Wednesday, February 13, 2013

St. Valentine's Day Recipe for Kids

A love story about a love song 

I won't age myself by telling you the year of when this romance began.  But I must have been quite young, probably not old enough yet to even read myself a story.

I've heard it said that it's less severe to fall when you are young, reason being that you are closer to the ground.  Which begs the question, "why if my tender heart fell all those years ago, does it continue its head-over-heals tumble still to this day?".  What possibly could have set the pitter-patter in such a perpetual state of inclination?  It must have been a love potion.  Love potion no. 9 to be precise.

by the clovers

 I took my troubles down to Madame Rue
 You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth
 She's got a pad down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
 Sellin' little bottles of Love Potion Number Nine

 I told her that I was a flop with chics
 I've been this way since 1956
 She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign
 She said "What you need is Love Potion Number Nine"

 She bent down and turned around and gave me a wink
 She said "I'm gonna make it up right here in the sink"
 It smelled like turpentine, it looked like Indian ink
 I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink

 I didn't know if it was day or night
 I started kissin' everything in sight
 But when I kissed a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
 He broke my little bottle of Love Potion Number Nine

Written in the narrative format, the song consists of 3 stanzas plus a refrain, all written with 4 lines of verse (quatrain) and a clear rhyming scheme.  But the true magic of this piece is that all six required components of a story have been woven into this very short and concise work. 
  • The Setting - Madame Rue's Pad
  • The Characters -  Narrator, Madame Rue and Unsuspecting Cop 
  • The Event - A quest to halt the "flop of a run" with the Chics
  • The Development - A sink-full of potion is brewed
  • The Climax - Amour is prevalent  - in overdose
  • The Ending - Narrator's ill placed affections for the Cop prove him to be a flop once and for all
Sung in Doo-Wop style by The Clovers, and later by the Searchers among other notables, the words were annunciated well enough to be clearly deciphered. With my childish intellect, and only a handful of years experience with the english language, this story still made complete sense from begging to end.  With a five year old's limited exposure to love and the interworking of a boy's chic chase, I solidly grasped the humor in the inappropriateness of cop kissing.

Smitten completely, I was, by Love Potion No. 9.   And after having a taste of this style of lyric and tune, I am left unsatisfied by songs that can not paint the whole picture for me, tell me a complete story, or try to hide lacking lyrics or lousy rhyme behind a fog screen of heavy base.  

I decided to slip my kids (6 & 7 years old) a dose of the old No. 9 and see if its potency was as intoxicating as I remember it to be.  

Recipe for 

Love Potion No. 9 


Grenadine (1cup), Rose's Lime Cordial (2 tbs.), Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice (1cup), Pineapple Juice (1cup) and Soda Water to temper the sweetness and add a little fizz.  

I wanted to this experience to be more hands-on for the kids than just pouring measured ingredients from bottles and juice jugs.  So we juiced the oranges ourselves - the old fashion way.  It was too thick with pulp for my children's taste, so we triple strained it.  I did find the resulting product to be very sweet (possibly because it lacked the promising fumes of Vodka that tease your nostrils when the glass is a breath away from your lips).  But served over ice, my children obviously couldn't get enough of it.  When diluted a touch with soda water, it was a very refreshing concoction.  
The kitchen was ringing with the sound of doo-wop as The Clovers spun their magical tale  - over and over again - till even my 6 year old son was singing along.  All in all, it was a very successful Valentine's Day recipe and hopefully, for my children, it has forged a lasting love affair with the musical genius of days gone by.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, - and here's to hoping you find yourself under someone's unshakable spell.