Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 10:54 AM
Today is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic holiday of all. If you read this and suddenly realize that you’ve forgotten to do something for a special someone, just remember the inscription on the back of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: "Don’t Panic." Google Book Search can help you out.
Roses are a common Valentine’s Day gift, but if you want to put extra thought into your bouquet, look no further than The Language of Flowers. This link will take you right to the table of contents, where you can learn how to convey feelings like amiability (jasmine), the first emotions of love (lilac), or even the remarkably nuanced, “your qualities surpass your charms” (mignonette), through your florist. As you page through, keep an eye out for this 150-year-old book's beautiful full-color plate illustrations.
Let’s say you’d rather stimulate your valentine's senses through taste rather than smell. My own personal suggestion is to bake a cake (I’d go a step further and say that it should have as much chocolate as possible, but I grant that’s a personal choice). I dare you not to get excited about some of the recipes you can browse in the New Good Cake Book, or these cake decoration tips. And should you require any help whatsoever serving fair portions of the cake, Cake-Cutting Algorithms has 181 pages of mathematical analysis to make sure no one feels remotely cheated (no joke).
I’ll leave you with some of Charles Lamb’s amusing reflections on using the heart to symbolize love, looking at the phenomenon through a lens decidedly less metaphorical than literal:
“What authority we have in history or mythology for placing the head-quarters and metropolis of God Cupid in this anatomical seat rather than in any other, is not very clear; but we have got it, and it will serve as well as any other. Else we might easily imagine, upon some other system which might have prevailed for anything which our pathology knows to the contrary, a lover addressing his mistress, in perfect simplicity of feeling, ‘Madam, my liver and fortune are entirely at your disposal.’”May your own liver have company this Valentine’s Day!