holiday that we celebrate in America has very
specific menus or menu items. We can move through
the calendar from the "Hoppin John"
of New Years Day to the barbecue picnics
of the Fourth of July to the Cuban Nochebuena
of Christmas. At our home Thanksgiving goes on
for two solid weeks. Holiday menus supply us with
a tremendous opportunity for sustenance. But what
do we do with it? Most folks just watch football!
Its ironic that the sole holiday that may
require intake of a powerful amount
of food points to only one: candy.
Arguably, candy is an energy giver. But
wouldnt an entire menu of dishes providing
true, robust, aphrodisiac powers offer would-be
Casanovas and Cleopatras a more fitting "training
table" with which to spend an evening of
ardor on Valentines Day?
Maybe it is as our parents warned: we ruin our
dinner with sweets. Yes. Maybe the whole show
got put off from the start with those softly colored
heart-shaped candies we shared with each other
from the very first grades. And how odd that the
guardians of prudish behavior every other damn
day of the year, (our school teachers!), would
guide us in the rituals of exchanging these candies
and those emotionally nerve racking little cards!
But enough of that! It is time for change! I have
a plan for the perfect Valentines Evening
Feast. It would be an ALL CHOCOLATE menu!
My ultimate Valentines Menu fantasy would
begin on a celestially beautiful rooftop garden
of a stone columned medieval castle in the countryside
with a river flowing beside it. With each course
I would serve chocolate and descend one floor
at a time to a new room with my lover. And each
of these rooms would be decorated in a manner
that moved steadily and inexorably to more and
more palpable evocations of Eros. The meal would
include the Catalonian dish called "Mar
y Muntanya" which features edible gold,
bittersweet chocolate and saffron-gilded rice.
The repast would end on a gigantic red velvet-blanketed
bed nailed onto a floating raft in the lazy, winding
river whereupon there would be all manner of chocolate
covered kisses and we would wash them down with
gemstone-studded silver cups of Rhum laced Aztec
With this Valentines Feast I think we would remember
© by Norman Van Aken, 2001