Valentine’s Day

2/11/2015 - 4:05:23 PM
If most of us think of red hearts, chocolate, flowers, warm fuzzy feelings and romantic dates on Valentines Day we can be justified in doing so for all the attention the holiday has gotten over the years. Even if we aren’t quite that newly in love it is still the time of year when we all celebrate love in some way even down to school kid’s exchanging cute, pink paper hearts with real edible heart candies for each other. Add to that all the ads for everything, plus sales for jewelers going up a projected average of 6 million couples are estimated to get engaged on that day.

For all that you would think the holiday originated in some happy, red-heart-cupid-sort-of-day where a couple beat all odds to unite, making it the kind of story that gets retold in warm, fuzzy blog posts, stories and commercials around the world. Not so. Read on for the story that has come from a time approximately 1700 years ago.

The Story

In the 3rd century, A.D. when the Roman empire was hanging by the shreds and Claudius the current emperor was desperate to keep and reunite the three fragmented sections that he issued an edict forbidding young people from getting married. Not the smartest idea for replacement troops, nevertheless his idea was that unmarried men fought better than the ones who were married because they had less to worry about with what would happen to their wives and families if they were killed. Makes sense to an unwise and desperate tyrant who is making one last grab for power, but definitely not sustainable in the long run.

It was also a lawless time. The Christian faith was being persecuted, and of some of the leftover churchmen who had not subscribed or been forced into lives of polygamy and immorality, Valentine was a member. Out of concern for morality, he married young people in secret anyway, and while such things can go on in secret for awhile sooner or later they will be found out and there will be trouble, and probably blood-shed. Valentine was caught and put in prison, and as the story goes (difficult to know what is fact or legend) he met a young, blind girl in the prison who was the daughter of one of his keepers.

A girl by the name of Julia, Valentine was said to have an encounter with her in the prison cell where he prayed with her to get back her sight, and her prayer was answered. Valentine was afterward sentenced to “three” deaths by beating, stoning, and decapitation and wrote a note to Julia the night before affectionately signing it, “From your Valentine.” His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D. near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.

Of course it was not linked with a romantic connection until Chaucer’s day when he wrote in honor of the anniversary of King Richard II and Anne of Bohemia:

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

["For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]

Most people see Valentine as a kind of hopeless romantic, but to be more fair he was standing up for his Christian beliefs and it happened to be about love and marriage.

Valentine’s Everywhere

There are a lot of other stories and folk lore out there connecting Valentines Day with an ancient Roman festival, traditions in Victorian towns and so on and so forth, but to this day the story that stands the most credible is the Roman priest who believed in marriage, and was named Valentine. Today often seems more about the dollar sign than anything else, but behind all the commercialization there is a beautiful story of standing for good that we can honor with those we love best: husbands, wives, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and even as children. So without further ado:
Quiche and Cake

This is just the kind of day when you need to start special and end special, so we’ve got two recipes near and dear to women’s hearts beginning with:

Savoury Sausage Quiche

Start with a 9” unbaked pie shell. To make it simple we have those mixes all set for you to go: Gluten Free pie crust mix to simplify your life and make it good for your intestinal health, and for ladies who don’t have to watch out for the pesky gluten we have this Pie Crust mix.
  • 1/2 lb sausage
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 4 oz feta (optional)
  • 8 oz shredded cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 c milk
  • 4 eggs

Fry mushrooms & sausage, add onion for the last minute. Put in pie shell. Top with feta and shredded cheese. Whisk or mix remaining ingredients and pour over everything else. Bake at 375° for 30-45 min. Let stand 10 min before serving.

And now for the Pièce de résistance.

White Cake with Raspberries and Bavarian Cream

This cake is sophisticated and simply marvelous, there is something so rich and yet so light about the combination of Bavarian Cream and raspberries with white cake as a layer that we couldn’t resist making this tall beauty. We’ve also made it as simple as can be with a layer cake (right?) and this one is practically fool-proof. This beautiful recipe is our Happy Valentine for all you special ladies.
  • 1 white cake mix, baked according to directions on box for (2) 9" cake pans
  • 1 tube red raspberry pie filling
  • 8-12 ounces Cool Whip
  • (2) six ounce boxes fresh red raspberries
Cool cakes on a wire rack. Level tops if needed. Place one cake on cake stand, bottom side down. Cut small slit in end of raspberry filling and squeeze approximately half onto cake circling from outer edge. Use spatula to smooth. Add another small bead of raspberry along outer edge to help contain the cream layer. Add a layer of Bavarian cream staying inside the bead of raspberry. Smooth. Place second cake on top, bottom side up. Smooth filling layer along the edges by drawing your spatula up from the bottom cake to the top to seal the raspberry over the cream.
Frost with cool whip, garnish with fresh raspberries.

Keep leftovers refrigerated. If there are any. Celebrate!
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