Why You Should Make Valentine’s Day Dinner Together (Even if Neither of You Cook)

Oh, hello Internet. It has been a while.

I was looking back through my blog posts and realized that, as much as I have been wont to neglect this blog at other points in the year, I have written a Valentine’s Day-themed post every year for the past three years. And I do not mean to break that trend this year.

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. I was the girl in high school who would bring a cake to lunch, frosted and all, on a random school day just because I’d had an impulse to bake the night before (Shout out to all my high school friends who I made my guinea pigs.) For me, cooking is a constructive way to relax at the end of a stressful week, and I’m always looking for new recipes to try.

This is my first Valentine’s Day in several years that I’m in a relationship (tee hee.) While going all out for your special someone and buying them an expensive dinner is awesome, the thought of spending a ton of money on a meal you may not even like didn’t appeal to me. So my boyfriend and I made our own V-Day dinner, and it was more special and romantic than anything I could have ordered at a restaurant.

If you’re reading this thinking, “That’s great, Vicky, but neither me nor my partner is exactly Wolfgang Puck/Julia Child/insert celebrity chef’s name here,” I hear you. However, here is my list of reasons to take a step outside of your comfort zone and make your Valentine’s Day dinner extra special for someone you love (Note: It totally doesn’t have to be a romantic partner; cook for your best friend, your roommates, anyone. Or even treat yo’self. Who doesn’t like food?!)

1. It’s a chance to put your Pinterest board to use.

Am I the only one who finds that a good 40% of my Facebook news feed is comprised of cooking videos? I’m not complaining, but I find so many amazing recipes browsing through my various social media feeds that I almost never try. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to scroll through your Pinterest board to find that one recipe you’ve been dying to try.

If the thought of decoding a big fancy recipe makes you too nervous to eat, don’t worry. There are so many easy and delicious recipes for one-pot or one-pan dinners that don’t require slaving in the kitchen all day. (In case you’re wondering, we made beef wellington using this super straightforward recipe from Tasty, brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes.)

There is a recipe out there for every taste, budget, and skill level, so get creative!

2. You can avoid all the crowded restaurants and annoying couples (which are totally not you two.)

If you are somehow gifted in the art of scoring restaurant reservations on a busy night without waiting until 9pm, please teach me your ways. But even if I go out to eat on another night besides Valentine’s Day, I’m not a fan of screaming across the table at my date just to hear them over the ruckus. While I have so much respect for restaurant employees that work as hard as they can during busy hours, I would prefer to have a dinner where we can have a normal conversation and eat on our own schedule. And not have to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with a couple in the middle of an argument. Awkward.

3. Your wallets will thank you.

Speaking of restaurants on Valentine’s Day, most of them ain’t cheap. Even if a restaurant is reasonably priced, dinner plus drinks plus maybe dessert adds up. Side note: don’t be that guy who doesn’t tip your server, on Valentine’s Day or otherwise. When my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping for our V-Day dinner, we ended up spending way less than we would have at a restaurant and had a really fun date in the process. Plus, we had plenty of leftovers for our lunches the next week. 

4. It’s an exercise in teamwork.

You know the cliche relationship advice, “You never truly know someone until you travel with them”? Cooking with your partner is a much cheaper microcosm of that theory. When you have a common goal (i.e. a semi-edible meal), it fosters communication, trust, and compromise. You get a glimpse into how your partner solves problems, handles stress, and acts as a leader. And on a much more basic level, you learn what their food preferences and cooking styles are. For example, I learned that while I add salt and pepper to the whole pot of mashed potatoes, my boyfriend prefers to let people add their own seasonings to taste. Maybe I’m just new to the whole personalized mashed potatoes thing, but it was something I never would have known about him had we not cooked together.

5. Even if your dinner burns to a crisp, it’s a memory shared.

No matter how inedible the fruits (and veggies) of your labor are, cooking together to celebrate is sure to be a wonderful memory for you and your partner. And there’s nothing better than laughing about your charred lasagna over pizza and beers. 

No matter what your plans are, whether you’re celebrating romantic love or any other type of love, I’m wishing you une bonne Saint Valentin! 

– À bientôt!

Vicky

Question of the Week: What is your favorite recipe to make and share with others? Tell me in the comments; I just might have to try it!

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Hundred Word Reviews: “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle

Challenge No. 4: A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted to Visit

“A Year in Provence,” by Peter Mayle, finished May 3. It’s set in France. Of course I want to go there.

Hundred Word Review: In the late 1980s, Peter Mayle and his wife, Jennie, left the corporate rat race of England behind and bought a 200-year-old farmhouse in the sprawling countryside of Provence. This memoir details their first year in the village of Ménerbes, where they encounter bitter winter winds, moochy summer tourists, and laissez-faire construction workers. But there’s also mouthwatering regional cuisine, interesting new friends, and stunning scenery. It’s clear why this book is a classic piece of travel writing. If you love France, food, and richly detailed, funny writing, gobble this book up and wash it down with a glass of rosé.

Check out PopSugar’s challenge and let me know in the comments if you have a book recommendation for one of the categories. And if you want to do the challenge yourself, let me know what you’re reading!

Next up, “a nonfiction book.”

Happy reading!

Vicky