This Valentine’s Day, don’t let the pressure get to you. Wish your sweetheart a “Happy Valetine’s Day” and stuff them with food and drink. Tenderly mutter words of love as they slurp spaghetti or slug back a beer and they’ll be boasting about your kindness at the cafeteria for weeks to follow. Only someone on an empty stomach or uncomfortably sober would identify the gesture as pandering, thoughtless and likely derived from a blog post. And if your valentine thinks your relationship is above commercial holidays (i.e., a cynic), they’re even more likely to swoon over your edible gesture.
“Love conquers all”? Not in my books. It’s food.
For the lazy valentine: A week of no cooking (or cleaning)
If you casually tease your lover about their inability to make their bed or wash their dishes, admit it: they’re lazy. Or, if you prefer euphemisms, they’re free-spirited. Either way a meal plan gift card is the key to their idle heart. Even if they don’t normally frequent the cafeteria, the freedom from groceries, cooking and cleaning will inspire them to load up on the daily lunch special or Friday night custom nachos.
For the sophisticated valentine: Quality pantry staples
Say your lover fills their iTunes with opera recordings, totes around non-school books and wears actual clothes—you know, more than underwear or pyjamas—for the majority of their day, you’re in a relationship with a sophisticate. Even if they’re not pompous enough to proclaim themselves a foodie, they appreciate cooking and understand it’s a pillar of adulthood. Present them with the best of the basics: olive oil, salt, pepper, or vinegar. Head to a specialty grocery store or perhaps even a butcher, fishmonger or bakery and let their staff guide you to the crème de la crème of pantry staples.
For the traditional valentine: Dinner and a movie
So your valentine is actually boring enough to believe in the hallmarks of February 14. Don’t fight it—instead be as boring. Treat them to dinner and movie. Now there’s no reason to overspend on such a traditional gesture. You’re a student, your lover shouldn’t expect a four-star meal at your age. So take them out to their favourite burger joint before curling up on the couch to a movie. Now you could at least stray beyond Netflix and rent a movie online. It’s not as expensive as a trip to the cinema, but not as mundane as everyday streaming. Should your valentine appear disappointed with your pocket-friendly Valentine’s Day, describe your choice as “quirky,” “youthful” and “fun” and compare it to the dime store scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Your relationship hopefully doesn’t last long enough to establish a pattern of cheapness.
For the homebody valentine: cocoa and brownies in bed
Unlike the sophisticated valentine, yours rarely strays from the couch. They consider a bag of potato chips and an episode of Game of Thrones an exciting night. Thank yourself for selecting such an easygoing specimen. You lucky son of a gun. Embrace your beloved homebody by whipping up a batch of homemade hot chocolate and brownies and snuggle up under the covers.
Homemade Hot Chocolate For Two (adapted from epicurious.com)
2 cups whole milk
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
4 jumbo marshmallows
- Whisk ¼ cup milk with cocoa powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved.
- Add the remaining milk and continue to whisk until warm. Serve in mugs and top with marshmallows.
One-Bowl Brownies (adapted from kraftrecipes.com)
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 350 F and butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted.
- Pour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and then flour.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.