Home Cooking for Valentine's Day

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Last week a friend asked me which of two very high-end restaurants in New York he should pick for a date with his wife that night. I gave my opinion and asked what they were celebrating.

"Valentine's Day; we go before the rush."

That's really smart, I thought. I made a joke about buying roses early too, before they double in price. Then I got to thinking about what is all means anyway.

Eating is one of the most intimate acts there is, so it makes sense that we arrange our romantic schedules around it. It also makes sense that when we really want to focus on each other, we go out to dinner and let someone else chop the onions and wash the dishes. However, there's a bunch of pressure attached to a big meal out on Valentine's Day: the multi-course pre-fixe menus, forced violin serenades, and overpriced flowers, it's just not my ideal of a perfect romantic experience.

To me, cooking a meal for someone and feeding it to them is the ultimate in food intimacy. You can use your hands, take your time, and get messy. You can put your knife down and kiss. You can get up in the middle of the meal and dance.

How many of you will cook tonight? I wonder if you'll let your mascara run as you chop onions, and let your honey wrap their arms around you from behind as you wash the dishes together. Or maybe you'll leave them for the morning.

Whomever you love -- your lover, your brother, your daughter or your mother -- I hope you can share food with them in some way today. It's an offering of love, from the deepest place, as it is every single time you cook.

Happy Valentine's Day from all us home cooks at The Kitchn.

Related: Ten Recipes for Two

(image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.