Valentine’s Day: Hearts, Roses, and a Poem

my untitled painting (2015)

I recently learned that there’s a big difference between « Joyeuse Saint Valentin » in France and “Happy Valentine’s Day” in the United States.

While the greetings mean the same thing, Valentine’s Day in France is for couples, so only partners would greet each other « Joyeuse Saint Valentin. »

However, in the U.S., everyone wishes each other a “Happy Valentine’s Day” on February 14 — it’s not just for couples.

It’s common for friends and colleagues to say it to each other, too. Thanks to the American TV comedy, Parks & Recreation, there’s even a “Galentine’s Day” to celebrate female friendship (on February 13). Many people also give special toys to their pets on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day at work

Valentine’s Day at work

Valentine’s Day at work

In grade school, we’re taught to exchange candy hearts and handmade cards with the entire class so no one feels left out.

But how can one feel special if everyone gets a “You’re the best, Valentine!” card?

A little creativity, thoughtfulness, and humor go a long way! One year, my younger daughter’s classmate gave her this delightful Valentine:

a Valentine heart, with arteries and veins!

Valentine’s Day is serious business

If only simple gestures were enough! For many people, though, it’s go big or go home. As if quantity or size equaled the measure of love one has for another, we learn to give/expect over-the-top experiences, like fancy dinners, hot-air balloon rides, or ziplining through treetops.

We give/expect enormous teddy bears, heart-shaped boxes of decadent chocolate, sparkly jewelry, and giant bouquets of fragrant flowers.

As a result, upwards of $20 billion dollars is spent on Valentine’s Day gifts and fancy dinners each year here in the U.S.

With the pandemic and restaurant dining restrictions still in effect, however, I wonder how Valentine’s Day spending will change this year.

What I know for sure is that my family and I will be having a simple dinner at home this year.

Every year, my dear husband and I tell each other that we don’t want any Valentine’s Day gifts. Then I coyly remind him that I’ll take one white rose (my favorite!) over a dozen red ones any day!

white rose: a symbol of purity, innocence, and youth

red rose: a symbol of love and passion

yellow rose: a symbol of friendship

Poem: Une amie qui s’appelait Rose

I once wrote a poem about an anthropomorphic/personified flower for one of my French classes. If Rose were a person, how would they feel?

Translated from French:

A friend named Rose 🥀

“I see life through rose-colored glasses…”

Someone sang

I will sing too

“I live the life of a rose …”

I will dance in the morning water

I’ll be there for you

You can give me

To your friends and to your wife

You can offer me to them

Have you quarreled?

Give me to this person

And she will forgive you

Are you sick?

I am the best medicine.

Are you dreaming?

Breathe me in.

I am real.

When you were sad, I was there

When you were crying, I received

Your tears – the water of your eyes

One, two, three

On my arms

I thought it was

The morning water

So, I started to dance

You were smiling

You were no longer sad

And then you discovered

That she still loved you

So, you continued your love affair …

While I danced

In my tears …

The water of my eyes for you

I wonder, “Is this the life of a rose?”

– from my book, “The Quiet Child – Poems” (2007)

🥀

Will you accept this rose? 🌹

These days, when I think about the gesture of giving flowers, popular TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette come to mind. After their incredible dates that include fancy dinners, hot-air balloon rides, and ziplining through treetops, the Bachelor(ette) asks their love interest, “Will you accept this rose?”

Thinking about my poem, perhaps one should be asking: “Will this rose accept you?” 😉

Gratuitous scene from Titanic (screenshot taken at dental office waiting room!)

What are your thoughts about Valentine’s Day/La Saint-Valentin? Let me know in the comments below! ❤️🌹

Petit Pot: Organic French Pudding Made in California

Updated: January 18, 2021

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Thanks to Petit Pot for giving me samples of Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice pudding. There are no affiliate links in this post.]

Image: Petit Pot

J’adore Petit Pot!

J’adore Petit Pot! I first saw the cute jars of pots de crème at my local grocery store a couple of years ago. As a Francophile, I was charmed by its logo: a blue jar wearing a striped shirt, an orange beret, and a smile. He even has a name: Il s’appelle Louis!

Petit Pot (say “peh-tee-poh”) creates their sweet and velvety French-style custards and rice pudding (riz au lait) desserts using local ingredients! They’re located in Emeryville, California, which is about 10 miles/ 17 km east of San Francisco.

Of the eight flavors they currently offer, my favorite is Dark Chocolate. The desserts are thick, creamy, and just the right size to satisfy a sweet tooth craving (each jar is 3.5 oz/ 100 g).

You can enjoy them as is or put a little whipped cream on top for some added flair!

I love to add fresh raspberries:

Chocolate pudding on spoon with a raspberry

I’ve saved many Petit Pot jars since 2018 and I’m thinking of creative ways to reuse them which I’ll share in a future blog post.

Special Holiday Flavors: Mint Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice

Petit Pot offered two seasonal flavors in 2020: Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice. (Note: As of 01/18/2021, both holiday flavors are out of stock. Petit Pot may bring them back, so stay tuned!)

They are made with organic ingredients, including: whole milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, and cane sugar.

The Pumpkin Spice flavor is made with organic pumpkin purée. Although I could taste more cinnamon than pumpkin, I like its smooth texture; it’s like eating a pumpkin pie.

I love chocolate in general so I expected to like the Mint Chocolate flavor and I was right! It tastes like their Dark Chocolate flavor, but with just the right amount of mint, like after dinner mints. The Mint Chocolate flavor is made with organic ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, natural vanilla extract, and peppermint oil.

To learn about all of Petit Pot’s delicious desserts that use USDA organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as helpful information about their sustainable packaging, shipping schedules, other special offers, and more, visit Petit Pot today!

Have you had Petit Pot desserts? Which flavor is your favorite?

Thanksgiving Thoughts

my green bean casserole

Thank You!

In this season of gratitude, I want to thank you for reading my blog. From California to Canada, France, Germany, India, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Venezuela and everywhere in between, I’m sending you warm wishes for strength, peace, and good health.

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States. While some people are off from school or work for the entire week, many of us have only Thursday and (maybe) Friday off. But I’m not complaining, I’m thankful… and hopeful, too.

After eight months of back and forth lockdown and re-openings, I like to think that recent news of promising vaccines for COVID-19 is slowly restoring hope.

I generally have a positive outlook, but some days are harder than others to be chipper. Who hasn’t felt this way from time to time? I strongly believe that one of the best ways to cope is to maintain holiday traditions while accepting things as they are.

While my family’s in-person Thanksgiving gathering will be smaller this year, I’m looking forward to having the traditional spread: turkey, green bean casserole, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Comfort food indeed.

As a Francophile, you know I’ll want to add a French-inspired touch, so I’m also going to make a couple loaves of pain d’epi! Of course, I use the word “make” loosely here. It’s more of a “preparation” of ready-made ingredients. 😊

If you’d like to make the French baguette that resembles a stalk of wheat, take a look at the step-by-step instructions in my post, Easy-Peasy Pain d’Epi.

Here are other dishes I’m considering for the Thanksgiving menu:

Quiche Vosgienne

My interpretation of Quiche Vosgienne: a Pancetta & Swiss/Gruyère cheese French tart in a gluten-free crust!

Apple-Cranberry Flaugnarde with Crème Fraîche

It’s like a Clafoutis, but instead of traditional cherries, I used apples and cranberries (to give it a touch of autumn, my favorite season)!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday Postcard: Mallorca, Spain

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale is from Mallorca, Spain! It’s the largest of the three Balearic Islands, located east of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of my dearest friends sent me this postcard featuring Port de Pollença (Puerto de Pollensa), which is located on the northern part of Mallorca.

She tells me that the people on this island, also known as Majorca, are very friendly. She and her family also enjoy the ocean, good food, and sunshine there!

For more information:

See Mallorca – official website

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Three French Hens

My favorite coffee purveyor recently released a new set of winter- and holiday-theme gift cards. The one I liked the most was designed especially for Francophiles like moi. Well, OK, I made that last part up, but I’ll keep believing it anyway!

Hear me out: There’s a dozen design ideas in the “12 Days of Christmas” song and yet only the Three French Hens made it onto a gift card. Quelle coïncidence? I think not!

The card design shows one hen with feathers in the colors of the American and French flags (red, white, and blue), while the other two hens appear to have feathers in traditional Christmas colors (red and green).

Look closely and you’ll see the chic hens (chickens, get it?) are sporting mini berets! If that isn’t enough to get even the grumpiest Grinch to melt and go awwww, then I don’t know what will!

What’s the meaning of Three French Hens anyway?

One belief is that the lyric from the popular Christmas carol refers to docile Faverolles, a French breed of chicken that is a favorite with young children because they make good pets.

But there are other theories. According to Catholic Straight Answers, the three hens “signify both the gifts of the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), and the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.”

Well, both explanations sound good to me! All I know is that seeing this card made me smile. That’s the best gift of all. 🐓