Now that I have your attention… I just want to pass along some observations about Valentine’s Day and all it entails – along with some suggestions for navigating those potentially precarious waters without making your sweetie see red (except in a nice way, I mean). Guys, especially, listen up!
First, let’s all remember that St. Valentine’s Day was not created as a marketing gimmick by Greeting Card Companies, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It stems, instead, from tales of Christian martyrdom by a succession of St. Valentines in the very early church. Only in the 14th Century did February 14 – which was already celebrated as a religious feast day – become associated with Cupid, Chocolate, Flowers and other protestations of one’s love to one’s sweetie. Blame it all on Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the most celebrated authors of his time and a champion of ‘courtly love’, which was all the rage in his social circle. Now you know. Give the day the respect it deserves!
So, Guys, I want you to know that it’s okay to celebrate the day (should you choose to do so at all) in whatever way you want to.
And, being a Professional Food Person, I hasten to suggest that you focus on sharing a great meal with your sweetie rather than showering her with fattening Chockies, ephemeral Flowers, Perfumes (which she probably can’t wear anywhere, anyway, due to other people’s allergies), or – God forbid – elaborate Lingerie you fantasize about her wearing for you.
In support of the nobler alternative – a nice intimate meal – I offer the following notions…
Are oysters really an aphrodisiac?
I don’t know for sure. But don’t go out of your way to serve them unless you both like them. However, if you feel you must go the Oyster route, I suggest some version or other of Oysters Rockefeller. That’s a cooked Oyster, served on a half-shell with butter and wine sauce under it and a lovely crust of Bread Crumbs and other goodies on top. Melted Cheese with a good gooey ‘Cheese pull’ is also de rigueur.
But, perhaps your best option is to agree on a meal you both love and ‘do it up’ to the hilt!
Let’s say you both love Grilled Cheese. Don’t settle for a Saturday lunchtime Cheese-on-White Bread slab. Think big… Go for more than one kind of cheese. Provolone and Gruyere go nicely together, for example. Or change out the usual processed slice in favour of a nice Brie or Camembert. Add crispy Bacon or other cured meat delicasies, diced Hot Peppers and/or fresh Herbs of your choice. And, if in doubt, try topping the toppings with a nice runny-yolked sunny-side-up Egg. I know, it sounds crazy. But they do it with Burgers and Sandwiches on TV all the time!
Now… Think about the Bread. How about changing out the Same Old White Bread for Multi Grain, Caraway Rye or something equally nifty. Just stick with sliced breads. Rolls don’t work for Grilled Cheese – unless you’re aiming for some sort of Panini. But then you’re not really in Grilled Cheese Territory anymore. Choose your bread to match and enhance your fillings.
Remember: This isn’t work, it’s fun!
Oh, and always remember to Butter all sides of your Bread so you’ll get that nice crispy crust.
And the moral to the story is…
If you can turn a Grilled Cheese into a Valentine’s Day Dinner Delight, you can do it with anything! Let your imagination be your guide.
If you want to go out to a fancy restaurant and get the royal treatment – and you can justify the expense – go right ahead. But I’d still prefer a unique, intimate repast of my sweetie’s own cunning design.
And, for the record, I love Grilled Cheese…
~ Maggie J.