Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day – Gluten-free of course

I love Valentine’s Day, not for the cards or candy OR flowers (though you can't go wrong with these gifts) but for the memories the day conjures up from childhood. I specifically remember carefully writing out all of my Valentine’s cards for everyone in my third grade classroom, coloring red hearts and sticking glitter everywhere. Then the fun part was dropping them off into the little “heart pockets” that every student in class created and taped to the sides of their desks. Then came the joy of opening each card and eating sugar cookies with Red-Hot hearts and cream-cheese frosting – I can still taste their sugary goodness, and oh, the smell of a fresh baked sugar cookie. Happiness.

Being a Celiac on Valentine’s Day can be just as enjoyable and hopefully a bit more romantic, now that I’m all grown up, well almost. I do have some very lovely V-day memories in my mind and heart that warm my soul. It’s just such a great day to share some love and joy with all those you know and care most about. But this year I got to thinking about the history of this lover’s day and assumed it must have been born from the romance of Italy somehow, and I was right...leave it to the Italians (of course) or one Italian, to be exact, to be the muse of this lovely holiday, shared by many all around the world.

A little history – who was Saint Valentine?

Saint Valentine is the patron saint of affianced couples, happy marriages, lovers, travelers and young people, amongst other things. Scholars believe that he was a priest in Rome, even possibly a bishop. Legend has it that he was imprisoned for aiding martyrs in prison. While he was imprisoned he converted the jailer, and restored the sight of his young daughter, to which he was then released. Another opinion is that St. Valentine was himself a Roman martyr for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.

In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. There are many theories about the origin of the Valentine’s celebrations. The first being that the Romans had a mid-February custom in which boys drew girl’s names in honor of the sex and fertility goddess, Februata Juno. In order to suppress this practice, pastors “baptized” these pagan holidays with the names of saints, such as Valentine.

Another belief is that birds began to pair up on February 14th, and by 1477 the English associated lovers with the feast of Valentine because on that day “every bird chooses him a mate.”

Isn’t that fun?!

So I must share another special event happening for me this week...I just finished writing my first article for Living Without magazine’s June/July issue! I’m so excited to be affiliated with such a great publication, dedicated to Celiacs and people living with allergies and food sensitivities. If you haven’t picked up a copy or subscribed to this publication, you really should for your own health and good.

The editing process still must take place, but I found great liberation and passion in writing about something that’s the essence of who I am – and has so shaped my life. Writing is a true joy, when you are able to express something that’s near and dear to your heart. If I could, I would be writing full-time, all of the time...one day soon, I hope.

I’ll let you know when my story will be hitting the newsstands and provide a link. I can hardly wait, but on the other hand I’m also quite nervous about putting my words out there, in glossy print for all to see.

Since being diagnosed as a Celiac, I’m meticulously careful about what kinds of chocolate/sweets I will put into my mouth, but I will tell you that this weekend I’m planning to indulge in a bar (or two) of wonderful Dagoba chocolate that is gluten-free and organic. I have a lavender bar with my name all over it. Mmmmmm

Enjoy this beautiful day of love and make sure you read all of the ingredients carefully of any delicious sweets you are about to consume...

Saint Valentine’s Day should be about love and eating wonderful food, not being sick!

Buon San Valentino per lei!


Stacy said...

If you are ever in Seattle, you'll have to check out Flying Apron Bakery - all gluten free and delicious.

Darrah said...

I often think back to my childhood as well... It's such an innocent and sweet moment in my mind. I never wanted to give boys I liked too forward of a Princess Valentine. Just a sucker. :0)

Anonymous said...

Love the history about St. Valentines Day. I love that picture of you! Have a wonderful day!

Rachel said...

What a great blog. Thanks for letting me know about it and I loved this little bit of history about Mr. St. Valentine! I'm adding your blog to my list of 101+ GF blogs at the Crispy Cook.

All the best to you in future bloggery.