I’m not one of those singles who gets all bitter and surly on Valentine’s Day. Nope, I’m bitter and surly pretty much every day. That said, February 14 can be a bit wearing for those of us without a partner. Once, while doing research for a presentation to a church youth group on being single (I’m the go-to in the parish for an example of being “called to a life of chastity.” Yay me.), I discovered a statistic that 99.4% of all human beings will “form a pair-bond” at some point in their lives.
Well, that’s discouraging. So who are those other five people? Is there a club T-shirt?
Honestly, I’m perfectly content with my solo life at least 99.4% of the time. Yet, despite my mom once telling her lady friends, “Keri just isn’t interested in men” – words that perhaps conveyed a very different impression than she intended – I am in fact a hopeless romantic. Occasionally my heart has yearned toward some actual person: there was the boy I pined for all through high school (I have a he-didn’t-ask-me-to-prom story more anguished and tragic than anything in one of those sparkly vampire movies); a professional pianist who was almost certainly in the closet; my former chiropractor, who I paid for sassy banter, rather than actual treatment; a theatre major from grad school (OMG, he was a dissolute cad); and a few others even more mortifying. All were, of course, unrequited.
Mostly, though, I have always gotten my cheap thrills from ‘shipping fictional couples. Indeed, I can trace the course of my life by the TV lovers I was obsessed with at the time. How many of these do you recognize?
- Anne & Gilbert (young Canadians in love!)
- Elizabeth & Darcy (young Colin Firth in love!)
- Laura & Remington (young private investigators in love!)
- Lee & Amanda (young spies in love!)
- Jack & Jennifer (young journalists in love!)
- Rose & Ten (800-year-old Time Lord and age-inappropriate companion in love!)
- Kid & Lou (young cowboys in love! Note: These were not Brokeback Mountain cowboys; Lou was a girl)
- Sheridan & Delenn (young-ish cross-species diplomats in love!)
- Mulder & Scully (young alien hunters in love!)
- Connor & Abby (young dinosaur-fighters in love!)
- Bob & Peggy (senior citizen bed-and-breakfast owners in love!)
Based on what I hear from the coupled people around me at work, these vicarious fictional relationships are at least as satisfying as the real thing. So this Sunday, while 99.4% of you will be pretending to be having a good time with your bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolates and candlelit dinners and wild, passionate sex, I will be curled up on the couch with my cats, my DVD collection and these:
Lava-Me-Alone Valentine Heart Cakes (adapted from this recipe)
Tastefully Simple Truffle Fudge Brownie Mix
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
½ cup TS Creamy Caramel Sauce, Raspberry Divine Sauce, Sea Salt Fudge Sauce or some other gooey sweet stuff. I chose Raspberry Divine Sauce (no longer available) because it has been in the pantry longest)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk eggs and egg yolks until foamy. Add brownie mix and melted butter; mix until blended. Fold in sauce. Pour into heart-shaped mini-cake pans (alternately muffin tins or ramekins with paper liners), about ¾ full. Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges are set and centers are slightly dry but still jiggly. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes, then carefully remove cakes pan. Sift with powdered sugar and drizzle with additional sauce if you desire (and you know you do).
Best served warm, so the gooey “molten” center oozes out when the cake is pierced.
NOTE: The centers of my heart-shaped cakes weren’t as molten as I expected; I think I may have slightly overbaked them. An extra I made in a ramekin “molted” (Moltilized? Moltified?) better. Either way, decadently delicious.