Valentine’s Day is almost here and this is a Valentine’s Day Dinner that wont take hours to prepare.
It’s so simple, all you’ve got to do is buy the ingredients and serve.
Valentine’s Day Dinner – Ingredients
- Fresh oysters (of course) – 1 or 2 dozen
- Ready cooked fresh prawns (still in shell) – buy more than you think you’ll eat
- Two lemons
- Fresh crusty bread – the nicest you can find
- Best quality olive oil for dipping bread
I did say it was simple.
Variations and Handy Hints on Serving
- Keep it simple
- Put oysters, in their shells, on a large cold plate or tray and serve with wedges of lemon
- Find the biggest bowl you have, half fill with ice-cubes, then put the prawns on top of the ice cubes
- Serve prawns with wedges of lemon, crusty bread and saucers of olive oil for dipping
- At least two bowls of water on the table for cleaning fingers (shelling prawns is a messy business)
- Lots of paper serviettes at the table to wipe hands
- A large empty bowl at the table to put prawn shells in
- Candles? Soft music? Dimmed lights? I leave that up to you!
- Add some ready cooked lobster – yum 🙂
Where did Valentine’s Day come from?
Have you ever wondered where Valentine’s Day came from?
According to Rabbi Dr Rudolph Brasch, in his book “The Book of the Year”, the celebration of this day goes back thousands of years, to ancient Rome.
Falling during the season of spring, it was considered a time particularly propitious for love. It was believed that birds started to mate on this day and so therefore it would be only natural for humans to pair off as well. The 14th February became the lovers’ festival and was dedicated to the Roman goddess Juno, who was worshiped as the guardian of women and marriage. Girls wrote their names on slips of paper and lotteries were held. But the prizes were not valuable objects or sums of money, but lovers.
The Christians at the time tried to uproot this ‘pagan’ festival. However, failing to do so they renamed it after Valentine, one of the Christian saints, because of a peculiar coincidence of date. Keep reading… the plot thickens!
The Roman Emperor at the time believed husbands did not make good soldiers, so he abolished marriage. The Roman Bishop, Valentine, did not agree with this so he continued to secretly marry young lovers. He ended up in prison and was eventually beheaded in AD269.
It is supposed he suffered martyrdom on 14th February (the date coincidence) so the Christians named the day St Valentine’s Day, as a substitute for the pagan festival. They also altered the prizes. Girls’ names were changed to those of saints, and the so called lucky winner was exppected in the ensuing year to match his life to that of the saint whose name he had drawn. The scheme misfired because no one liked it and it wasn’t long before the girls’ names went into the lottery again.
Over the years it was felt that girls should be able to choose their own sweethearts, rather than it being by chance, and so began the tradition of sending cards, verses and gifts to the ones they admired.
And that’s what we still do today.
So, there you have it, a very tasty (if you like sea food) Valentine’s Day Dinner, along with a summarized version of Rabbi Brasch’s explanation of the special day.
Thanks for reading Dinner in Ten Minutes.
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