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Beauty & the Beast: Valentines Day Treat

Beauty and the Beast

It wasn't the planes...'twas beauty killed the beast...

I first saw Beauty and the Beast in a double feature with King Kong. Both of these interspecies love stories tell the tale of love that looks beyond the surfaces...Kong's love for Fay Wray seals his fate, but we feel it, and know that there is something there, something pure.

In Cocteau's masterful La Belle et la Bête, pure love is tranformatory and transcendent. Belle learns that beauty is "more than skin deep", that her Beast is more wonderful than any prince. In fact, it was Cocteau's intention to make the Beast so "superior to men" that his transformation at the end of the movie into a "handsome prince" would be something of a disappointment. His rude exterior, we learn, was part of what made him so marvelous.

Cocteau claimed that Belle is condemned by the transformation of the Beast to a "humdrum marriage and a future that I summed up in that last sentence of all fairy tales: 'And they had many children.'" I don't think she would agree. Yes, she sees that something has changed, something has been lost in the metamorphosis. Yet, their magical love resplendently soars, literally, in the films final moments, leaving me with the other traditional closing line fairy tales: "And they lived happily ever after".

Someone's in the kitchen with Diana...

Here's a meal that (like Diana's arrow at the end of the movie) may leave your loved one seeing you in a different light.

Steak Diane, is one of my favorite, flamboyant, romantic dinners. It even has a little bit of pyrotechnical magic. Essentially, Steak Diane is a fillet, pounded thin and fast seared. Final preparation only takes minutes, so you can focus on your dining companion, instead of the cooking.

Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach dress the dish. Or, if you prefer, serve a simple steamed vegetable instead.

Finally, impress your date with Creme Brulée: creamy custard under a crunchy candy-like layer of melted brown sugar. Creme Brulicious!