the time frame:
2 days ahead:
If you are already well into a relationship with your loved one, then Valentine's Day isn't so much about the meal. Chances are you're already serving meals for your significant others every day of the week.
For you, it is about saying, 'This meal was an effort and a cost and I made that effort because I love you'. You need to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. It's about the setting.
Some people in our lives are so used to seeing us cook, care for and nourish them that it takes something dramatic to stop them in their tracks and make them realise it. (not that they don't appreciate it...they just don't necessarily know what goes into it)
If you have been in a relationship for some time, then chances are you have accumulated quite a bit of domestic baggage. So shelve the day-to-day dishes and haul out some of the good stuff:
Pull out the platters and dishes that you never use.
Wipe off the crystal flutes.
Haul out a vase.
Polish up some silverware.
You might serve the same roast chicken that you cook every Sunday, but make everyone at the table see it for what it is; a labor of love.
I wrote this page as the 'wife', but truly, it applies to any of us who've already done a few laps around Feb 14th with those we love.
I asked a recently divorced friend what he cooked when he had his son over and he shocked himself by saying, 'I've never cooked for him'.
Growing up we knew mum was in a bad way if we ever saw our dad in the kitchen. He only knew how to cook three meals.
They all involved mashed potatoes.
But I still find myself cooking these meals.
And I think of him with every mouthful.
The nostalgia that we attach to meals that have been cooked for us by loved ones is part of the spell that is cast in kitchens every day.
There is a magic in meal making.
And there lies the love.