Cooking at Home for Valentine’s Day
And 11 Ways to Make It a Success!
As far as holidays go, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a mess. The holiday has been known to inflate expectations—and when poorly executed, it can cast doubt onto even the happiest relationships. This special day can put forgetful partners in a tough spot and send single people into an existential crisis. But also, it is one of the busiest evenings in the restaurant business. Even if you do have a reservation, be prepared to wait for your table as hosts and servers run around in a panic because they no longer have any “tables for two.”
There is a solution though. With enough care and forethought, cooking a special meal at home can be even more memorable (and romantic) than a crowded Italian restaurant.
Here are a few tips for a successful Stay-at-Home Valentine’s Day:
1. Don’t make it a surprise.
It’s tempting to want to surprise your partner. Off comes the blindfold! “Ta-da! We’re eating a dinner I prepared at home.” The candlelight, nice music. It sounds romantic, yes? However, since eating out for Valentine’s Day is such a common practice, it might be wise to prepare them for something different. And giving your partner something to anticipate can be better (and safer) than a surprise, which might throw them off.
2. Send the kids away.
Parents know that a dinner date with the kids is not a date at all. It’s regular dinner. Valentine’s Day is a big day for restaurants. It’s an even bigger day for babysitters. Make sure you schedule a babysitter far enough ahead. If possible, get them out of the house.
3. Make it an easy meal to prepare.
Nothing ruins a romantic dinner at home more than the stress associated with preparing an overly complicated meal. Everything tastes great, but now you’re mildly annoyed about something that didn’t go quite right. For Valentine’s Day, keep it simple. Limit your ingredients and prep time. We have many Saladmaster recipes that fit these criteria.
4. Prepare something different from your usual choices.
An easy recipe doesn’t mean a typical one. You should try something new. If you’re worried about cooking a meal you haven’t tried before, there’s no harm in practicing a few days before.
5. Relocate from where you normally eat dinner.
If you usually eat in the kitchen, move to the dining room or set up a smaller table in the living room. Anywhere in the house could work, especially if it’s a nice room and has space available. One thing that will help is…
Do I even need to mention candlelight? Every romantic Valentine’s Day dinner needs candlelight. It can set the mood better than almost anything. It’s that extra touch, which says, “Who needs to go out?”
7. Don’t forget the flowers.
Since you’re saving money by not going out, you might as well spend a little extra on flowers. Roses are a timeless classic, but it’s also good to learn your partner’s favorite flower. While the grocery store is fine for last minute flowers, a local florist can create some amazing arrangements if you give them an idea of what you want.
8. Be present.
Nothing is more important than this bit of advice. Everything else can go wrong, but if you’re truly present, the evening can be a success. Being present means putting away your phone. It means actively listening and not rambling on about superficial topics. Avoid complaining about work or politics. You don’t need to fill in every silent moment. Enjoy your food and enjoy being with the person across from you.
9. Prepare something thoughtful to say.
You don’t need to turn it into a state of the union address. But you should think about what you’d like to say. Valentine’s Day would be a rather empty holiday, if we didn’t take the opportunity to let the people we care about know how we feel.
10. Nothing says “I love you” quite like dessert.
You may be full from dinner. But on this day of all days, you should save some room for dessert. Chocolate Covered Strawberries are a good option, and they can be easily prepared in the MP5.
11. Go for a walk (weather permitting).
The evening doesn’t have to end with dessert. If your February 14th isn’t too chilly, it’s always good to go for a walk after dinner. The conversation can continue. And it provides more opportunities for you to connect with your partner.
A memorable Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank. Sometimes the best moments are the simplest ones.