Valentine's Day has little relevance to my life, as a single woman of a certain age. It's one of those days that's bound to disappoint almost everyone, for one reason or another, and I realized recently that many couples seem to break up right around Valentine's Day -- as I have myself, at least twice. (No, I really don't sit around remembering details of my breakups. Ignore the moldy wedding cake in the corner, please.)
Anyway, I'm not sure why this is. It might be that the the ideals of Valentine's Day make us too aware of the shortcomings of our current relationships, or it might just be that we got the relationship through the holidays and then realized it was unsustainable. Or it might be that the unrealistic expectations of Valentine's Day advertising make us unreasonably discontent with a perfectly acceptable situation.
That said, I come today not to bury Valentine's Day, but to praise it - or at least praise part of it.
Sometime in mid-January, Valentine's Day candy starts showing up in supermarkets and drugstores. Much of it is inedible: conversation hearts made of flavored chalk; oversweetened chocolate-covered cherries; squishy, too-pale bonbons in fake velvet boxes. But hidden among the chocolate - in my Hannaford, the third shelf down, between some kind of holiday-themed Starbursts and bags of cherry chews -- are bags of cinnamon jelly hearts, possibly nature's perfect candy.
Brach's makes them. They combine the best features of cinnamon bears (which I can't eat anymore, because I once lost a crown to one) with the best features of gumdrops. They are just cinnamony enough, without that metallic aftertaste you sometimes get from cinnamon-flavored things (I'm looking at you, cinnamon Altoids). They are big enough that you feel you're really eating a piece of candy (unlike Hot Tamales, which require a whole handful), but small enough that you can feel virtuous if you stop at three. Or five.
Why can't we buy these at any other time of year? I get the heart-shaped Valentine's link, but why doesn't Brach's make them as regular cinnamon-flavored gumdrops?
I bought four bags at 50% off at Hannaford yesterday. I'd have bought more, but I was too embarrassed. I might go see if Rite Aid has any leftovers today...