St. Valentine’s Day

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day I thought I would share some fun history on how it was celebrated on the frontier.


Today Valentine’s Day is primarily considered a romantic couples holiday, but in the 1800s both private and public celebrations were held. Churches, lodges, hotels, and private individuals held St. Valentine’s Day parties. Hostesses decorated with red and pink cupids and hearts with arrows gracing the walls and windows. Whether together or apart, pioneers on the Western frontier carried on the tradition of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day in ways not dissimilar to today’s celebrations.


To honor St. Valentine’s Day, the young and old alike sent cards to family members, secret loves, sweethearts, and even teachers. This day of love was also a day when people would take time to send letters to friends letting them know they were thinking of them. Men worried about sending the proper card or gift and girls dreamed of receiving a valentine from the man of her dreams. Their big decision was whether to send a serious, romantic, or a comic one. Making the wrong choice could definitely send the wrong message!


Try your hand at making these romantic potatoes for your valentine. You can learn more about this holiday and others in my new book, Tinsel, Tumbleweeds and Star-Spangled Celebrations.


Heart-shaped Potatoes

Serves 4


4 large red skinned potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter for frying


Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Slice the potatoes into  ovals, about 1/4″ thick. Then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape them. Place a few in the pan at a time, but do no crowd. Fry on each side until golden brown. Serve on a platter with some parsley for garnish.


Recipe adapted from the Ft. Worth Telegram, 1904

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