Food brings people together. A great deal of bonding can happen over a pot of soup, but when one person wants chicken noodle while the other wants vegetable, it can turn into a food fight - and not of the John Belushi variety.
Couples expect the normal relationship woes – sex, money, respect – but with the growing prevalence of dietary restrictions and interfaith marriages, the kitchen is increasingly turning into an all out turf war.
This shouldn't be a surprise, says psychotherapist Karen Koenig – food is an "anything-but-simple subject."
Whether you're coupled-up for the long haul, feeling the first flush of love or rolling footloose and fancy-free, you've still gotta eat on February 14, right? Here's our best advice for satisfying appetites of all sorts.
Tales from the Trenches
Once upon a time, I had a perfect romantic meal. It was ten years ago, but that doesn't much matter. The restaurant, by design, existed outside of time – mid-century French fanciness, untouched by fad or fashion. It seemed not outside the realm of possibility that the same tuxedoed waiters had been escorting the same fresh-faced and helium-bosomed young ladies (and their uncomfortably collared "uncles") to starched and sumptuous banquettes since the restaurant's opening in 1960, and that the maitre d' had air-kissed the same doyenne's surgically-taut cheek with the exact vim and deference he had since the year her Chanel suit was new.
It was Valentine's Day, and for a girl who frequently sported combat boots and a battle-scarred heart, this was as close to Hollywood l'amour as I'd ever gotten. In previous Februaries, I'd poured my heart into handmade cards, meticulously-chosen poetry volumes (and the occasional glass of single malt for myself), and had received, on various occasions a power drill, "I dunno - where do you wanna eat?", "Oh shoot...we're doing this?" and inevitably the bill for whatever entertainment ensued.
Valerie Payne is a media producer at CNN
Food and sex make natural bedfellows, according to C. Nzingha Smith, author of "Lust-Have Recipes: IN-Gredients for Stimulation.” Her cookbook, co-written with caterer Melissa Roberts, is packed with sensual recipes, erotic poetry and sex tips inspired by real-life couples.
According to Smith, "Couples need to find different ways to arouse and turn each other on and translate that into the bedroom." Each recipe in the book contains some type of aphrodisiac ingredient, which she describes as "stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement."
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. If everything goes right, then you have a happy romantic night out with your loved one, and wake the following morning to songbirds chirping, the sun caressing you with buttery light, a suffusion of love in your heart, and no hangover at all. If things go wrong, then you get a night full of misery, anger, disappointment, shame, betrayal, and tears, but what did you expect? That's what dating is all about.
Here’s the deal, though: It didn’t have to be this way. I blame Pope Gelasius I. Back in 496, in a frenzy of popely goody-two-shoes-ness, Gelasius banned the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, when noble youths would run through the city naked, striking people they met with shaggy thongs made of goat-hide, and substituted Valentine’s Day in its place.
Go figure, right? I mean, come on. Which would you rather have, a city full of crazy naked youths running around smacking people with thongs, or a dopey card with a heart on it? Uh-huh. You got that right.
Be that as it may, Lupercalia is gone, Valentine’s Day is here, and no matter what your romantic situation is, you’re undoubtedly going to need a drink. Here are five suggestions to match some possible Valentine’s Day activities.
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