I am not working at the restaurant tonight. And that makes me very, very happy.
This is the first Valentine's Day in years that I have not spent behind the apron, popping champagne and smiling obligatorily at guests, pretending the kitchen and the entire restaurant behind me wasn't going down in flames. For that reason alone, I have abhorred this holiday for years. It always meant money, sure, but hard-won money that was never really quite worth all of the blood, sweat, and misery it took to get there.
Tonight, instead of trying to make a bunch of high-maintenance yuppie couples feel special as they pretend to enjoy each other's company on a Hallmark night, I am spending the evening at home alone with the Mathematician. We are cooking dinner for each other. He is making the main course, a roast, and I am making the starters and dessert: bacon wrapped dates (thanks to Orinoco for the inspiration), arugula dressed with balsamic purchased at the Mercato Centale in Florence for like 80 euro or something ridiculous like that, caprese salad with the amazing bufala from the Butcher Shop, and caramelized banana crepes from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way. It's little more than a typical Thursday night, the biggest difference being that I'm letting us eat fatty food and cooking almost everything in butter.
And I could not be happier.
Happy Valentine's Day!