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February, 2010

A look at the food and celebrations in February.

Super Bowl Sunday is February 7, 2010!
Tamale Kit
Super Bowl Sunday is the culmination of the football season! Every team is working hard all year for a chance to win the big one! Millions of us will be watching the game on TV and enjoying the company of family and friends. Of course, the Super Bowl also means food, especially snacks while watching this exciting event. Melissa's invites you to try some of our new ready-to-eat snacks, or to try preparing some simple appetizers that will please everyone. Our easy to make tamales can’t be beat as far as taste and speed of preparation. You can put together 12 tamales in about 15 minutes and steam them in about 45. You’ll have fresh tamales in no time at all! The best part is that you can fill them with anything; hot chiles, mild chiles, cheese, pineapple and raisins or apples and nuts. Anyway you like them!

Chinese New Year is February 14, 2010
The Year of the TIGER

Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide with food, festivities and many traditions. Melissa’s can help make these traditions a reality with many of our hard to find products like KumquatsBuddha’s hand and kumquats. Enjoy your Chinese New Year feast with the wonderful variety of fresh Asian vegetables available. Below are some of the many traditions and some of the traditional foods and what they symbolize to help you plan your festive Chinese New Year celebration:

Plants and Flowers:
Every traditional Chinese household should also have live blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one’s career. Lucky is the home with a plant that blooms on New Year’s Day, for that foretells a year of prosperity. In more elaborate settings, plum blossoms just starting to bloom are arranged with bamboo and pine sprigs, the grouping symbolizing friends. The plum blossom also signifies reliability and perseverance; the bamboo is known for its compatibility, its utility and its flexible stems for furniture and other articles; the evergreen pine evokes longevity and steadiness. Other highly prized flowers are the pussy willow, azalea, peony and water lily or narcissus. The Chinese firmly believe that without flowers, there would be no formation of any fruits. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have flowers and floral decorations. They are the emblems of reawakening of nature; they are also intimately connected with superstition and with the wish for happiness during the ensuing year.

Oranges
Oranges and Tangerines: Etiquette dictates that you must bring a bag of oranges and tangerines and enclose a lei see when visiting family or friends anytime during the two-week long Chinese New Year celebration. Tangerines with leaves intact assure that one’s relationship with the other remains secure. For newlyweds, this represents the branching of the couple into a family with many children. Oranges and tangerines are symbols for abundant happiness.

Candy Tray:
The candy tray arranged in either a circle or octagon is called "The Tray of Togetherness" and has a dazzling array of candy to start the New Year sweetly. After taking several pieces of candy from the tray, adults places a red envelope (lei see) on the center compartment of the tray. Each item represents some kind of good fortune.

Kumquat - symbolizes prosperity (gold)
Coconut - symbolizes togetherness
Peanuts - symbolizes long life
Longan - symbolizes many good sons
Buddha's Hand - given as gifts to represent good luck and fortune for the year
Mandarin Oranges represent wealth.
Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) encourages youth and wealth.
Lettuce also symbolizes wealth.
Mushrooms represent coins signifying riches and prosperity.
Green Onions symbolize brilliance and intelligence.
Won Tons are served to guests as a blessing for good fortune. Asian Noodles are served to represent long life...the longer the noodle, the longer the life.

Crepes and Dessert Sauces
Valentine’s Day is February 14, 2010…
A Day for Incurable Romantics!


A brief history: Valentine’s Day dates back to 269 A.D. when Emperor Claudius II forbade any marriages. Valentine would secretly marry couples and eventually got caught. Ironically, Claudius had executed Valentine on the holiday that honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage. The festival of Lupercalia followed, where boys drew the names of girls from a jar and paired up for the festivities. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor Valentine as Saint Valentine and it has been referred to as such ever since. Today’s traditions include sending or giving flowers, candy, cards and a romantic evening with your loved one. Melissa's suggests cooking a romantic meal at home that is healthy and easy to prepare. Try one of our suggestions, or make your favorite. For more fun, prepare them together with your loved one!