A Valentine to Dinner in Front of a (Big) TV: A February Letter from the Editor
It has been a standing joke in my household that my husband can rarely surprise me. This isn’t mean-spirited in the least; a great deal of what I love about my husband is his lack of surprise in all the things that really matter: he is a faithful, loving, and punctual caretaker of his family. His reliability and kindness run so deep, I am no longer surprised by their continual presence. My husband is also generous to a fault, sticking with my always-predictable and circumscribed holiday wish lists. Until this year, that is, when he acted out the great American Christmas morning show of dragging up a perfectly enormous box from the basement, covered in our last scraps of wrapping paper. It was, to my absolute hilarity, an enormous television.
Not, you understand, a terribly extravagant TV, but a big one (it was this very reasonably-priced 49-inch TCL Roku model). We had slowly crept into TV land after abiding with our laptops and a tiny screen for years, feeling morally superior for having no TV in the living room. That silliness is over; the second I had a baby and needed to spend hours sitting and nursing I bought a television and watched hours upon hours of the Great British Baking Show, the only thing mild and warm enough to soothe my rattled new mother nerves.
Lately I had grumbled about watching some of our favorite shows, especially big sci-fi epics like The Expanse and The Mandalorian, on a tiny TV. He took this to heart and as a hilarious, silly surprise, spent my Christmas gift budget on a huge TV to hit me right where I crave entertainment, the brief hour we get of stories at night between sending a few more emails, and going up to shush little children. Television, for all its inanity and problems, is where some of the best storytelling is happening and, to be perfectly frank, in this busy phase of life, where I like to curl up and have dinner a couple nights a week. Especially now, in February, the month of gloom and chill, it’s so lovely to just hibernate with a good show, a bowl of something delicious, and my sweet, still-surprising husband, and let our minds relax.
Can you relate? If so, this week, Watch Week, is for you — the week between the Super Bowl and the Oscars, a week to catch up on prestige TV and to remember old favorites, of chatter about our favorite television of the past year (and far beyond: hello Buffy!). Food and TV are inextricably linked, from the food ads that have influenced our buying habits to the shows that we nestle down with in the evenings, dinner in hand. (Speaking of which, here are ten favorite dinners for watching TV. That hummus is on my hit list.)
This month is also the month of VALENTINE’S, in its retro cheesy glory, and I think that this year I want nothing more for Valentine’s than a great bottle of red wine, some past seasons of Doctor Who, and a cuddle on the couch with my sweet partner. If a good dinner at home and a night on the couch sounds like the best idea ever, look out for the sweetest treats and our ultimate steakhouse dinner, coming this week and next.
February is a month to enjoy your couch, to revel in escapism from the gloom, and to remember that sharing stories together is part of what makes us families. Watching The Mandalorian (and observing my kids’ total obsession with Baby Yoda, even though they don’t watch the show!) makes me remember my own childhood, watching Star Wars in my parents’ basement, eating popcorn on the floor, tangled up in a blanket with my brothers and sisters, and forming experiences together of the stories we love. Sure, there’s more to life than television, but in February, it’s a part of ours. Happy Valentine’s, however you celebrate it.
You know where to find me,