Can you feel the love?
Well you should, because Grant and I are now celebrating 5 happy years of being together. Perhaps this is more shocking than me taking organic chemistry? Grant is a saint. He still doesn’t know I cook with onions.
Since we’re talking about romance and chemistry, I’ve got to let you know there’s a lot of chemistry between Grant and I.
Yes. Rather than a date, I will spend Valentine’s Day in Chemistry room 103 from 7-9 pm taking my first organic chemistry exam. That’s how much I love food. My nutrition nuptial has guided me away from a Valentine’s feast and instead, crammed into a stadium of 300 other miserable health science majors.
What, no reservations?! Thank god.
Call me crazy but I’d rather be drawing orgo functional groups than taking on any Valentine’s restaurant dysfunctional group.
What exactly is romantic about eating from a mediocre menu (chef’s slammed) spitting distance away from obnoxiously perfumed amateurs? No but really. Who wants to spend a supposed intimate evening with hordes of other couples? Your waiter’s mood sucks. And your date’s expectations are usually as high as the wine mark-up… and rarely met.
Bon Appetit agrees:
“Never, ever go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. Why? It’s amateur night. Picture hundreds of people going through airport security who haven’t flown in 15 years and you get the idea. Oh, and the staff are cranky (Who wants to be around all that romance?) Makes that $36 prix fixe seem like less of a deal, right?” – BA
I’m not a date hater. I just have a slew of reasons why we opt for a home-cooked meal on Valentine’s Day. On most days for that matter. In fact, we try to limit eating out to once a week. Now it’s my job to try to talk you into it.
Recipe for love
What’s love? A from scratch meal that requires inspiration, time, imagination, motivation, planning, generosity, creativity and expression. Very few things measure up to the thoughtfulness of a heart and hand crafted date (and you both get to put down a bottle of wine without the pressure of stepping up to be designated driver). Even better, cook together.
You’ve got (survival) skills
If you can cook, you’re self sufficient. You can make decisions. That’s attractive. Cooking is a lost art. A desirable rarity. Not everyone is lucky enough to find a mate that can cook. Show it off. Show your lover you’re brilliant by creating a meal that incorporates all disciplines: art, science, math, reading and most importantly, good taste and judgment. Cooking is survival. It’s sexy. Real men cook.
“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.” Napolean Dynamite
Restaurants are a treat
I love exploring restaurants and indulging in downtown desserts. But we try to reserve them as treats. When restaurants become regular and routine, they start to lose their magic. When I was younger, eating out was special. In attempt to preserve the specialness of restaurants, Grant and I vow to try to eat out once a week. Knowing we only get one treat a week, we select restaurants with menus we know we can’t match in our kitchen. Dishes-less date nights have never been so appreciated. And my jeans have never fit so well.
With all the money we’re saving from eating out less, we’re buying better groceries and making killer meal plans. We know you’re busy. We’re busy too. How do we pull it off? We designate a part of our Sunday to meal planning for the whole week. It requires work upfront, but pays off during the week when you’re more stretched for time. We create a calendar that maps out efficient use of leftovers and spare groceries. Benefits?
- Illustrating your weekly menu helps you visualize nutrient intake. Are we getting enough protein? Vegetables? Fruit?
- Saves time by eliminating daily trips to the grocery store.
- Keeps budget in check
- No more “What are we doing for dinner?” arguments.
There’s a bunch of meal planning tools out there, but I just use this template. It works just fine.
Save your heart
What about and well done animal flesh and fudge with a shelf life says “Happy Valentine’s Day”? Unhappy Valentine’s Day if you consider the heart burn (the wrong kind of heart burn). That goes for a lot of restaurant food.
I’m not saying that every restaurant serves unhealthy food. But when restaurants like Cheesecake Factory prove they have the ability to pack 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 milligrams of sodium into something sounding as harmless as Bistro Shrimp Pasta, it’s hard not to wonder if they’re all bad guys out to get us.
There’s a reason eating out is often cited as the main source of an unhealthy lifestyle. According to USA Today, there’s a better than 9 in 10 chance that your restaurant entrée fails to meet federal nutrition recommendations for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat. That’s alarming.
This has been proven by the correlation between America’s eating out habit and obesity epidemic. Restaurants strive to make irresistible dishes so you come back. Butter, sugar, cream, salt. They are interested in your wallet, not your health. Where exactly did you think “saucy” “creamy” “sizzling” goes in your body?
So when people ask me “What’s the 1 thing I can do to lose weight?” I tell them to start taking responsibility for their meals. Prepare your own food. Know exactly what food you’re putting in your body. Know where your food comes from.
You can reclaim your health and weight by simply being in control of your home menu.
Save your heart this Valentine’s Day.