Friday, February 12, 2010

The secret to a life of love

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,

“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud:


Someone would call the cops.

These lines by the 13th Century poet Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky) seem especially meaningful as Valentine’s Day approaches.

Have you noticed how men are looking like deer in the headlights?
“It’s just a marketing ploy,” they protest, dreading the occasion because they feel they must do something special, something just right—my husband Ted included. Who can blame them?

My single women friends feel pressured to have a date or romantic plans that day. They feel excluded if they don’t.

Enough! I believe there is a secret to filling a life with love. And so does our poet Hafiz as he continues . . .

Why not become the one

Who lives with a full moon in each eye

That is always saying,

With that sweet moon


What every other eye in this world

Is dying to hear.

No matter how much love comes our way, unless we ourselves cultivate a capacity to openly give others the very feelings we seek, no amount of obligated fawning or admiration can satisfy.

I’ve learned that to be a happy, healthy human being, I must be the source of my own buoyancy and joyful feelings. So here is what I’m doing to make my Valentine's Day feelings special.

Today, I’m in my kitchen making a double batch of my Divine Fudge. I’m stirring my best wishes into the rich, molten mixture while my favorite love songs play in the background. I’m pouring it into a pan lined with wax paper.

When cool, I will cut the fudge into pieces and place two squares in each of many little clear cellophane treat bags available at craft stores.

I will tie them with a ribbon and give these to everyone I meet tomorrow—even the check out gal at the market, the postman, and put some in my all my neighbor’s mailboxes.

And, you must absolutely do something romantic for yourself this Valentine’s Day! My best suggestion this year is to order one of the fragrant candles made of real scented wax that are flameless! (Click on the link to order.)

Batteries need replacing only once a month. They come in all sizes and shapes, and they make a most romantic flickering bedroom night-lights.

You always look your very best in candlelight!


Here is the epicurean fudge recipe I have more requests for than any other. I continue to tweak it, trying all kinds of nuts and other ingredients. Because it doesn't require a candy thermometer, it is easier than the old-fashioned kind and much more dependable.

For approximately 64 squares

14 ounces dark chocolate, broken up or chopped (see Note)

1¼ cups finely chopped walnuts, or other nuts, lightly toasted (optional)

10 tablespoons soft butter

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups sugar

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

22 large marshmallows

Note: Today my preference is to use 4 (3.5 ounce) bars of Valrhona chocolate (2 bars dark bittersweet, 1 barsemisweet, and 1 bar dark bitter), purchased most economically at Trader Joe's.

Combine the chocolate pieces, nuts, butter, and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl, preferably one with a spout for easy pouring.

Combine the sugar, evaporated milk and marshmallows in a heavy-bottomed 5- to 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly with a large wire whisk or a sturdy wooden spoon or large whisk. When the marshmallows melt and the mixture comes to a boil set your timer for 8 minutes. Stir almost constantly until the buzzer rings. Now is a good time to stir in your wishes or prayers for those who will enjoy your Divine Fudge.

Remove from the heat and very carefully (it is super hot!) pour the marshmallow mixture over the chocolate, butter and nuts. Whisk or beat constantly until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is very smooth. Quickly pour into the prepared pan(s) or onto a cold surface, using a rubber spatula for spreading the fudge evenly and making a few decorative swirls in the top.

Cool overnight before removing from pans. If not making in mini-loaves, cut into pieces. For best flavor, serve fudge at room temperature.

To prepare in advance: Fudge becomes firmer the longer it is stored and keeps beautifully at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator up to a month, or in the freezer indefinitely.


  1. Sounds terrific! I too thoroughly enjoy sharing things I make with complete strangers. Sometimes those are the sweetest gifts of all, the completely unexpected ones.
    Can't wait to see you and hang out next week. So much to catch up usual.
    Love to you--today, tonight and always. XO

  2. Diana,
    I wanted to relay to you a Thank You for the kind and sincere words that you left for me at my culinary journal (blog). Also, I thought to share with you how it inspired me to get it going again.

    It has been a dry-spell these last few months, in curiosity of what God has been doing in my life and where he has called to serve in vocations. Reading your comment a few months ago was truly one of those ways that God reminds us that he loves us. It affirmed that there is a purpose that he had me carry on this food writing as a hobby for so long, despite all of the dreadfully-annoying grammar mistakes that I am at fault for (for the record, I do type these up very quick in stream of thought as an actual record to my experience, and as a journal).

    When I read your comment, I thought I should pray on updating my adventures on the blog. I smiled, for this truly came out of no where at the time.

    I've recorded all of my experiences still, and kept all photos, I just have not had the ACTIVE motivation to upload these to the site, as I spend most of my time looking at the computer during the day in the projects I've had to commit myself to with the economy.

    When reading your comment, it took a few weeks, but I actually did go back to fill in some experiences back in August and July that were left out of last year. There are several places that I have yet to input and catch-up with in regard to uploading everything from my computer onto the blog, it's embarassing; though, I feel like that time is now that I truly look at this and consider that God has given me an opportunity and piece of advice, through your words, to continue in this despite how slim it looks professionally. This has always been a hobby of mine on the side, something that I'm always thinking about, and I smile to think it can help someone out with his/her decisions and forethought of a rewarding experience in culinary adventures and atmospheres.

    Thus, thank you again for all of your advice. If I ever were in the position to, I would definitely take on an editor. For now, I am trying to prioritize and keep this going at the same time, as a love, while I keep my eyes open for opportunities where I may grow, serve, and be. This still remains a tremendous piece of my heart that God has set here for a reason, and I'll pursue it, for he's obviously called my attention to it.

    Many blessings and best wishes to you. If you ever are looking for a dining adventure comrade, it would be a delight to hear your thoughts and perspective.

    in Him,