">A Bed, A Buffet,

Theater Choices

Lingonberry Butter

Love Stories

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A Sensuous, Voluptuous Valentine’s Feast

This article by Phyllis Maguire was published

in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 11, 1998. All rights reserved.

Ah, love! Romance and mid-February go way back, to

lovebirds who start mating right about now and the ancient Roman


of Lupercalia, fertility rites held to honor the gods Juno and Pan.

There were apparently two Christian martyrs known as Saint Valentine,

at least one of whom was executed by the Romans in the third century

after sending, so legend goes, a fond farewell to the blind daughter

of his jailer signed "From Your Valentine." Fertility, it

seems, has had more staying power than martyrdom, and while we’ve

forgotten the saints who were stoned, we continue to celebrate Cupid’s


The fact that Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year makes

any brief exchange of bouquets or greeting cards seem a bit meager.

With Valentine’s Day now Valentine’s Weekend, the calendar is crammed

with a voluptuous assortment of events that indulge even the most

ardent among the smitten.

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A Bed, A Buffet,

and Thou . . .

If your tastes run to king-sized beds, mirrored


and video cameras, you’ll have to head for the Poconos. And if


coziness is more your cup of sensual tea — one of the nine rooms,

say, at New Hope’s Centre Bridge Inn (215-862-9139) with a canopy

bed and a river view, or a sleepover among antiques at the Stockton

Inn (609-397-1250) — then call to make reservations for NEXT year,

because area bed and breakfasts this weekend are booked. But Princeton

still offers some close-by getaways for those blessed with


The Forrestal at 100 College Road East (609-452-7800) is offering

three different couples’ packages that range from $125 per night


dinner, to $225 per night that includes the seafood buffet at the

Homestate Cafe.

The Hyatt Regency Princeton’s Sweetheart Package runs $136 per couple

per night with champagne and chocolates, while Laughter & Romance

includes an overnight with admission for two to Catch A Rising Star,

lending a little levity to the mood. If, like the First Husband, you

have some hefty amends to make this weekend, you might consider the

Hyatt’s two-tiered suite, with fireplace, grand piano, and private

whirlpool and sauna, priced at $575 per evening and named,


the Presidential Suite.

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Theater Choices

When you do come up for air, consider these: of the many area


offerings, a few will set love’s romps squarely on stage. "The

Country Wife" at the Studio Theater of the College of New Jersey

(609-882-5979) is William Wycherly’s 17th century comedy about


and scandal — set not in Washington, but in London. The Bucks

County Dinner Theater (215-949-8844) features "I Do! I Do!"

with a dinner buffet. "The Rivals," presented by the Rutgers

Theater Company at the New Theater (732-932-7511) in New Brunswick,

is Richard Sheridan’s hilarious farce of love, seduction, and money.

"It’s like an 18th-century Seinfeld episode," says Antonio

Ortiz of Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. "Extensive


notes explain the environment, so the fact that the play’s 250 years

old shouldn’t be intimidating."

Or music might provide more of love’s communion. The

New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra (732-249-6999) is holding an afternoon

Winter Romance concert, showcasing Schubert’s "Trout Quintet"

and presenting Schubert’s "Fantasy," a four hand piece


by two pianists. "Four-hand pieces were the singles’ scene of

the 1800s," says John Semmlow, president of the Chamber Orchestra

board. "It was marvelously titillating for couples to share a

piano bench and cross hands while they played."

"Love Songs and Duets" will be the Concert By Candlelight

series presentation at Princeton’s Trinity Church (609-924-2277)


evening, featuring (of course) a soprano and tenor supplied by Susanne

Fruehaber and Mark Bleeke. "Amor de la Danza" at the Unitarian

Church of Princeton (609-924-1604) will present a solo concert by

pianist Anita Cervantes, playing selections from Bach and William

Byrd, among others, chosen to highlight how musical compositions


by dance movements can express romantic love.

And the Friends of the Boheme Opera (609-581-9551) presents its annual

fundraiser on Sunday, February 15, at 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency

Princeton. With a "Love Songs from Broadway" theme, soprano

Kristen Plumley and tenor Eric Van Hoven will sing a selection of

Broadway tunes. A silent auction will include a fur coat, fine wine,

and Lenox china, among many other items, and a live auction after

dinner will feature community personalities selling romantic Valentine

serenades to the highest bidders.

For smokier tastes, the New Orleans group The Dirty Dozen is serving

up some musical gumbo at Raritan Valley College (908-725-3420) —

see story, page 44. And the long-hitched among you might rekindle

that "Love Will Keep Us Together" flame at the Captain and

Tennille concert at the State Theater (732-246-7469) in New Brunswick.

Also making sweet music together — and inviting you to join in

— is the group "Two of a Kind," the husband-wife duo of

David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans whose "Share Your Love


will be held at Borders Books (609-514-0040) in Nassau Park at 2 p.m.

for families and lovestruck singers of all ages.

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Lingonberry Butter

If music be the food of love, play on," wrote


But if food is your idea of amore, Valentine’s Day is

no time to skimp. Centre Fruit Gourmet (609-620-0800) in Lawrenceville

offers a movable feast, to be ordered in advance. For $26.95 to $31.95

per person, you can choose from lobster with gingered shitake


seared filet mignon with caramelized shallots and chive butter, salmon

en croute with lump crabmeat and julienned vegetables, and oriental

duck with peach chutney. All dinners come with bread with lingonberry

butter, mixed greens, a glorious assortment of appetizers and side

dishes — and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Or perhaps you’d rather dispense with the croute and proceed straight

to the chocolate. The Chocolate Fest at the Triumph Brewing Company

(609-924-7855) on Nassau Street presents a hedonistically heady fare

of three different Lindt truffles, three premium beers, and a


souffle served with champagne. Think the beer and chocolate combo

is just a compromise between ladies who crave sweets and their beaux

who love brews? Not so, says Triumph’s co-founder Erica Disch, who

claims the pairing of beer with chocolate "is a natural and


association." The three beers served will be sweet, including

a barley wine, an Imperial Stout, and a brewer’s choice to be


Another excellent Valentine’s combination is dinner and dancing. At

Trenton’s KatManDu (609-393-7300), swing hits and big band favorites

from a live orchestra will add even more spice to a waterfront menu

that ranges from lobster to jambalaya. And this year’s Evening In

Red benefit for the YWCA Princeton (609 497-2100) will be held


evening at the Hyatt Regency. Black tie is admired though not required

— but everyone must wear something red, even if it’s just


or nail polish. Over 100 items — including vacations and custom

jewelry — will be part of the silent auction to benefit YWCA


Save some money for another good cause: the Mercer County Antiques

Show, held in Lawrenceville on Saturday and Sunday to benefit

Womanspace (609-394-0136), a non-profit organization serving women

and children throughout Mercer County. Dealers from six states will

feature American and European period and country furniture, folk art,

porcelains, fine art, and jewelry — any one of which, as a fine

gift, would say you care.

And then there is the concoction of love with a frisson of fear. For

John Platt of the Garden State Horror Writers, "the connection

of Valentine’s Day and horror goes all the way back to first dates

when you take a girl to a scary movie and she grabs your hand. It’s

an icebreaker that brings people close really quickly." If fright

is the fastest way to your lover’s heart, the Garden State Horror

Writers (908-754-9454) present novelist Jack Ketchum, best known for

"The Girl Next Door," as guest speaker at the Manalapan


on Saturday morning — when it’s still daylight.

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Love Stories

"A tale without love is like beef without mustard: an

insipid dish."

Scheherazade is just one of the more famous tale-tellers

who found a deft story the key to affection. Storytelling is the


of the singles event being held Valentine’s Eve by the Marriage


(908-232-8827) at the Parkside Restaurant in Morristown.


Day is a difficult holiday for singles, particularly since it lands

on a Saturday," says Marriage Connection founder Terry DiMatteo.

"Single people often wonder what’s wrong with them, when the


is the culture in which traditional ways of meeting people through

community have broken down." At the event, storyteller Fred Quinn

will present a program of "Lovestruck Memories," tender


in an atmosphere of candlelight and fresh flowers that, DiMatteo says,

will definitely "be conducive to starting something."

And if you’ve found your mate, and your fertility rites have been

a success, your Valentine’s Day weekend will probably include

the kids. The Arts Council of Princeton (609-924-8777) presents two

programs by storyteller Mary Rachel Platt, one for preschoolers at

10 a.m. and one at 11 a.m. for ages 6 and over. "For the older

children, at least one or two of the stories will have the theme of

love," says Platt. "Not romantic love but compassion, and

tales about the love of parents for children and the love between


The Talks for Children series at the Art Museum, Princeton University

(609-258-3788), will present Virginia Reynolds discussing the "Art

of Valentine’s Day" for grade-school children, turning attention

to the Cupids in the museum collection, including the awesome


Supplicating Jupiter" by Peter Paul Rubens.

And making your own Valentines — the genesis of the greeting card

industry — will be available for all ages at the Jane Voorhees

Zimmerli Art Museum (732-932-7237) in New Brunswick. Exhibiting many

objects with references to hearts and love, the Zimmerli is setting

up a "Valentine’s Factory" complete with paper doilies,


paper, ribbons, and other art supplies for a hand-made Valentine


between 1 and 4 p.m. At 3 p.m., the museum is hosting "The Rules

of Love: An Historical Look," a lecture given by Rutgers’


Rudolph Bell and Donald Roden on books throughout history that have

set down the dos and don’ts of amorous encounters.

One such book, "The Art of Courtly Love," is

a medieval treatise that offers 31 rules to govern love affairs. The

first is the thought-provoking, "Marriage is no real excuse for

not loving," while one further down the list gives this timely

advice: "Good character alone makes any man worthy of love."

See story, page 34.

Then there are events tailor-made for your specific paramour. Perhaps

your favorite science buff — or couch potato — might enjoy

the Science on Saturday (609-243-2121) program this week at Sarnoff

Corporation of "TV Systems Old and New: Introducing Digital,


Television." The ornithologist in your life — remember those

mating lovebirds? — might enjoy the opening reception in


of "Birds of a Feather," a collaborative book project of bird

images by artist members of the Printmaking Council of New Jersey

(908-725-2110). The physically fit might train for the evening’s


with an hour’s off-road run with the Rumson Hash House Harriers


in Edison, a non-competitive way to enjoy the woods and fields. And

for those loved ones who like a dash of blood sport with their affairs

of the heart, Princeton hockey is facing Brown at Baker Rink, while

the Princeton basketball team will challenge Yale at Jadwin Gym in

what is turning out to be Princeton’s best season since ex-senator

Bill Bradley (Class of ’65) was hitting the hoops.

If any of these sumptuous events stimulate him — or her —

to pop the question, keep in mind "The Portable Wedding


by Ewing author Leah Ingram. A book-signing and chat will be held

at Barnes and Noble in Princeton MarketFair on Tuesday, February 24,

from 8 to 10 p.m. (see story, page 37). And if you’re having trouble

choosing among so many delights, buy a pound or two of chocolates

— homemade ones are available from Carl Fischer (609-882-5566)

for $11.50 a pound, $21.95 a pound for Belgian chocolates, and $16.50

a pound for truffles — call a friend, and stage your own


Day event.


Rules of Love — Medieval Style

Although the current art exhibition at the Zimmerli

Museum, "The Great American Pop Art Store: Multiples of the


spotlights 20th-century love motifs, two Rutgers professors


in medieval history offer a Valentine’s Day talk on affairs of the

heart, historically — and in two cultures.

"The Rules of Love: An Historical Look," by Rutgers professors

Rudolph Bell and Donald Roden, looks at some influential books in

history that propose rules for amorous encounters. The idea for the

lecture came from a course they jointly teach each year to


on the comparative cultures of love in Japan and Europe.

Roden, the Europeanist, says that translations of the Roman poet Ovid,

whose work dates from around the birth of Christ, were among Europe’s

most popular printed books of the 16th century, soon after Gutenberg

devised his printing press technology. Literate Europeans were


about Ovid’s amorous advice translated from the original Latin into

English, French, and Italian. Roden reports that Ovid’s accounts


mainly on how married women could have lovers without notifying or

offending their husbands. Discretion, he notes, was the name of that

game. "Ovid was often held up as an example of why women in Europe

should not to be taught to read — lest they stumble upon such

a text," he says.

Another treatise, "The Art of Courtly Love," dates from


times and offers 31 succinct rules to govern love affairs. Roden


the document as a slightly suspect, perhaps "a misogynist tract

for monks to circulate among themselves and enjoy."

Yet there are rules here that provide food for thought even at the

dawn of the third millennium. Such as Rule No. I: "Marriage is

no real excuse for not loving." Rule No. XI suggests "It is

not proper to love any woman whom one should be ashamed to seek to

marry." And lest any of us imagine that the middle ages were


there’s Rule Number XXXI: "Nothing forbids one woman being loved

by two men or one man by two women." Roden notes that all these

rules were for courtly types only. The peasants, the tract points

out elsewhere, could just be taken by force.

From Japan of the 11th century comes another comparative

best-seller, "Tale of Genji," by Lady Murasaki, a collection

of stories circulated in the high court and known today as the first

novel in any language.

In 76 gripping chapters, the book recounts the amorous adventures

of Prince Genji, a man with lots of lovers, who seduced the old,


the young, married a 12-year-old, and more. The series of tales was

hand-written and released episodically, perhaps by popular demand.

Each successive group of stories was copied by scribes for circulation

in the court.

"One can see it as a great improvement over current daytime soap

opera fanaticisms," Roden notes. One of the classics of Japanese

literature, written for an elite literate audience, it reflects that

culture’s greater acceptance of extra-marital affairs, and the


for women to initiate such affairs. Still enough to raise Western


Current American confusion notwithstanding, Roden says that


European society’s moral compass was fixed on its axis on all matters

of carnal love. "This was terribly important, but the issue was

property, not propriety," says Roden, noting that the


that were forbidden were only those that would confuse who was a man’s

legitimate heir. "The historic texts are clear on this. Anything

that makes it uncertain that your wife’s child is yours is adultery

— and anything that doesn’t compromise that is not."

— Nicole Plett

The Rules of Love: An Historical Look, Jane Voorhees

Zimmerli Art Museum , George and Hamilton streets, New Brunswick,

732-932-7237. $3 museum admission adults; children free. Saturday,

February 14, 3 p.m.

Also The Valentine Factory, a hands-on family workshop

that recreates the spirit of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Saturday,


14, 1 to 4 p.m.

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