Do you remember your first Valentine’s Day card? Was it from a relative or a best-friend? How about your first “love interest” Valentine? Do you remember crafting Valentines when you were a child…cutting the red construction paper into heart shapes and gluing bits of ribbon or lace onto the handmade card?
The history of Valentine’s Day is clouded by various legends, but its roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration. Pope Gelasius I made this pagan festival into a Christian feast day in 496 and he declared February 14 to be Saint Valentine’s Day.
However, it wasn’t until the 14th Century that Chaucer linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance. In 1381, he composed a poem in honor of the engagement of Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia. “The Parliament of Fowls” spoke of the royal engagement, the mating of fowls and St. Valentine’s Day.
By the 18th Century, gift-giving and the exchange of handmade cards had become a tradition in England. However, it wasn’t until the 1850’s that the tradition of Valentine’s cards became widespread in the United States when Esther Howland, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts and a graduate of Mt. Holyoke, began to mass produce Valentine’s Day cards.
Do you still make your Valentine’s Day cards by hand?
A lot of people do try to make something special to celebrate this day of love. If you pass a bakery or candy shop, you will, no doubt, see windows and shelves filled with cakes, cookies, cupcakes and elegant confections in the shape of hearts, bows, and cupids.
For a healthier take on Valentine’s Day food, why not try this lovely HEARTS OF MOZZARELLA SALAD. This recipe is from the SHOW ME HOW! book, which provides 100 child-friendly healthful cooking activities. You can try it for lunch today or as a side salad for dinner.
You will need: 1 chunk of mozzarella cheese (about 1 lb), 2 Roma tomatoes, 1 Tb basis (dry or fresh), several leaves of romaine lettuce, 1 Tb balsamic vinegar, 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb Parmesan cheese.
1. Cut mozzarella into 8 slices, each about ¼ inch thick. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter or a knife to cut each slice into a heart shape. Put the excess cheese in a plastic bag in the fridge to save for topping on pizza, etc.
2. Slice each tomato into 4 slices and place a tomato slice on top of each cheese heart.
3. Arrange on a platter of lettuce leaves and sprinkle each serving with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and Parmesan cheese.
I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for a bunch of wonderful love quotations in Quotable Timeless Tuesday.
May you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day…filled with Sunshine (even if it is raining) and Love.