It’s awfully rude when you ignore Valentine’s Day and your significant other gives you a Valentine’s Day gift. It’s worse if you’re militantly oppose to all that kind of romantic hooey, even though you’re an ardent romantic soul and said significant other KNOWS this about you and agrees with you, yet stands before you bearing gift because, you know, you’re just adorable when you’re mad.
Couches and floors are made for such actions.
Which brings us to yesterday when, not even caffeinated, he thrust a huge bouquet into my arms with a card smashed in the middle. It’s a sappy thing with a couple embracing on the front and a big red heart to the side telling me how wonderful I am. Inside….
You can take this sentiment two ways: As a sure sign romance has completely abandoned your decades long affair OR you’re still desirable no matter how disgusting you may be at times. Actually, if you can read his scrawl, there’s a third.
The card memorializes the first weekend we stayed together. It was that weekend–
“Hey, you….free Saturday?”
(Of course you’re free Saturday! You’ve been seeing each for a whole month of Saturdays through Fridays. What kind of trick is this?) “I think so.”
“Maybe we could make dinner.”
“Great! You like lasagna?”
Come Saturday, struggle into your laciest bra and panties, and let’s go! To the market where you are YES! that disgusting couple furiously making out up against the ice cream freezer door. Then skip off to the wine store and waltz giggling back to the apartment where you put on music, open the first bottle of wine, rip open the market bags and commence spending an extraordinary amount of time dancing and drinking and getting in each other way (and perhaps revealing a little lacy bra, a rim of briefs). In the midst of this kind of mayhem, you know what happens…not enough attention is paid to your herbs and spices and a little too much garlic gets sprinkled carelessly about. More wine is poured, more funny stories about the past told, more music of the slower kind played. Then dinner and wine and layers of clothing peel off and there you are on the floor, being way too physical for having just eaten lasagna with a lot of garlic and….well….suddenly you’re curled up at the edge of the bed, totally out of the mood. If he loves you, he pulls you into his arms and kids you into laughing and then it’s forty years later and he’s giving you a Valentine’s Day card all about it.
What in God’s name is there to do with a Valentine like that? You pull yourself together and decide on something special even though you get off work late and are really tired.
Coeur a la creme! French cuisine’s love note.
This dessert is made for the harried and tired. A sweet and light cheese cake kiss. It’s made like soft cheese–ingredients bundled up in cheese cloth and allowed to drain overnight. What’s needed: cream cheese, sour cream (or creme fraiche if you can find it), vanilla, a little lemon, and powdered sugar. And they’re all on hand!
Except the necessary little heart shaped dish with draining holes. Epicurious to the rescue! It suggests cutting 12-ounce paper cups down to three inches, then making holes on the bottom with tooth picks. Unfortunately, I only have the kind of plastic cups you play beer bong with (thank you sons!) and plastic cracks when you cut it. Pull out the duct tape
Jabbing holes with a skewer on the bottom doesn’t go well. I stop at 5 instead of the dozen Epicurious instructs.
Undaunted, I mix the ingredients together, cut and dampen cheese cloth squares, then drape them into the cups and pour the mixture in.
Unfortunately, it’s now 7 p.m. and you have to let the cups drain for at least four hours.
About now, he comes home and you both need dinner. Afterwards, I present the cups as an enticing tomorrow promise.
“Nice,” he smiles, takes a swig of beer and returns to watching The Big Bang Theory.
Now it is morning and I hurry out of bed to the kitchen, unwrap one of the cups and unmold it onto one of my prettiest chipped china plates, strewing about chopped strawberries, dampened with Cointreau (nothing wrong with a nip of liqueur before work).
He radiates a smile and leans over to kiss me.
“Save me some!”
And off he goes out the door on some business trip across the country I forgot all about even though the suitcase was in the hall last night.
And that’s love for you. Decades and decades of love. A card memorializing a long ago indigestible dinner and the anticipation of a misshapen dessert to come home to.