As Valentine’s Day looms near, many a harried lover is still in search of the perfect gift.
The question is bold: What one gift may be given to exemplify true love? The answer lies in green.
Contrary to classic assumption, this answer is not a contrived form of cynicism for the holiday. In fact, the very idea of a day to celebrate passion is noble! Yet the philosophy behind our current gifting trends is startling at best.
Take, for example, the usual food-gift of candy or a box of chocolates.
Sure, there is something sweet in giving sweets, but it is purely waxing poetic. In actuality, for every two pieces (32 grams) of Russell Stover’s assorted chocolates, there are eight grams of fat, 20 grams of sugar and 160 calories.
For Valentine’s Day, a standard heart shaped box of chocolates might be as large as 16 ounces (453.592 grams), equating to a whopping 113.25 grams of fat, 283 grams of sugar, and 2,264 calories per box.
With gifting trends of this kind, it is no wonder Americans struggle with health and nutrition. It is a deeply engrained belief that to love means to spoil.
How is it that as a society we have come to believe that gifting unhealthy temptations is indicative of affection? Imagine, for a moment, if each candy heart read something more accurate such as,
“I love you so much I want you to temporarily indulge in non-nutritional fat and sugar so that you may ultimately be unhealthier than the day we met.”
Admittedly, it’s a stretch to fit all that on a single candy heart, but it’s safe to say your Valentine would be horrified.
Which brings us back to the initial proposition: If we really want to display our undying affections, it would stand to reason that we should gift a gift of ultimate goodness—the Valentine’s version of Tough Love.
Hence, gift kale. Or collard greens. Or spinach. Or asparagus. Better yet, an entire salad! Those are the truly special gifts, and if they could, they would read,
“I love you so much that I gift you continued nourishment for a long, healthy life so that I may continue to love and cherish you”.
Perhaps we’ve forgotten the luxury and romanticism of good food.
Admittedly, for some (many) it may be a far cry to see the romance in gifting greenery over sweet treats. Fortunately, for those who are not ready to include greens amongst the Valentine’s reds and pinks, there are still reasonably equivalent options. (Though, please let the record reflect a kale leaf laid on a wooden cutting board with two carrot slices for eyes, an apple slice for a mouth, and raisins spelling out “I love you” in a heart bubble still sounds a great deal more romantic than a box of store bought chocolates to this gal.)
For inspiration, one alternative sweet gift idea is a local raw honey or jam basket.
With careful selection, raspberry or strawberry jams will even maintain the holiday color scheme! Bake a fresh loaf of rosemary bread to gift with it, and include a witty love pun or handmade card. If inspiration for witty puns is lost, and you also happen to live in the great state of Colorado, you might consider something to the effect of, “Your love gets me so high I’m baked for you.”
However, this, like a 16-ounce box of chocolates, may not be as sweet as it seems.
For all my dear friends, family, and especially my young nephew whom I hope learns the value of green on St. Valentine’s Day, you may expect your shipment of kale to arrive shortly.
Author: Trish Zornio
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Editor’s Own