Even though you may not spend much time cooking in the kitchen, wouldn’t you like to treat your love to an easy, delectable and romantic dinner? A special meal is not just about food- it is about the effort and meaning that goes into it. These ideas will make it easy for you to create a memorable meal for Valentine’s Day, or any other time when you want to show someone your love.
Remember when you made a homemade card for your first girlfriend or boy friend and they were so happy they couldn’t stop smiling? You couldn’t figure out what you did that was so great but as you got older you began to realize that giving is best when we give not just ‘things’, but when we give of ourselves. Valentine’s Day is a perfect holiday to give to others by doing something special.
Make it Easy on Yourself
What kind of meal you want- brunch or dinner? Write down your menu and all ingredients from your recipes you’ll need in an organized way. List the stores you need to shop at.
What do you want to serve? Keep it simple – have 3 or 4 items, and not everything has to be homemade. Cook an easy recipe. Get a great dessert -go out and buy the most decadent chocolate cake you can find, or find fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate from your local candy store.
Choose food that your partner likes, not just what you like. This shows that you have put a lot of thought in to this and care, which is the point, right?
Be sure to start several days in advance. If you save everything for the day of the celebration, you’ll be frazzled and in not much of a mood to enjoy this time together.
Remember that this is about Love, not Technique
As with other activities associated with love, cooking does not have to be totally perfect. If something does not come out in time, or if it doesn’t look exactly like the picture in the cookbook, relax. Stay in the mood you set out to create- being grumpy or upset defeats the purpose. Laugh and have fun!
It’s the Total Feeling – Ambiance Counts
Setting your table is important in creating the mood you want to set, which is romance. Use your nicest dishes, silverware and the best, sparkling glasses or crystal you can get.
Choose a color scheme. You may want to use a white tablecloth and add color with the napkins and candles, or two beautiful place mats with matching or contrasting colors. For example, red or soft pink on a white background, with a small container of white flowers and lots of red votive candles looks beautiful.
Turn off the cell phone. Keep music soft and tender, but not so slow that it makes you want to fall asleep.
Just Show That You Care
Show your genuine love in what you say and do. That is what will come across as caring. The fact that you took the time to make this event happen, that you cooked a few things, mostly from scratch, will help this to be a beautiful memory for both of you!
REMEMBER OTHERS WHO MAY BE ALONE
This holiday is really geared to couples – and I want to suggest that you also included others- reach out for someone who may be alone. An elderly neighbor, or someone who has been recently widowed or divorced, someone who is ill and can surely use a lift. It is amazing how a call, a card, a little plant such as a yellow primrose , a pink or red cyclamen, or forced-bulb lavender hyacinth or tulip, will make everyone feel a little better! Most of these treats are under $5.00, but think of the joy that someone will get by this unexpected gesture of love.
AND REMEMBER THE KIDs
Not just with candy but also with a hand-written card, a lunch out together, making a Valentine’s craft such as construction paper and doily hearts to put in the windows, making cupcakes and decorating with all those yummy red candies and icing. Make some time to do this now because they are out on their own all too quickly.
Enjoy your day of love
Marybeth Gregg has been cooking, entertaining and giving cooking advice for almost 20 years. She is well-known for her wonderful cuisine, great parties and started her successful cooking school several years ago. She has been featured in many newspapers, and is currently working on publishing a cookbook and a series of video tapes and dvd’s of cooking lessons. Marybeth has a monthly newsletter full of seasonal cooking tips, recipes and entertaining advice. You can visit her athttp://www.girlfriendsinthekitchen.com.