Ah, February. The month of overhyped romance, Hallmark hate, and, for some, desperate bids for a last-minute date. As you can see, Valentine’s Day tends to be fraught with lots of feelings. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead, I think a better way to pay homage to this traditionally romantic day is to celebrate food and good eating with everyone. Because guess what?
Food = love
In many cultures around the world, food is a fundamental way of showing love and care for someone. You can make food for them, take them out for food, or share your own food that you have. However you look at it, food is fundamental to us as humans. And so is love. By that logic then, food = love.
Sure, you may not love food the same way you love your significant other (though I would personally beg to differ #sorrynotsorry). But who said love is only reserved for a romantic partner? You probably love your family, your close friends, your pets, and heck, maybe your plants too. Now, I understand the special-ness of having a special day to celebrate that special someone. But I happen to wholeheartedly believe in a little cliché that says everyday should be Valentine’s Day with your partner. And let’s be real— if we can agree to celebrate everyone we love in one go, that saves you the trouble of having to have other separate celebrations for your loved ones.*
*That’s not to say days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day aren’t important and therefore can be overlooked. I’m just saying this is an opportunity to be more inclusive with love here.
So how would a foodie propose to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
1. Think about what you really want to eat.
This is the perfect excuse to go to that new restaurant you’ve been eyeing or try a recipe that involves a little more effort than your usual weeknight cooking. Whatever you choose to do, the important thing is that you get to eat something you’ve really been looking forward to.
2. Go the extra mile.
If the new restaurant you’ve been eyeing happens to also be a Michelin-starred, four-dollar-signs kind of place, go ahead. Splurge. If you’re at the grocery store debating whether you should get your normal cut of meat or the pricier cut, go ahead. Splurge. Enjoyable eating to me is as much about the taste of the food as it is about the experience and the food quality. So go ahead! Splurge. That being said…
3. Do your homework.
Just as consumers have gotten smarter, so have food businesses. Lots of restaurants will serve special limited menus for holidays, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. I wouldn’t recommend places that ONLY give you a set menu option, as I’ve been burned by those before on other holidays. I appreciate when restaurants have a special menu available, but don’t restrict you from ordering off their regular menu.
4. (Optional) Gather your fellow foodies and/or loved ones if they can make it.
I know not everyone has the privilege or the opportunity to be with all their loved ones, particularly on a day that’s not an actual federal holiday. So in the event that this is difficult or impossible to do, I would opt for getting your foodie friends together to celebrate (assuming they are on board with this whole celebrate food situation). However, if you just prefer to eat solo, more power (and food) to you.
This one should hopefully be common sense, but eating food should be an enjoyable and relaxing affair as much as possible. And to that end, if you’re actually out on a date, you should also relax as much as possible. After all, what’s the point of being on one if you’re not relaxed and enjoying yourself? (Though I admit there are dates that may be particularly challenging to do so, especially if you’re just getting to know someone.)
As for me, given that this year’s Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, I’m opting for takeout pizza and a night in with my boyfriend. It just didn’t feel particularly worth braving the Friday night crowds for, which are sure to be even worse on this kind of day. No matter how you choose to spend it, I hope everyone gets to enjoy good food, good company, and good vibes.
Happy Valentine’s Day, foodie friends.