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Courting Good Taste

Sometimes the best way to say “I love you” is with a meal that does the talking

by Amy Halloran on February 9, 2011

Though I’ve never been presented with a heart-shaped box of chocolates (hint, hint), I’ve been wooed by plenty of food. Who hasn’t? I especially remember the meals that flopped. The presentation of coffee at midnight, even if it was Kona, didn’t float my insomniac boat. I’m suspicious of bivalves, so ordering oyster stew for me while I freshened up had no charm. Only one person invited me to Pizza Hut, and that was in 1981. Couldn’t he tell from the way I never bought school lunch that I didn’t like other people’s food?

Moral of the story: Know me before you feed me. Show that knowledge in your choices, and you might steer your way to my heart. My husband made me buckwheat pancakes for my birthday this year. When I got up, the batter was ready and the griddle was hot. The love was edible, slathered with butter and maple syrup. We made dinner together that afternoon, a beef stew with coriander, ginger and garlic, butternut squash, celery root and carrots. Instead of cake, he made a peach pie.

He has courted me with lobsters in Maine and at home with the kids. He hid a garnet ring in a salad with pomegranate seeds. We’ve spent hours scouring odd markets for ingredients for perfect meals. Hours talking about food: how to grow, cook, or preserve most anything under the sun.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and the way to a woman’s heart is through her brain. Think with me about food. Help me salt the stew. Pick cherries for me in June, and pit them by the fire in January. When cooking for your Valentine, it really is the thought that counts.