There are two ways you can go on Valentine's Day. On one hand, it's an excellent holiday for kids, or goofily cheerful adults. You get out the paper doilies and the glitter and red velvet cupcakes with pink frosting and those chalky little conversation hearts that now say things like Text Me and Tweet Me (and am I the only one who thinks there should be a Boomer or even Gen-X version of these that leaves out the technology and just sticks with Luv U and Foxy Lady and Love Bug?) and you sit around the kitchen table with hot-pink crayons and sparkly markers and cut out homemade cards for everyone.
In the morning there are chocolate-chip pancakes made in the shape of hearts and maybe gold-sprayed macaroni necklaces, if anyone makes those any more. In the evening, whoever doesn't usually make dinner does the job, or if that's a serious obstacle to getting something edible on the table in less than 3 hours without total kitchen destruction, then copious back-rubbing and foot-worshipping should follow, once the sugar-happy kids are off to bed. Maraschino cherries, red food coloring, whipped cream for breakfast: perfectly acceptable food choices today.
And then, for all of you grownups without kids, or with kids over at Grandma's for the night, there's Valentine's Day, Goth Edition. Don't get me wrong: I agree with Gawker that the only thing more tedious than Walgreen's chocolate boxes are Valentine's Day haters (the fabulous My Sucky Valentine show excluded, of course). But why must love be celebrated in only its sweetest incarnations?
The best way to save your holiday drowning from Hallmark/LIfetime movie/Whitman's Sampler goo? Paint it black instead of pretty pink, shiny and slick as a tangy of squid-ink pasta, topped with the claws of a lobster or a Dungeness crab in all their fiesty gripping glory, bathed in a fiery fra diavolo sauce.
Make your menu a vampiric splendor of fang-licking blood red and bat-cave midnight black. You could go straight to the Scorpio menu in my Astrology Cookbook: figs wrapped in proscuitto and dripping with pomegranate glaze; lamb chops sauced with port, bleeding heart cake gushing molten chocolate and raspberry. Or you can mix and match you and your demon lover's favorite dishes, adding an edge of pleasure and pain. Like it spicy? Then make that curry really, really spicy. Endorphins=good. (Just be careful slicing those chilis. Capsicum can linger for hours on fingertips, even after washing, not something you want to discover during your after-dinner activities.)