I think it’s fair to say that Valentine’s Day belongs to women and children; well, I forgot, men are also the beneficiaries of heartfelt tokens of love on that day—such as cozy breakfasts in bed, romantic evening suppers, and lacy red teddies worn on bodies coated with scented oil. Hmmn…now that I think about it, Valentine’s Day might be more for men, than it is for women, or children; everybody knows, when a woman loves a man, nobody can outdo her when it comes to creating ways to show him. I know a woman right now, whose house is in foreclosure because she’s using most of her paycheck to finance her lover’s high-rolling lifestyle. ( I’ll save that conversation for another post: Women Who Do Foolish Things To Keep A Man). But you know what I mean; a woman’s heart is wired to look for ways to communicate love to the people she cares for.
Over the years, I’ve experienced some sweet Valentine days, replete with roses and chocolates, baubles and trinkets. I’ve had some Valentine’s Day crying spells, too. That was before I understood that a man can show his love in a variety of ways. Love isn’t always bought and wrapped inside a pretty package with a bow. Sometimes, it mows the lawn or digs the bed for the shrubbery or takes the car to the shop to be detailed. Sometimes, love
meets you in the driveway and helps carry in the groceries or stands by
your side keeping you company, while you put them away. Sometimes, love doesn’t do any of those things; all it does is pay the bills that keep the roof over your head.
One of my most cherished Valentine’s Day memories is of a day when I was eight years old and homebound due to a cold. At one point, Mama came into my bedroom and set a saucer of chocolates, a mug of homemade hot chocolate, and a new book, The Best Loved Doll, on my nightstand. “Happy Valentine’s Day. This’ll cheer you up,” she said. All these years later, that one little nicety still cheers me when I think about it. Sometimes, spices, love is hidden inside the details. You might look out your window and see the flower truck in your neighbor’s driveway, but just because she’s getting flowers, that doesn’t mean she’s loved.
You can spoil a man with this. When he comes in from a cold and snowy day, there’s nothing more inviting than a cup of real hot chocolate; it’s much more decadent than the powdery mix that comes in a tin can.
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar to taste
6 ounces good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Whipped cream (optional)
In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream over medium heat until it simmers: about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla, sugar, and chocolate pieces. Whisk until the ingredients are well-blended and the chocolate is completely melted; about 2 minutes. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if you want to add a little more flavor and flair. And if you really want to say something, make the whipped cream from scratch.
Makes about 4 servings