Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine Schmalentine

Despite your voting awesomeness, French Laundry at Home did not win Culinate's Death by Chocolate contest last week. That honor went to the very well deserving Cathy at We love Cathy and her blog, so bravo to her! Your votes did, however, land me in the final Top Ten, so I was honored to be considered as a contender among some other pretty cool bloggers -- most of whom have done a hell of a lot more chocolate dishes than I have, so there you go.

As a special thank you for your vote-casting generosity, I toyed with the idea of making one of The French Laundry desserts last night, posting it today, and wishing you all an early happy Valentine's Day with lots of hearts and flowers, but then I came to my senses and remembered that I think Valentine's Day is actually kind of dumb (shouldn't we do nice things for the people we care about all year, instead of just on one day?), and changed my mind.

Nevertheless, love is in the air here at French Laundry at Home, oh yes it is... and by that, of course, I mean my undying love for all of you who come back to this site day after day wondering what kind of monkey business I've gotten myself into.

So, as thanks for how lovely and sexy and hilarious and dedicated and devoted you all are, I've got a little somethin' for ya' -- a contest.

But this time, it's not about you voting for me! (shocker, I know) It's about me GIVING to YOU. And, it's also a little bit about you telling us all something about yourself, because I'm looking for the sweetest as well as the most awful Valentine's Day experiences you've ever had.

Here's how we'll do it:

Between now and 12 noon ET on Friday, February 15th, use the comments section to share your best and worst Valentine's Day experiences. On Tuesday, February 19, I'll choose and post the top three best Valentine's Day experiences and the top three worst Valentine's Day experiences, and then I'll put them to a vote. Readers will have until 12 noon ET on Thursday, February 21st to vote for who they think should win, and I'll post the winning stories on Friday, February 22nd.

Little admin note here: you've gotta include your URL or email address because I have to be able to verify your entry somehow. Use a pseudonym if you need to -- that's cool with me. But anyone who just posts as "Anonymous" with no way to find you will not be considered, no matter how great the story. Also? Be honest in your storytelling. I have a really good CrapDetector™ and nonsense will not be tolerated (but passive voice obviously just was).

"Um, Carol? Before I put myself out there and potentially humiliate myself with a heinous story of the time I had explosive diarrhea in a public place and then my girlfriend got drunk and puked all over me after the Valentine's Day dinner I prepared for her," you may be thinking, "are there any freakin' prizes?"


The ":::sigh::: That's So Sweet" Award for best Valentine's Day story will receive a copy of The Professional Chef (8th ed.), courtesy of Wiley Publishing.

The "Cuts Like a Knife" Award for worst Valentine's Day experience will receive a set of six Laguiole steak knives, courtesy of me.

So, comments are open, and we're all ready and waiting. Even my boyfriend Mike Bloomberg awaits your Valentine's Day stories with great hopefulness and Americanosity:

So dreamy.

Alright, enough already. Click on "Post a Comment," get to writing and enjoy! For additional contest rules and regulations, please see below:
Net 9 carbs per serving. Do not puncture or incinerate. Active ingredient: yams. This was not a little ditty ‘bout Jack and Diane. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before reading this, as it may interact with certain prescription drugs. 800-588-2300, Empiiiiiiiire. Carol™ is a registered trademark. For optimal results, apply to dry skin. Funds from deposits may not be available for immediate withdrawal. Items may contain traces of nuts. In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now heaven knows, anything goes. Please form one line to the left. Do not take if you are experiencing a persistent cough with heavy phlegm. No animals were harmed during the writing of this. Any similarities to a person or persons, living or dead, is not intentional. The statements contained herein may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens are not, nor have they ever been, a few of my favorite things. You may use this as an exfoliant or mask. Sale prices good through 2/15/08. 867-5309. If symptoms persist for two weeks, seek medical attention. Do not read this while operating heavy machinery. Do not use near open flame. All sales final. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Anonymous said...

I love the blog. you're hilarious. I wish I had a story to share!

Anyway, I've just made an attempt at a blog.
Check it out if you get a chance.

Christine said...

Hi Carol,
I also love your blog, especially since I sometimes I think I can almost smell your food out my window when I'm reading (I live in NW DC).
I actually do have pretty bad memories of Valentine's Day, although they're not too recent. For all seven years I spent at elementary school, I never once attended the class Valentine's Day party, I never got to pick up my huge Valentine's Day heart pocket filled with 30 or so valentines from my classmates, and I never got to overindulge in sugary chocolates and lollipops. This is because every single year, without fail, from ages four to eleven, I caught a horrible case of the flu on February 12th (I'm not kidding) and spent the next few days throwing up continuously. This may have given me bad romance-luck for the rest of my life; on the bright side, I saw seven consecutive years of the Westminster Dog Show...

Amanda said...

Okay, I'll play! This is a true story.

My Worst Valentine's Day Ever

I was divorced on Friday, February 13th, 1998.

The following day--Valentine's Day--probably should have been a day of freedom for me, but it wasn't. It was a day of mourning. Mourning for those dreams I'd had, the years wasted, the relationships forged for no reason--with his sister, his little nephew who knew me as his Auntie, and his sweet grandmother whom I loved dearly. Gone in one visit to the courthouse.

I'd planned to meet up with some friends in a local bar downtown for drinks to "celebrate," to lift my spirits some. But I just couldn't pull myself together enough to go. I was in deep misery.

I don't think there's really a way to describe that feeling that nothing will be right again.

So I didn't show up to meet my friends, and stayed in my little, empty apartment. Instead, I laid on the floor with piles of used-up tissues all around me. I embraced lonliness.

But what I didn't realize then was that it was actually a good day. A final day to feel all the disappointment of a bad relationship come to a ragged end. The cauterization of a bleeding, gaping wound. The first day to heal. And the first day of a happier life.

One month later I met someone.

One year later we were married.

Perhaps this isn't such a sad story, after all.

Anonymous said...

Worst: We met a few months earlier and discovered that we were both planning to move to the same town in another state. Crazy coincidence. As he was leaving a few months before I was, we continued our new relationship over the phone. Two months passed in this way and Valentine's Day came around. He calls - on Valentine's day - to break up with me! He's found someone else. Wha?! Dude...TIMING, hello?

I stick with my plan, move there anyway and forgive him, though keep my distance. He doesn't, however and because I was young and dumb, we get together again about a year later. He suggests we move in together and in the move we need to rent a car which turns out to be the last car available (we're in a tourist town at the height of the season) and it is a huge, bright red, Jeep Cherokee.

It's only at the end of the day that I realized that the reason that was the only car left is because it was Valentine's day, and while I was never a romantic girl, obviously - I didn't even realize what day it was - I must say I appreciate being appreciated by my lover, and at the risk of sounding sexist, I feel especially entitled as a woman to be recognized and appreciated for that fact by the man I am withmm, holiday or not.

As he never took the time to express that to me at all, at any time of the year, let alone a day devoted to giving otherwise thoughtless guys an out, even though he had two Valentine's day opportunity's, I left him two months later. (NOT because of that, though that might be sufficient cause to some, but for many other related reasons.) Duh! Live and learn...

Rachael Hutchings said...

I love this contest idea--so fun!

A couple of days before February 14, 2001 I got a call from a guy that I had been interested in. He called to see if I wanted to hang out at his place Valentine's Day evening (initial response, "Yes!"), pause ... for an anti-Valentine's Day evening. "What?!?" That evening was spent watching some stupid martial arts movie (I can remember now what it was) and eating pizza while he talked about how stupid Valentine's Day was. I was very happy to have the evening come to a close. I wasn't very interested in him after that. One year later on February 14, 2002 I spent the day with my fiancee (now hubby of almost 6 years), having a pro-Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

No story, but I just had to say... Empire Carpets? Chicago represent! :)

Rita said...

Hey, Mrs. W --

I married that guy, too!! (He really gets around). One year on Valentine's Day while we were still married -- and that's LOOOONNNGG over -- he came home and handed me an 8-Ball from a pool table (not the drug, kids, an ACTUAL 8-Ball).

I was speechless. What could the significance be, except that since I'm really bad at pool he probably really sucked at being married to me?

It all came together in a big, blue cosmic cough. And then I left him.

Sarah said...

What a great idea...I am in on the best story.

My best Valentines was two years ago. I hadn't started to date my boyfriend yet (that was still about two months away), but he was heavy in pursuit. We were having a fundraiser at work. For $5 you bought a small stuffed animal and balloons and then we would deliver it for you. When I was out of the office, he came over and ordered one for me. This was a HUGE deal, because at the time, I worked in an all female battalion (we are both U.S. Marines) and he hated to go over there by himself! He made his purchase and also added a card that he bought. My Marines said he looked very uneasy and nervous when he was there...very cute!

Valentines Day came and near the end of the day, my Valentine was delivered. However, my Marines had mistakenly delivered it to the Battalion Commanders house (that is my boss!). Once they realized their mistake, they went back and got it and brought it to me. When I told him about it later, he was horrified! Especially because my Battalion Commander had read the card.

I thought it was sweet that he had done that for me. But the best part was yet to come. On my way home that night, I was walking up to my apartment and saw something sticking out of the door. When I walked up to it, I realized it was a card. Another card from him. He had run by my house and left me a card. It sounds silly, but I had never felt so special as I ddi that day. To have him to go that little bit of trouble for me, it was great. It was at that point that I realized I was falling for him and like I said before, two months later we started dating. In April, we will have been together two years and they have been some of the best years ever.

Okay, I have to call him now and tell him I love him... :)

Amanda said...

Rita--an 8-ball? really?

Oh, they can be so clueless, can't they?


Who said that?

(Please forgive that bit of ex-husband angst, people. I love men, I really do. Nothing against men as a whole. Just one particular man.)

Hope said...

I am not a big fan of Valentine's Day. I feel I am far too cool to be celebrating a mundane Hallmark holiday. However, a few years ago my husband asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I scoffed. He asked again, so I told him that I needed some socks, white socks of the athletic variety. He rolled his eyes, and I assumed that was the end of the discussion.
Fast forward to V-Day. I come home from work where I am greeted by said hubby who is having trouble disguising his amusement. I enter our bedroom and perched atop our dresser is a large crystal vase filled with SOCK FLOWERS. He took athletic socks, rolled them into the shape of a rose and attached them to skewers. I could not stop laughing. Then I could not stop crying! His creativity and sense of humor put an end to my Valentine's Day cynicism.
Best Valentine's Day Ever!!

Melissa said...

My contribution for best Valentine's Day:

My husband and I have never been big fans of eating out on Valentine's Day, especially in New York, becase (1) it's impossible to get a reservation unless you plan a month in advance, (2) most restaurants insist on serving overpriced (and underwhelming) prix fixe menus, and (3) the rookies all come out to eat that night.

So one year when we were still dating, we decided to avoid the V-Day restaurant trap and instead cobbled together an evening at some of our favorite New York spots that don't make most Valentine's Day short-lists.

We started off at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. We sat at the bar and slurped down dozens of oysters and a couple of martinis. No waits, and no prix fixe.

Then we moved on to Bowlmor where we bowled a few games. I can't say that my bowling was steller that night (probably the lingering effect of the martinis), but the place was practically empty, a rarity to be sure.

Finally, we capped off the night with a pizza and a pitcher of beer at John's of Bleecker Street. John's is not only our favorite pizza, but also the site of one of our first dates. We didn't have to wait for either a table or a pizza, and spent the rest of the evening congratulating ourselves on planning the perfect Valentine's Day.

Tina said...

Hi, I'm a long-time reader of the blog and figured I would get in on the V-day action. Let's see, best story:

Back in high school, the lacrosse team would hold a Valentine's day fundraiser so they could send their team to spring training camp in Florida. (You can tell my school was swimming in money.) Their schtick was selling single roses for intended recipients, and ultimately it turned out to be a giant popularity contest: the more roses you had, the cooler you were. Tables in the lunch room during Valentine's Day were swarming with people who came to pick up one, ten, or forty roses. I didn't get many roses throughout high school. It, like, totally crushed my psyche.

During senior year, I started dating Charles and through the months, became deeply committed to each other. I didn't know exactly how committed, though, until Valentine's day that year. He met me in the crowded, rose-perfumed lunchroom with a large paper bag in his arms. "I didn't want to buy you roses that are going to die," he proclaimed, and reached into the bag.

Inside was a perfect, potted orchid with four blooms.

I proudly toted my orchid to the table and ate lunch, getting a few envious stares and a whole bunch of "Awwww, that's so sweet"s. I've taken good care of it since--it's sitting on my windowsill at college in New Orleans while Charles is at school in California, and needless to say, we're still together.

Anonymous said...

My husband proposed on Valentine's Day. He was going in the Navy adn when he came home from boot camp in June we got married. The next Valentine's Day we were dead broke, living in an almost empty apartment (dumpster furniture and a rented bed)and had no money for much of a "date". I decided to cook a special dinner. When we got married my cooking abilities were nil so anything past tuna casserole was a challenge (and in 1977 anything past tuna casserole was gourmet). I made beef stroganoff (with very cheap beef) and for dessert made the famous Philly cheesecake with condensed milk and lemon juice, a packaged crust, canned cherry pie filling and canned whipped cream. I thought I was the cat's ass. I look back on us sitting at our formica table, with the February in Illinois wind whipping thru the apartment and eating our candlelit dinner (with the bottle of Mateus rose) and think god it was great to be 20.

amber said...

such a cute contest. alright, i'll play:

i've celebrated many valentine's days over the years, but one in particular, really stands out. i had been dating my boyfriend for about 5 months before feb. 14th, 2001 rolled around. i was taking the whole thing quite slow as i'd just come out of a long relationship that had had a really crappy ending.

valentine's day rolls around and my boyfriend decides we should cook together. keep in mind, i'm still in college, he has just graduated and is living with 2 other guys in an apartment and the kitchen supplies were mediocre at best. and yet, he pulled several recipes from epicurious and we started to make dinner: lamb with mint jelly, pasta with red wine sauce and some sort of glazed vegetable. we literally had no idea what we were doing. but we were having a lot of fun... until we got to the part where you're supposed to add the red wine to the pasta sauce. um, cast iron + alcohol = very bad idea. :/ the flames that came off that skillet almost reached the ceiling. i was squealing to the point where only dogs could hear me. yup, i almost set his kitchen on fire. awesome.

thankfully, he managed to keep a level head about him and contained the flames before it really got out of hand. the rest of the dinner was pretty uneventful after that. cooking together was such a sweet gesture and it was so different that how i'd spent any other v-day.

the, over dessert, we managed to get into a bit of an argument about why i wouldn't just let my guard down and trust him and fall in love with him already. neither of us like confrontation, but the next several hours were pretty tense. great way to end valentine's day, huh? and then something changed. i realized i couldn't keep inadvertantly blaming my current boyfriend for my past boyfriend's issues.

so, we had a long talk. i started to open up that night and while i won't say everything got solved in one evening, it was a good first step for me to start letting my guard down and really opening up to him.

i guess you could say that in the end, it all worked out pretty well. he went away to law school at the end of the year and we kept up a long distance relationship for 3 years. we got engaged over the summer in 2004 and were married the following fall. while we've had many v-days together since, it's still that first one that is the most memorable.

Marcy Robb said...

OK, so rewind to a year ago this week...putting the finishing touches on an "Un-Valentines" party that I'd planned with a few friends that somehow got written up on the FRONT PAGE of the local paper a few days prior and then people were coming out of the woodwork wanting to come and I spent ALL WEEK COOKING and doing other miscellaneous prep work and we get to the bar (that a friend managed) hours before to get everything set up and there's a drunk derelict passed out in front of the poker machine and OOPS, the furnace has blown and the landlord is nowhere to be found and it's freezing cold outside and snowing, to boot, and OH! Did I mention that I have walking pneumonia and every time I try to talk I cough until bits of lung spatter all my companions?

It went downhill from there (heh)...I know a lot of folks had a great time that night but all I remember is the shots of tequila my "friends" (again, heh) kept buying me regardless of the fact that I was too sick to eat, let alone DRINK, let alone drink TEQUILA, and the passing out in a corner under a pile of coats and then waking up and doing the mad dash to the vomitorium...

Yep, that's me, the hostess with the mostess!

(I am hopeful for this year as I'm just planning a nice quiet meal at home with the beau and my daughter and NO TEQUILA)

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a contest, but the only good story I've got is more suited for Penthouse. If you have read Lawrence Block's Small Town, think Susan Pomerance in a French Resturant. With my now ex wife.

Anonymous said...

First of all, your contest rules and regulations aren't complete. I see nothing about a possible toenail fungus. There's always the possiblity of a toenail fungus.

Secondly, I don't know if I have an entry or not. None of the many February 14ths that I've had stand out to me. I can't pinpoint anything, good or bad. I guess that's pretty sad.

On the other hand, my son brought me a card that he made in school yesterday. The red construction paper, lacy doily-esque hearts and glue drips aren't my favorite part. It says: "Dear mom, thaks for all you do for me!!!?! Hapy Valentines Day!?! I Luve You! Luve, [first middle last name]".

That's my favorite part.

Liz said...

What a great idea for a contest!

My husband and I were engaged when he got into law school in New Orleans. We arrived there and moved in just two weeks before Hurricane Katrina. When the storm hit, we had to leave everything and evacuate.
After months of being displaced and having to find temporary work, we were able to get back to our house in January. We tried to pick up the pieces and make do in a destroyed city. My husband's class had to make up their whole first year in just one semester... needless to say, it was one of the most stressful years of our lives.
It was so hard to find a job in New Orleans when we came back, so I took a position as a legal secretary, which turned out to be a thankless, emotionally exhausting job (I worked for extremely mean, unpleasant people). I was sad to realize that I was going to have to work on Valentine's Day, and I learned that it was going to be a particularly brutal day - multiple filings. I went to sleep as usual the night before, and he stayed up later than I did (which was pretty standard, since he had to study).
When I woke up the next morning and went downstairs to get my coffee, I opened the fridge and saw that he had stayed up late making dozens of homemade chocolate truffles for me. He had spent all that time doing something so lovely for me, even though he was stressed from school. I almost cried right then and there. He woke up and hugged me, and he and I had a wonderful breakfast of truffles together.

Liz said...

What a great idea for a contest!

My husband and I were engaged when he got into law school in New Orleans. We arrived there and moved in just two weeks before Hurricane Katrina. When the storm hit, we had to leave everything and evacuate.
After months of being displaced and having to find temporary work, we were able to get back to our house in January. We tried to pick up the pieces and make do in a destroyed city. My husband's class had to make up their whole first year in just one semester... needless to say, it was one of the most stressful years of our lives.
It was so hard to find a job in New Orleans when we came back, so I took a position as a legal secretary, which turned out to be a thankless, emotionally exhausting job (I worked for extremely mean, unpleasant people). I was sad to realize that I was going to have to work on Valentine's Day, and I learned that it was going to be a particularly brutal day - multiple filings. I went to sleep as usual the night before, and he stayed up later than I did (which was pretty standard, since he had to study).
When I woke up the next morning and went downstairs to get my coffee, I opened the fridge and saw that he had stayed up late making dozens of homemade chocolate truffles for me. He had spent all that time doing something so lovely for me, even though he was stressed from school. I almost cried right then and there.
Since then, every Valentine's Day he stays up late and makes homemade chocolate truffles for me to discover when I wake up the next morning, and we have a wonderful breakfast of truffles together!

Anonymous said...

How fun and romantic. Here's our entry, but don't know which category it falls in.

The worst Valentines for both of us was February 14,1996 (we had not met at this point), when we were not with anyone at the time and each of us spent it alone. But the best part of that was that when met each other in a coffee shop on Feb.15 ( the next day). He asked me how my Valentines day was (his "oh so clever pick up line"). I answered "boring and alone", and he knew I was available and asked me out. Since then, it's been Valentines ever since. Awwwww, so cheesy cute!

It's Ok if this doesn't qualify, it was fun to share.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a story to contribute (what can I say, I lead a boring life), but I wanted to let you know I think these are great prizes. My sister has that book, and I lust after it regularly.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the thoroughness of your contest rules (despite the omission of toenail fungus potential)though I don't recall seeing something about "Your results may vary".

I have a worst Valentine's Day story from several years ago:

At the time, I was dating a truly horrible person though of course I'd failed to realize it yet. I'm not much of one for Valentine's Day gifts or celebrations, but in trying to get into the spirit of an intense "romantic" relationship, I bought him a little gift. It was his favorite cologne and it came with some cheesy Valentine's gift-with-purchase. I got his roommate to let me in his room that day, since I wouldn't be seeing him until the following day, and left the gift, along with a card, on his bed. I was feeling somewhat smug and proud of myself, thinking I had made this nice, romantic gesture, buying him something I knew he wanted but wouldn't buy for himself, etc etc.

So imagine my surprise when I got a phone call late that night when he got home from work, YELLING at me for buying him a gift. He screamed and cursed about what a horrible and mean person I was. In his best I'm-a-creep-and-loser fashion, he tried to make me feel guilty for buying him a gift!! His reasoning? He hadn't bought me a gift. He apparently thought he couldn't afford to, and my buying him something when he couldn't buy something for me was a sign that I clearly felt I was superior to him and was rubbing his face in it. No, I'm not making this up.

Needless to say, we broke up over my heinous infraction, after which I came to my senses and realized that I was, in fact, superior to him and he didn't deserve me. I have since reverted to my minimalist approach to Valentine's Day, thank you very much.

Unknown said...

My worst Valentine's Day was so bad we permanently reassigned Valentine’s Day to the 15th of February.

"D" and I had reservations for the best restaurant in town at 8 pm. It was our second Valentine's day and he had made reservation weeks beforehand.

On the day before Valentine's Day, my ex-boyfriend “J” had his label deliver a box of cds, etc. to my office so he could pick them up that day on his way to the next show on his tour.

J was delayed and did not make it into town until Valentine's Day.

Finally, an hour before our reservation, J called and said they had just hit the city limits and asked me to meet them in a record store parking lot just off the interstate.

They were only 10 minutes away and I could easily make it there and back long before our reservation.

D decided to drive me, and we made it with plenty of time to spare.

And then waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally, the bus arrived with only minutes to spare for our coveted reservation. My ex J came out with his entire entourage to apologize oh-so-sincerely to D for the hiccup in our plans.

J then, in a continuation of the disrespect for D and our relationship, handed me a wad of cash for the inconvenience of ruining our night.

We missed our reservation and could not get in anywhere else.

As a result, we permanently moved all Valentine’s Day celebrations to the 15th.

We also never spoke of it again. and we remained together for many years thereafter, always celebrating on the 15th.

pdxblogmommy said...

You GO Velvet! Why no join us for ELVIS STOJKO DAY?? After all, that's what Feb. 14 is all about, doesn't EVERYONE know that?

P.S. Melissa, your Valentine's date almost exactly matches many evenings I had when I lived in NYC many moons ago. Complete with being at bowlmor when it was a rare empty moment. John's Pizza is the BEST. I'm homesick.

Alice Q. Foodie said...

I once went on a first date with a guy on Valentine's Day, and we really hit it off. Little did I know it was the beginning of a horrendous ordeal.

A few months later, I found out that he had a baby with another woman he had dated before me that he claimed not to know about. (He was being sued for child support.) He was also still dating someone else who he'd been seeing for two years - during the entire time he dated the woman with whom he had the child - and he cheated on me with yet a third woman while we were dating.

After I broke up with him (duh!) He got arrested and had his license suspended for DUI, then borrowed my car and drove it on a suspended license and got it impounded. He also got himself arrested and thrown in jail for two weeks for getting in a fight at a baseball game. There are other things I don't even want to go into. The guy was basically a sociopath.

It seems things went even further downhill for him after I left town. The last time I saw him was on the Contra Costa County Sherriff's Department, with "APPREHENDED" written across his face.

I shit you not.

Anonymous said...

Three years ago, my husband proposed. He had the ring all ready to go and reservations at my favorite restaurant. However, it was too well planned, my job got in the way. I am an athletic trainer at a high school, Valentine's Day always fall during a tournament week and our girl's basketball team made to the finals on the night which we had reservations, and the boy's team had a game that afternoon. We moved the reservations, but he wanted to give me the ring, so we got engaged at the kitchen table in my 90 minute break while I am wearing our school colors watching the clock. The restaurant was fabulous when we went on Monday, he tried so hard, but it was typical of everything I have ever tried on Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any best or worst stories, but I'm enjoying reading the posts. Just want to wish everyone a happy day tomorrow--and every day, for that matter. Here's to good company and good food for all.

Anonymous said...

Your gift offer reminded me of this ode to Languiole from Chocolate & Zucchini, it's like a Valentines to knife-makers:

My worst V-Day was the year I did the dumping. A week before the day, I came to the conclusion that after a couple months of dating it would not work out, but I realized that V-Day was about a week away, and I was not going to dump her right before then. We went out on the Saturday that was two days before Valentines, which fell on a Monday when I had a night class. Monday comes. 8:00 am, I leave a nice, but slightly restrained card in her mailslot. 9:30 am Monday, I get a job offer in another town that I was thrilled about (she knew about the possibility). 10:30 I get an email from her that includes a poem she wrote about me. I write back saying thank you, but I'm sure she was expecting more. Late that night I call and say thank you again for the poem and explain that I got the job. She congratulates me and I was hoping to leave it at that. In my head was a chanting choir: Do not dump her on Valentines. I almost manage to finish the call when she asks, "so where does that leave us?" ARRGGHHH. I fudge a little and say that it has been a crazy day and I have to sort things out, but she understands that if the answer is good, no sorting out is needed. We have the talk a few days later when she gets back from travelling.

I have always felt like a schmuck for that.

The best was the night I met Mike Bloomberg at a bar in Chelsea and woke up the next morning in his immense apartment being served warm bread and hot coffee... or maybe that was just a dream.

Anonymous said...

OK, it isn't Valentines Day, but it is the reason we don't bother much with Valentines Day.

Valentines Day 1980, I spent alone in my house. Well not totally alone, I did have a 4 year old boy. His mother and I had had a major fight, on the phone, just before Xmas. So serious that it would be 12 years before we spoke again. I probably spent the evening working on my house which was an 1881 Park Slope Brooklyn brown stone in serious need of work, at least all the walls now had sheetrock on one side.

My social life was centered around musical theater and I was the Technical Director of the Village Light Opera Groups ( Spring production of Offenbach's The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein. The deal was I would be TD and work the set sessions on Saturdays and they would supply babysitter, although he did help with painting.

It is now 2 days after Valentines Day.

So I was fairly grubby and he was filthy, when I went to yet another theatrical groups 'recruitment' party. The hostess/producer knew what many of us had been doing and had no trouble with the work clothing, after all she was looking for crew herself. I would be the lighting designer/Master electrician.

I happened to notice an attrative woman talking to our hostess and being opertunistic wandered over and joined the conversation. You think I was doing the theater only for the theater? Musical theater also has chorus girls, lots of chorus girls.

In any case this woman is complaining to the hostess about people who come to partys like this, dump their kid and let them run wild. She had just taken a coat hanger away from some small blond boy and two little girls (daughers of the Soprano) were wrestling on stage.

The woman has often commented since, that she should have kept her mouth shut about the kid, as she ended up raising him.

Liz said...

The worst one that stands out in my mind is the boyfriend who gave me a Fry Daddy for Valentine's Day. I had never fried food for him. I rarely, if ever, eat fried food aside from french fries. And yet, here was a Fry Daddy. (A month later I dumped him. Two months later, when he figured out that I was serious and I had really dumped him, he turned up drunk and crying on my doorstep. I definitely made the right decision.)

The best one is my husband. Our first married Valentine's Day, he gave me a really cute card about how much better his life was now that we were married. It had a caveman on it. The next year, he gave me the same card. I got out the one from the year prior and he said, "Huh. I thought it looked familiar." (No, he really didn't remember.) The third year, he gave me the same card again, this time on purpose. "Our card" isn't always there every year and he refuses to buy one in advance, but every now and then it reappears and makes me feel wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo, pdxblogmommy! You know I love me some men with mullets, especially if they're wearing stretchy pants and spangly tops.

Jaime said...

i don't really like VDay either. i don't have any good stories to share (cute contest though!)

you've been tagged! :)

ab said...

Great contest, and I'd love that SWEET cookbook, but, no good stories to share - ya know, being the jaded, divorced bitca that I am.

I just had to comment to say, that of your list at the end - "little ditty bout Jack and Diane", and "867-5309" both touch a place in my "slightly" old musical heart. :D

You rock!

ab said...

And, I don't know how I missed it the first time, but!

You're really ragging on "my favorite things"????!!!!!

Loren Shlaes said...

the last time i celebrated valentine's day, it was with my former boyfriend, who {after getting quite an earful after failing to buy me a birthday gift the previous summer} had the requisite dozen long stemmed roses delivered, and forked over a box of maison du chocolat truffles {dark, his favorite, although he knew very well that i prefer milk}. as i was putting the flowers in a vase, he asked, so did i do enough? which made me want to hurl the vase, the roses, and the chocolates at his hateful, selfish, clueless head. i still wish i had.

Anonymous said...

Best Valentine's Day: I started dating someone a month before the big day. He hadn't really mentioned anything about plans, and finally when pressed said he wasn't sure if he'd be around. My friend had just broken up her boyfriend of a year and was totally bummed anyways, so I told the guy to forget about hanging out if he would be around and set something up with her. We bought gourmet take n bake pizzas from the specialty store down the street, 2 bottles of wine (1 each you know), and one of those huge bars of chocolate from Trader Joe's. We watched chick flicks and exchanged cheesy Valentine's cards. When the guy ended up calling, and asking me to come over I didn't want to leave (and I was sorta intoxicated to boot). I've had some nice Vdays with other guys, but had the most fun just hanging out with a good friend.'s someone I love!

Worst Valentine's Day: A roommate of mine had started dating the roommate of someone I was dating. As it turned out, for V-day, he brought over roses for her, and bad news for me. Yuck....

Maggiesara said...

Ah, I do love this blog....

The worst Valentine's Day I had was the year I was 18. It should have been a good day: I had arranged to look at an apartment that I desperately wanted to rent, and I had a late-afternoon coffee-date planned with a guy I had met the week before, and about whom I had high hopes.

I went to the apartment. I loved the apartment. It was in the neighborhood I wanted, it was within my price range, it was clean, it was sunny. I wanted the apartment. I raced around town getting a cashier's check for the first 3 months' rent, getting my mother's co-signature on the lease (give me a break; I was a college freshman), and then dashing over to the real estate agent's office.

At which point I was told that the owner of the apartment had decided to rent it to his nephew.

The real estate agent's office was under construction, and after I left I realized I had gotten something in my eye. I rubbed and rinsed and rubbed and rinsed, but it kept getting worse. Finally, I went to the hospital emergency room, which was full of people who had been gutshot, or whose noses were held on with duct tape. Me, I had something in my eye. I was not popular in the waiting room. After about 3 hours they managed to remove the piece of plaster dust that had embedded itself in my cornea.

There were no cell phones at the time, but I did manage to call the restaurant where I was due to meet Mr. Right, and explain that I was stuck at the hospital. I got there about an hour late, and -- what a prince! -- he had waited for me. He bought me a glass of wine. Life was good. And then he told me that he was married, that he and his wife were looking for a mistress that they could both share, and that they had decided I was the girl for them.

I spent the evening eating popcorn and watching "Now, Voyager" with my mother.

RMF said...

Carol... Here's my story, and after all these years I'm finally not ashamed to tell it...
It's 1985, I'm 28 and have fallen in love with a woman 12 years my senior. I'm closer in age to here daughter than her. I'm nuts, of course.
Valentine's Day that year is Thursday, and we went out to dinner. I've decided to propose, but since it's a work night and we've already planned on going away for the weekend Friday, I decide that'll be the day. Doing in on VD would be just plain too darned schmaltzy anyway.
Friday comes, we leave after work, and have dinner. I'm really nervous and don't say much at dinner. We go to a B & B in Bolinas (Marin County, CA), and at a delicate moment (considering my mental state it's no small wonder that I even got to that point), I ask "Do you think I'll make a good husband?" Those are my exact words, and you can see how I oh so subtly hedged the bet. She of course saw right through that and said yes. Yes. Yes.
The next morning at breakfast I of course had a whole new outlook on life. That's my story, and twenty two years later it's still very fresh and as unforgettable as ever.

Anna Banana said...

Let's see...25 years ago more or less. Best and worst. Something about house-sitting in Marin county. Redwood hot tub. Lamb chops. What passed for good red wine at the time. Little yellow flowers on white cotton sheets. Enjoying a new love all night until the sun came up. Realizing soon after that I was pregnant with someone else's baby. Slutty times.

Erika said...

Best Valentine's ever, my husband (boyfriend at the time) made lobster & gorgonzola pizzas inspired by the awesome Sega game Pizza Tycoon, and we stayed up all night & played Earthworm Jim while drinking NV Perrier Jouet. True story.

Worst ever unfortunately was that my mom passed away on Valentine's Day 2 years ago.

Unknown said...

Let's see...first Valentine's Day with my Sweetie of eight months. She hands me a small, beautifully wrapped box...a necklace perhaps?How sweet, I think. With much anticipation I unwrap the box, remove the lid and lift up the gauze to find...a brass corkscrew. Not just any brass corkscrew, mind you. A corkscrew with a handle in the shape of Cupid, urinating. The screw itself formed the stream of "urine".
To say that I was rendered speechless would be a gross understatement. I'm happy to say the we recovered from the "corkscrew incident" as this has been known as ever since, and are still together 12 years later.

Melissa said...

ooh, ooh, can i have multiple entries? here's what we did today, which i think could qualify as "best" for me, or, more likely, "worst" on behalf of my husband.....

Courtney said...

My worst Valentine's day ever was last year. At aproximately 1am on February 13th I felt sick. 5 hours later (and God only knows how many trips to the bathroom) I really thought I was going to die. I had not been this sick in over a decade and the fact that I could feel where my kidneys were and I couldn't even keep the smallest sip of water down made me wonder how long I could go without having to go to the ER.

I had been dating a guy for about 6 months. He was really great so far, but I wasn't sure if I should call him. Finally at 7am I caved, called him and woke him up, crying about how sick I was. He told me he would come over and check on me. So about 45 minutes later he shows up at the door with a few bottles of Sprite and Gatorade, some Saltine crackers, and a basket of old 80s movies and an original Nintendo. Love, right?

He also immediately threw this stuff on the floor when he walked into my apartment and bee-lined for the bathroom. He, alas, had also contracted this gut wrenching illness. I pulled the sofa bed out and we continued to be sick and miserable together for the next 48 hours, napping, watching the Westminster dog show, and doing shots of Gatorade out of some old St. Patrick's Day shot glasses a friend had given me.

By the second day, we were able to hold small amounts of food down, but nothing complex. I had to have a coworker drop off some soup and jello cups for sustenance. She handed them through the door and I never saw her face. She didn't want to get sick and I don't blame her.

So our first Valentine's day dinner consisted of chicken and stars and cherry jello.

We're still together and if any good could come out of it, it was that our infirm time together helped him realize that he loved me. I mean, you can't be that sick and disgusting in front of just *anyone* right?

Hillary said...

I got nothin'. :) But I am spending today trapped in Charlotte airport with two of my colleagues...all plans or non-plans for the evening are moot as we won't get home until after midnight.

But happy Vday, y'all -- and thanks for making the time pass a bit faster.