I’m changing the focus of Valentines day.
Forcing someone to say “I Love You” is about as meaningful as buying your own Grammy on eBay and pretending you actually won. The entitlement and expectation take all of the romance out of it. In just the same way that the show The Biggest Loser has had more successful marriages than The Bachelor series has, some things just cant be forced.
My husband and I did away with giving into the societal expectation years ago, much preferring to go out to dinner on nights that don’t include 2 hour waits and $65 pre fixe menus. He’s romantic in the little ways, negating my need for Valentines day pageantry. He will “borrow”my car in order to take it to get washed and the oil changed. He’ll get up with Tater on a Saturday and let me sleep in. When I’ve had a hard day he’ll do the dishes, giving me time to play blocks with Tater instead of spend what little time I have after work in the kitchen.
Now that I have a daughter, the focus of Valentines day is more fun and childish, more of the cartoon that it has become, and I like it that way. I buy Tater a bag of Valentines Day toys, and write her a card about how much I love her. I look forward to helping with her elementary school Valentines Days, the decorated shoe box receptacles, the paper cards, the drama of who wrote “XOXO” and who just signed their names. The sorting out of conversation hearts according to what is ok to give the boys and what is not. Because, everyone who has been a 3rd grader knows that slipping candy with messages on them into paper envelops is a big deal. And when you are required to give one to everyone in the class, even the boys you can’t stand and the boys you just pretend like you can’t stand, everyone know that you NEVER give a “Kiss Me” heart to a boy! Seriously, tragedy would in sue. Because you will also be reading every single heart that is the envelopes you got from the boys with the secret hopes that the boy who sits behind you didn’t just give you the “Nice Day” heart but intentionally slipped the “Be Mine” candy into the envelope with your name on it. In 3rd grade, risking possible social, school yard torture via teasing to let the little girl who sits in front of you know you like her is so romantic.
When you grow up, and have kids and a house and a job, romance is different. It’s the consideration that tends to wain as we grow comfortable with each other. Romance is that person who has woken up next to you for years actually seeing you. As special and important and desireable. It’s someone feeling lucky to be the one who wakes up in your bed, and eat the food you make and parent along side you.
Romance isn’t feeling required to bring home red flowers on the second week February, it’s running to the store late at night for flour because we’re out your wife is behind on blog posts.
Even though Valentines day is in the middle of the week this year, and like me, you may have about 20 minutes between the time you get home from work and the time your family is expecting to be fed, this dish takes about that much time. But it feels special. Crab Alfredo in 15 minutes.
3 tbs butter
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs, plus 2 tsp flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch Cayenne pepper
6 oz crab meat, drained well
salt and pepper to taste
Pasta for serving
(makes two large or four small servings)
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a skillet over medium/high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and stir, allowing to cook for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and whisk until well combined with the butter, don’t allow to brown. Add the milk and cream and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, cayenne and cheese, cooking until the cheese has melted. Add the crab meat, stir until the crab is warmed up and remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too thick, add milk about 1 tbs at a time to thin.
Serve over pasta.