How often have you looked into the eyes of a special someone and thought, I could just eat you up? Our appetites and our amorous natures are inextricably bound, and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Consider all the calories in our most common terms of endearment. We've done just that and compiled a quirky, off-the-eaten-path list of gastronomic suggestions to preheat the oven of your creativity and celebrate the Cupcake, Dumpling, or Sugar Pie in your life.
Baby Cakes: A unisex endearment reminding us that delicious things come in small packages. But be warned. See Cupcake.
Cherry Pie: Refers to those who make you want to skip the food altogether and buy your dearest darlin' a hair crimper and a copy of Warrant's greatest hits.
Cupcake: For the one who seems as innocent as your sixth birthday party but is SO bad for you. See Muffin.
Dear: Dear is one of the stodgiest of all endearments. Deer, however, is one of the tastiest of all meats. Treating your Dear to deer at Opera Memphis' Wild Game Dinner on Friday, February 8th, is a wildly stodgy way to "Grrr!" (See this week's Calendar, page 50.)
Dumpling: A perfect metaphor for someone who's full of surprises and completely satisfying. Take your Dumpling to Lobster King and sample all of the dim sum. Seriously, all of it.
Honey Bun: A rather trashy endearment that is, for obvious reasons, somewhat preferable to "sticky buns." But if you drop a typical convenience-store honey bun on a griddle, allow the sugar to caramelize, and serve it with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream, it's low-brow dining at its finest.
Hot Stuff: They light your fire. Visit a Mexican restaurant you've never been to and ask for the spiciest thing on the menu. Or go Thai and remind the server that some like it hot.
Little Bit: Denotes a small, cute person. Buy a Spanish cookbook for your diminutive darlin' and learn to make tapas. Or try the downsized delights at Mollie Fontaine's, where every bite s/he takes is a little bit of heaven.
Muffin: A complicated endearment that perfectly describes a loved one who's as tempting as the most delicious French pastry but more substantial and not the least bit flaky. It's important to remember, however, that Muffins are duplicitous, especially "Stud Muffins." Though they seem wholesome, they're really cake with a fat head. Take your muffin on a tasting-tour of local coffee shops. See Cupcake.
Peanut: For a special someone who is either small and round, somewhat dim, or whose head is shaped like a peanut. Not that there's anything wrong with that. A trip to Texas Roadhouse, where buckets of complimentary peanuts grace every table and crushed shells cover the floor, could be just what Cupid ordered.
Pickles: For the tart, funny, irreverent, and maybe even a little naughty. Take your pickles on a tour of the local grocery store or maybe a Mediterranean market. Buy some nice olives and go rent a room.
Puddin': Puddin' (never "Pudding") describes a significant other who is sweet and easy to adore. That is to say, no chewing required. And remember, some significant others are as casual as a pile of banana pudding from the Germantown Commissary, while others are as prim and proper as Paulette's crème brûlée. Choose wisely.
Pumpkin: A confusing endearment that simultaneously conjures images of a pleasant, fresh-faced sweetie and a jack-o-lantern. See Sweet Potato Pie for further instruction.
Sweet Pea: Someone who makes you say, "Awww!" Buy your Sweet Pea a bag of frozen peas at any grocery store and watch them weep with good-humored adoration. Then take them to the Pink Palace for a slice of cake at Anne's Bakery and the Gregor Mendel exhibit. That guy was way into peas. (See Calendar, page 48.)
Sweet Potato Pie: The affectionate equivalent of comfort food for the partner who makes you feel cozy, warm, and loved. Or for the guy/galpal whose excessive use of spray-on tanning solutions has resulted in permanently orange skin. Either way, stay home and make your own.
Sweetheart: An endearment for people with no imagination whatsoever. Nothing says "I forgot it was Valentine's Day" like a big red box of candy or a stuffed frog holding a heart-shaped lollipop.
Sweetie Pie: Simple and old-fashioned. Take your Sweetie Pie to the recently opened Roma Pizza for a giant slice of pizza pie and a canoli dipped in dark chocolate.
Sugar Pie: Reminds you of baseball, hotdogs, and (somewhat creepily) Mom/Dad. Should probably eschew a candlelight dinner in favor of a trip to Blues City Café for an apple dumpling smothered in ice cream.
Tater (also: Tater Tot): For the special friend who's common as dirt and completely precious. Sonic's extremely common and can dish up some tasty tots.