A LITTLE VALENTINE TRIVIA About three percent of pet owners give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets. One-third of all Valentine's Day cards are accompanied by gifts. Hallmark has more than 1,330 different cards specifically for Valentine's Day. About one quarter of Valentine's Day cards have humorous messages. American women say they'd rather receive chocolate than flowers on Valentine's Day. Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and sweethearts. About one billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. The holiday is second only to Christmas in terms of the number of cards sent. The celebration of Valentine's Day can be traced to the ancient Roman holiday of the Lupercal, which honored Lupercus the Lycaean, who protected flocks of sheep from wolves. Seventy percent of those celebrating Valentine's Day show their affection by giving a card. Others make a telephone call (49 percent), give a gift (48 percent), plan a special dinner (37 percent), give candy (33 percent), have a meal in a restaurant (30 percent), or give flowers (19 percent). Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to be Saint Valentine's Day in 498 A.D. Richard Cadbury invented the first Valentine's Day candy box in the late 1800s. The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day. The Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America says 36 million boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day. About 110 million roses, most of them red, will be sold for Valentine's Day this year. Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an "improvement in telegraphy," on Valentine's Day, 1876. Valentine's Day was originally associated with the mating season of birds. Fifteen percent of women in the United States send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day. During Abraham Lincoln's campaign for President, a Democrat named Valentine Tapley swore he would never shave again if Abe were elected. Tapley kept his word and his chin whiskers went unshaved from November 1860 until he died in 1910, attaining a length of 12 feet six inches. Americans spend $655 million each Valentine's Day on candy, making it the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases, after Halloween, Christmas and Easter (in that order). In the U.S., it's estimated that 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for Valentine's Day. During Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card. Eighty percent of all Valentine cards are purchased for relatives. HEAVENLY HEART CAKE INGREDIENTS 3 / 4 cup Hershey's Cocoa 2 / 3 cup boiling water 3 / 4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 cups cake flour or 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 and 1 / 4 teaspoons baking soda 1 / 4 teaspoon salt 3 / 4 cup buttermilk or sour milk* (* To sour milk: Use 2 teaspoons white vinegar plus milk to equal 3 / 4 cup.) Glossy Chocolate Sour Cream frosting (recipe follows) Creamy Butter cream frosting (recipe follows) METHOD Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 heart-shaped pans or two 9-inch round baking pans. Stir together cocoa and boiling water in small bowl until smooth; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy; beat in eggs and cocoa mixture. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with Glossy Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting. Pipe border around top edge and base of cake With Creamy Butter cream Frosting. Garnish as desired. 10 to 12 servings. GLOSSY CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM FROSTING INGREDIENTS 1 and 1 / 2 cups Hershey's Mini Chips Semi-Sweet Chocolate 2 cups powdered sugar 3 / 4 cup dairy sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Milk METHOD Place small chocolate chips in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred. Add powdered sugar, sour cream and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. About 2 and 1 / 2 cups frosting. CREAMY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 / 4 cup (1 / 2 stick) softened butter or margarine, 2 to 3 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl; beat until smooth and creamy. Makes about 1 cup frosting. AND FINALLY... Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. But the roses are wilted, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty, and so is your head.
Irish dark humor’s time to shine on “Bank Holiday Ophelia”