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Heart Shaped Meals for Valentines Day

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We set a day aside for sweethearts to express their love for each other, which sometimes devolves into a "how much will you spend on me?" test. Don't fall into that trap! Real lovers know and understand each other's financial situation. You can express your Valentines sentiments with a little more effort and less money spent by sharing a meal at home. Heart shaped food will tell him or her that you really care. Or at least you'll both have a laugh!

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Let's start with breakfast. Just about any breakfast food can be made into a heart. Fried eggs are easy with a mini heart shaped frying pan. I found this particular pan in prices ranging from about $5 to $71! If you're going to get one, Cancer Research UK is selling them at a decent price (£5.00) and the profits go to cancer research. You can also use an egg mold set into a standard frying pan. Special pans to make heart shaped poached eggs are also out there as well.

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The egg mold can also make heart shaped pancakes. Or you can use a cookie cutter to make heart shapes out of pancakes you've already cooked. Keep that egg mold around to shape potato cakes for dinner.

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Waffles are a sweet breakfast for your sweetie. Make heart shaped waffles with a special waffle iron that gives you several hearts in one waffle. Cut them apart to make the heart obvious, or when it's not Valentines Day, leave them all together. Make this a project for next year, as most vendors are sold out of these gadgets right now.

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Brand your breakfast bread with a message of "I love you" with a toast stamp. Then there's this one, which is a little more direct.

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I once wrote about techniques for growing vegetables in unnatural shapes. At least one Japanese farmer has perfected the art of growing heart shaped watermelons, which cost around $160 each. The watermelon may be unobtainable where you are, but if you thought of it months ago AND live in the tropics or the southern hemisphere where it is now late summer, you could serve a salad with heart shaped cucumber slices you grew yourself in a mold.

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Valentines Day falls on Sunday this year, but plenty of people still go to work. If you're packing a lunch for someone you love, you can still dress it up with heart shapes, like Flickr user amanky. This lunchbox includes jello with heart shaped apple slices, a polenta heart for the meatballs, heart shaped cheese for the snack mix, and candy of course! These clever ideas don't have to be served in a box, either.

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A few chains and possibly your local pizza parlors offer heart shaped pizza in February. If you want to make your own, here are a couple of techniques for shaping the crust just right. Even if you can't get the crust right, a little pepperoni rearranging will do the trick.

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A blgger made a heart shaped meatloaf for Valentines Day, and said it "didn't turn out as romantic as I envisioned." I think it's wonderful, because I know how much trouble meatloaf is. Here's a recipe for heart shaped meatloaf. Of course, when you cut it, the loaf will no longer be heart shaped, so you might want to serve heart shaped potato cakes on the side.

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If you know your way around the kitchen, you might want to try this heart shaped vegan ravioli, stuffed with spinach on a bed of Italian tomato sauce. The recipe is at Vegalicious.

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Make a heart shaped cake for dessert! There are a variety of pans available. As a matter of fact, heart shaped cake pans probably predated any of the other gadgets on this list. But you can make a heart shaped cake even without a special pan. Or do it the easy way and use piping to decorate your cake with hearts, or set candy hearts into the icing. Image by Flickr user r_dawn_dew.

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Even easier than baking a cake, get some cherry or strawberry flavored Jell-O and create a heart shaped gelatin dessert with molds that come in all sizes. You can also get a mold in the shape of a real human heart, with which you can make some anatomically correct desserts, but only if your valentine can handle it. Smaller molds made of silicon can be used for both jello desserts and ice cubes to make your drinks match the rest of your Valentines Day meal.
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Happy Valentines Day! Bon appetit and don't forget to floss.

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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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History
P.G. Wodehouse's Exile from England
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You don’t get more British than Jeeves and Wooster. The P.G. Wodehouse characters are practically synonymous with elevenses and Pimm’s. But in 1947, their creator left England for the U.S. and never looked back.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as P.G., was living in northern France and working on his latest Jeeves and Wooster novel, Joy in the Morning, when the Nazis came knocking. They occupied his estate for a period of time before shipping him off to an internment camp in Germany, which he later said he found pretty pleasant:

“Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time.”

Wodehouse was there for 11 months before being suddenly released to a hotel in Berlin where a man from the German foreign office named Werner Plack was waiting to meet him. Wodehouse was somewhat acquainted with Plack from a stint in Hollywood, so finding him waiting didn't seem out of the ordinary. Plack advised Wodehouse to use his time in the internment camp to his advantage, and suggested writing a radio series about his experiences to be broadcast in America.

As Plack probably suspected, Wodehouse’s natural writing style meant that his broadcasts were light-hearted affairs about playing cricket and writing novels, This didn’t sit too well with the British, who believed Wodehouse was trying to downplay the horrors of the war. The writer was shocked when MI5 subjected him to questioning about the “propaganda” he wrote for the Germans. "I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions," he told them in 1944. "I would like to conclude by saying that I never had any intention of assisting the enemy and that I have suffered a great deal of mental pain as the result of my action."

Wodehouse's contemporary George Orwell came to his aid, penning a 1945 an essay called “In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse." Sadly, it didn’t do much to sway public opinion. Though MI5 ultimately decided not to prosecute, it seemed that British citizens had already made up their minds, with some bookstores and libraries even removing all Wodehouse material from their shelves. Seeing the writing on the wall, the author and his wife packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York in 1947. They never went back to England.

But that’s not to say Wodehouse didn’t want to. In 1973, at the age of 91, he expressed interest in returning. “I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything."

Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before he could make the trip. But the author bore no ill will toward his native country. When The Paris Review interviewed Wodehouse in 1973, they asked if he resented the way he was treated by the English. “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now,” he said.  He was right—the Queen bestowed Wodehouse with a knighthood two months before his death, showing that all was forgiven.

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