A Valentine's Day Meal Fit For Your Special Lady
Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so I thought it would be fun to give the guys out there who read my blog (ladies, don't hesitate to send this blog to your loved one) some ideas on how to prepare a romantic meal at home on this festive occasion. I know some of you may be saying you can't cook, so each course will have options for a homemade version or a ready-made or simpler preparation. Either choice will be tasty, so it is up to you and depends entirely upon your level of proficiency in the kitchen.
Included will be a lesson or two about plating and setting a romantic table. Because, let's face it, serving a romantic meal on paper plates with paper napkins leaves a little to be desired unless you are on a picnic which can be very romantic.
A Little Valentine's Day History
It's not very clear how Valentine's Day came to be or which Saint Valentine the day is honoring. Although there are a lot of stories about various possibilities, no one knows for sure, which one is most likely correct. According to history.com, one legend goes,
Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl "” who may have been his jailer's daughter "” who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
There are other stories that you can read on their web site but for us guys, it doesn't really matter. It is a day when we do something a little special, out of the ordinary for our wives, girlfriends, or significant other. It may be flowers, chocolates or a nice meal at a favorite restaurant. But this year, I'm suggesting trying something different. Prepare your loved one a meal from soup to nuts with all the trimmings and see how she responds.
(By the way, the origin of the phrase "from soup to nuts" comes from a time when formal dinners started with a soup dish and ended with nuts served in the billiards room with a glass of cognac and a cigar)
The Way To A Woman's Heart
We have all heard the expression, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". Well, it's the Reluctant Gourmet's opinion the same is true for women. I have never met anyone, man or woman, who didn't appreciate the effort that goes into preparing a home cooked meal. Even if it doesn't turn out as well as you would like, they always appreciate the time you put into making it.
Making a romantic dinner offers lots of advantages:
It's going to be much more cost effective than going out for dinner. Yes, time is money, and you'll have to invest a little time shopping and putting the meal together, but it still will be cheaper than an expensive night on the town. And because you will not be paying a double or triple markup on the wine, you can go ahead and purchase something special. Maybe a nice Veuve Clicquot or Dom Perignon champagne or French Bordeaux.
You control the atmosphere. Here's where you can get creative. You get to choose the lighting and the music. You have no say when you are out in a restaurant, but at home, you get to decide. The table setting will be exactly as you want and if you want to fill the room with candles, so be it. Just a little bit of effort will go a long way.
You don't need a designated driver. Dining at home permits both you and your partner to have an extra glass of wine without having to worry about driving under the influence.
You won't need to worry about the service. Valentine's Day is a busy night in restaurants, as you can imagine. Cooking at home eliminates any upset that can be caused by less-than-stellar service. You can cook and eat at your own pace without worrying about an intrusive waiter wanting to rush you to turn the table.
You can cook together. Even though you are cooking for her, it can be very romantic to work on the meal together. The act of preparing food is a very basic and sincere way of showing love and affection, and preparing it together can bring you closer as a couple. As long as you both are comfortable cooking, give this a shot.
There is no bathtub full of rose petals at a fine dining restaurant. Just saying".
So What's The Menu
Over the next few days I'll be posting some different ideas for the menu. It will start with some cheese suggestions, then soup, salad, fish course or meat course and then dessert. Each posting will have a choice of preparing the dish from scratch or taking some shortcuts. I'll try and make everything as simple as possible while considering how long it will take to put this all together.
You can decide which course works best for your skills and schedule and do everything from scratch or combine the various suggestions together. Doesn't matter. What does matter is you make the effort to prepare as tasty a meal as you can in the most romantic atmosphere you can create and I'm sure your partner will appreciate it.