How I Became a Valentine’s Day Cynic

February 10th, 2012 · 12 Comments · Baking and Sweets, Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations

My first boyfriend in high school was so dreamy. He made me mixed tapes that introduced me to exotic artists like Steve Miller Band and Crosby Stills and Nash and Dan Fogelberg. When he wrote me letters, they were in all upper case — BECAUSE EVERYTHING I SAY IS IMPORTANT! he explained. He was different from the quarterbacks my friends crushed on, seemingly hailing from another, cooler era — wearing plaid pants to the prom, calling hot dogs “scorched poochies,” and saying over and over in between drags of his Marlboros that he was “mad about me.” He called me “Rosie” and, in writing, addressed me as his “Brown-Eyed Girl.” I was so crazy about him, and subsequently that song, that I recorded it on one side of a tape six times in a row so I could stare dreamily at my bedroom ceiling without having to get up to press rewind on the cassette player I shared with my sister. (You can imagine how my sister felt about him and his Van Morrison.)

Then Valentine’s Day arrived. Or, I should say, the day before Valentine’s Day arrived. We were on the phone, the cord coiled around my fingers, talking about the Dead coming to town that summer, when he said he had to go. “Oh, Rosie? One more thing.”

Yes?

“I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day…Cool?”

Oh yes. Cool. Of course, Cool. Yes. Yes.

We hung up, I pressed play on my Peter Cetera compilation, crawled into bed and wept. (more…)

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Chocolate Moose

February 10th, 2011 · 23 Comments · Baking and Sweets

I never go to Paris — haven’t been there since way back in the 20th century, when Andy and I stayed in a friend’s 300-year-old apartment in the Sixth. (Even just writing that sentence I worry about how unsophisticated I sound: Did I phrase it wrong? Is that how people say it? “The Sixth?” Am I going to lose whatever credibility I have left in the food world — or at least with Orangette – by admitting this?) But the good news is that somehow I always know someone who is going to Paris. Just in the last year: my friend Yolanda, who maintains it’s the world’s best city for kids; my friend Juli, who took her daughter there to celebrate her 12th birthday; and my friend Laurie who let Phoebe and Abby babysit her chihuahua-terrier mix Violet, while she spent the week eating saucisson in the Third. Why is this good news for me? Because all of them were nice enough to honor my request and make a pitstop at le supermarche to pick up a bar of this unassuming looking bar of Nestle chocolate. It’s 52% cacao, un-Google-able Stateside, and has a recipe for the world’s best chocolate mousse — or “moose” as Phoebe spells it — right on the wrapper. My friend Simone (another lucky duck!) was the one to turn me on to it. And so, as much as I’d like to be strolling through Luxembourg Gardens this Valentine’s Day, hand-in-hand with mon amour, this dessert will just have to do. (more…)

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