writing of the Kamasutra treaty of lovemaking.

So whether you prefer the Christian martyr, the allure of the stars and the Milky Way, or the Kamasutra how to guide, February 14th resonates with love. Yes there are the flowers, greeting cards, and chocolates, but there is nothing more special than to do it yourself out of love. So try this yourself, for the one you love or simply as a treat for yourself.

Take red and delicious strawberries and some Greek yogurt. Cut the strawberry in half across the middle, don't forget to remove the leafy green first. Place parchment paper or foil onto a plate or cutting board. Whatever you choose has to be flat and of a size that will fit your freezer.

Now place the cut strawberries face down onto the parchment leaving enough room between each one to be able to move a teaspoon around. Using a teaspoon start to spread the yogurt around the strawberry. Cover the whole surface, back and sides, making sure that the coating of the yogurt is thick enough so as to be noticed.

After coating all of the pieces of strawberries on the parchment paper now place them into the freezer. Do not leave them too long in the freezer, 30 to 40 minutes should be sufficient.

Take the coated strawberries out of the freezer as the yogurt sets, trim a little of the yogurt off if needed, place them on a plate to serve as an opening treat to anything your heart desires. You may choose to sprinkle them with some powdered vanilla sugar, or have them as is. The tartness of the Greek yogurt and the juicy sweetness of strawberry can only be enhanced with a glass of champagne.

A final tip, a toothpick will help hold the strawberry in place on the plate as the yogurt is being spread, and Greek yogurt is the best to use as it is thick and will stick to the strawberry although slightly softened ice cream can also to the job well.

Enjoy Valentine's Day, but remember the notion of love itself doesn't need one day of the year only.

No comments:

Post a Comment