by John Ryan
Gentlemen, as a Valentine's Day veteran (I'm speaking as a former chef, waiter, and restaurant manager), I can assure you that the usual routine—dinner, flowers, and chocolates—benefits business more than it does Cupid. Starting the end of January florists, confectioners, and restaurateurs all mount an elaborate assault on guys everywhere. Trust me, they don't care about romance. They just want your money.
Granted, a lovely meal on Valentine's Day is a natural. But as far as Cupid is concerned, dinner's just an overture; flowers and chocolates...mere accessories.
Ideally you'd start the holiday with roses, candlelight and delicious food, but that's not the Valentine's reality. Unless you want a burger and large fries for dinner on the 14th, you can expect to be processed through a ridiculously expensive dinner package by a harried waiter. (And if you didn't make reservations for this treat three weeks ago, you can forget about it.)
All that might be okay for a first date, when both of you will be grateful for distractions, but when you're talking romance—the urgent, heaving stuff of cheap novels—you've got to think past dinner. You've got to envision the whole drama. And that includes breakfast. Rather than crowds and cufflinks, breakfast will find the two of you padding around the kitchen in slippers and bathrobes.
What's needed for the perfect epilogue is something simple but special—a bowl of cereal and instant coffee simply won't do. For such a breakfast I propose waffles and champagne cocktails. Then I suggest you clear your calendar for the rest of the day. Cupid will demand an encore.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This page created February 1999
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