Will you be cooking a romantic dinner for a loved one this Friday? Or perhaps treating yourself to a special solo meal, no partner necessary? This week we are talking to chefs, food writers and bloggers about their ideal Valentine's Day menus, and whether you're married, single, or it's complicated, we'll be sharing ideas for all kinds of cooks, from the hopeless romantic to the die-hard cynic.
Today Michael Procopio, the man behind the James-Beard-Award-nominated blog Food for the Thoughtless, talks about his plans for a solo Valentine's Day evening and shares his best advice for enjoying a blissful evening alone — this Friday or any other night of the year.
Describe your ideal Valentine's Day meal.
An ideal meal for Valentine's Day would need to be sophisticated enough to show that the preparer has made an effort, but not so much so that the recipient of the meal feels somehow obligated to put out. However, the meal itself should not be so labor-intensive as to render the preparer too tired to put out. There must be a happy medium between the two. And there must be champagne.
What's on the menu this year?
As a (happily) single man who has his first Valentine's Day evening free in years, I plan on spending the evening singly in peace and quiet. The menu will be simple: A bottle of Champagne, a small dish of Italian prunes, and a plate of cheese and nuts. I'll be exhausted when I come home from work, so I don't want to tire myself further by cooking an elaborate meal. And I want to be certain I have enough energy to put out, should the occasion present itself.
What is your best piece of advice for enjoying Valentine's Day as a single guy or gal?
My best advice is to just enjoy the day. And if you're worried about not having a date for Valentine's Day, just look in the mirror — your special someone is right there. I will follow my own advice and spend the evening immersed in self-love. When I get home from work, I'll pop open the bottle of Pol Roger I've got stashed in the fridge, artfully arrange the components of my meal on a plate, grab my favorite book, draw myself a hot bath, and enjoy my dinner half-submerged. When either the bottle of Champagne is empty or parts of my body begin to resemble the prunes resting at my elbow, I will stop reading Mrs. Packletide's Tiger and exit the tub. I'll finish the evening by slipping into bed to watch my favorite scene in Gone With the Wind — the last one — in which Rhett Butler finally wises up and leaves his emotionally abusive wife and walks into the mist to start living his own life again.
I shall cheer wildly and hope I don't wake the neighbors.