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oh, the rangoons!


February 14 is fast approaching, and throughout America, committed couples, harried parents and singles alike are cursing this day of romance.

Why all the fuss against romance?

Whether you call it or "Valentine's Day", "Forced Affection Day" or "Single Awareness Day", the American holiday celebrated on February 14 is one of a contrived nature, heavily skewed toward compulsive consumer spending, not romance.

Romance is best described as "a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life."

Search on "valentines" and you will be barraged with wide array of products, sexy services and communal drinking events. Search on "anti-valentines" and see similar results, albeit with a heavy dose of irony. None of these things embody romance.

The anti-Valentine movement dates back to 1969, when the Roman Catholic Church, unable to verify the history of any of the three martyred Saints Valentine, struck St. Valentine's Day from its official calendar. Perhaps the RCC found marterdom ultimately unromantic.

In the early 1990s, greeting card companies jumped on the anti-Valentine’s bandwagon, offering "Stupid Cupid" cards, revenge cards for your ex, and even Valentine’s breakup cards. Still romantic, although in very negative ways.

Valentine's Day is the only American celebration with an active resistance movement.

The movement demands the eradication of this romantic holiday. Targeting "Lonely People Everywhere", the Get rid of Valentine's Day! petition pleads, "...millions of people are sad, depressed, and lonely on February 14th...help end our struggle." At the time of this posting, this petition boasted zero supporters. Perhaps the lonely millions found signing a petition too romantic a gesture.

We have a bit of advice for the grumbling, enlightened-yet-too-busy-to-sign-a-petition activists: forgo the trite, ironic anti-February 14 offerings. Instead, celebrate a day that really matters:

All Hail National Crab Rangoon Day!

Conveniently falling on Feburary 13, this made-up holiday discards tomorrow's lacy red and white trappings, and instead adorns romance with a healthy dose of today's deep-fried dumpling love.

A little back history: In 2009, Bostonian friends Kara Sweeney, Sarah White and Kristin Ostrem declared Feb. 13 to be National Crab Rangoon Day, organizing deep-fried dumplings celebrations in Boston, New York and Vail, CO for lovers, the lovelorn, and loveless alike. Until 2011, this unofficial, unsanctioned holiday had its own website (www.crabrangoonday.com), now-defunct. However, the spirit lives on through memes and tweets.

The history of Crab Rangoons is as arbitrary as the day chosen to celebrate them.

Crab Rangoons were most likely invented at (or at least institutionalized by) the very American, Polynesian-style (aka Tiki) restaurant Trader Vic's sometime in the 1950s, verifiably appearing on their menu since at least 1956. Rangoon (known properly as Yangon) is the former capital city of Burma, but is not the recipe source of these cream cheese and crabmeat-filled, deep-fried culinary wonders. The cooking technique, wonton wrapping and filling style is decidedly mid-century Chinese-American.

If the name "Crab Rangoon" doesn’t sound familiar, you may know them as crab puffs, crab pillows, crab cheese wontons, or cheese wontons.

No matter what the name, one bite and you will find yourself transcended from the ordinary, fully-immersed in feelings of excitement and mystery, leading you to declare your deepest emotions of love.

And this, my friends, is what romance is all about.