I love my Valentine. I love the holiday to celebrate my Valentine. I love, love. I’m a bit of a minority I think. Chatting with friends over the last couple of days made me realize a lot of people out there don’t like the holiday as it seems too Madison Avenue. Over-rated like New Year’s resolutions. Contrived. I get it. Who wants love tossed into a ready-made teddy bear made in China? Who wants to leave it up to Hallmark to tell your lovey how much they mean to you? I don’t. Even with a family of boys, I don’t want my honey bears to get the plastic version of Valentine’s Day either. I gotta be me.
I like to show love through cooking. Before kids, that’s how hubby and I celebrated: Sipping champagne while making chicken and prosciutto shell pasta with tarragon cream sauce in our San Francisco apartment at 1715 Beach Street. Valentine’s Day used to bring pouring rain, like snow on Christmas day, pre-Global warming. We welcomed the rain. Loved it, at the risk of sounding trite on a day for romance. It felt loving to hunker down in our tiny, glowing kitchen, clinking champagne flutes on a gray, drizzly night in the City of Love, on Valentine’s Day.
Fast forward to kids. How can we get a sitter on Valentine’s Day so we can go out to dinner? We did what we knew. We kept on cooking. Our whole family cooks and dines on Valentine’s Day. We’ve been at it for sixteen years now so the boys expect it. This year is a little different as my oldest, the sixteen-year-old had his wisdom teeth out, February 13th. I wasn’t planning much for the weekend thinking I will be a nurse, not a cook. Then my younger one asked specifically what the plan was for Valentine’s Day. He thought lobster from China Town, our tradition for the most part. Lobster Bisque for the patient will work nicely.
As much as we hate to follow the crowd in our house, on Valentine’s, we still do flowers and chocolate. I’m kind of retro and like the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. My mom always got a box. I know. Besides eating the chocolates with her, I have a collection of silk scarves from my mom that she stored in a leftover Russell-Stover red heart box from her sweetheart. (She jokingly called Russell Stover her boyfriend.) I never got a red box, ever, growing up, so I started buying little ones for my boys. This year, in consideration of my poor sixteen-year-old suffering from wisdom tooth extraction, I got a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Chocolate Therapy.”
Hubby comes through always, with flowers. He skips roses; he knows me. I like freshness. Creativity. Friday night, the night before Valentine’s, he pulls up in front of the house. I jokingly asked him if he needed help carrying in anything since he’s coming from an acupuncture appointment, not the grocery store.
“No. Wait. Yes. Yes I do.” he says happily. He passes off a beautiful and unique bouquet of flowers. A newish shop in town, Floret, sent an awesome arrangement to me for my birthday, courtesy of my friend Alicia from Savvy Girl and now living in Houston. My hubby went to Floret for Valentine’s. “They are so cute! It’s two young girls who’ve only been at flower-arranging for two years. I told them no roses or carnations.” Their favorite, “Anemone. Wait until you see them open!” (The red ones in the photo.) I got French tulips too.
If food is a love language, flowers are a close second. No wonder I love this holiday and my hubby who loves food, flowers and me.
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