You’ve heard of dinner and a movie. Here’s my version: dinner and a story. I gave you the recipe for my creamy roasted garlic mashed potatoes earlier this week. Serve those with this saucy honey apple pork tenderloin and a side of green beans sautéed with a little soy sauce until they’re bright green, but still crisp. Then, follow that up with the dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting that I posted last year around this time and you’ve got yourself an amazing, at home Valentine’s meal. So there’s dinner and here’s the story:
When I was twenty-one, John and I had just started dating. We went through all of the awkward moments and firsts that any couple does – first date (though neither of us were certain it was a date until it was over), first kiss, and of course, first Valentine’s Day. We set plans to go out together. John was going to come pick me up from my apartment and he was going to take me to a nice dinner.
I got all dressed up, even donning a dress despite the fact it was February and I loathe dressing up in the winter because, let’s face it, most fashionable dressy attire for women is completely ill-suited for winter (even if it’s made for winter)! I must have really liked him or something, though, because I donned my little black dress and ventured out into the cold. When he told me where we were going, I decided it was all worth it! We were going to this awesome new sushi restaurant that just opened and was supposedly amazing! And I LOVE sushi.
We headed downtown and parked, my teeth chattering the whole time. He opened the door for me as we went into the restaurant, which was sweet, because, though I can open a door for myself, I’m a bit of a germaphobe so chivalry has its place in my life. We waited in the line to see the hostess and when it was finally our turn, we were told there was a ridiculously long wait to even be seated at the sushi bar. As a moderately to mostly type-A person, I assumed there must be some mistake and asked John, “Don’t we have a reservation?” No. No we did not.
This wouldn’t have been such a problem if I had eaten a snack of some kind before John showed up, but I was busy getting ready and I didn’t want to ruin my dinner. John insisted it wouldn’t be a problem and we’d just go to one of the other fabulous restaurants downtown. After we’d driven in circles for over an hour checking every nice restaurant in town, I’d had it. I was starting to lose my cool (and by starting to, I mean I’d totally lost it about 40 minutes earlier).
What’s my type of hangry, you ask? The monster. I turn from this seemingly nice person into this hell-crazed beast that demands food in exchange for your life. I’m not proud of this fact, but it’s true. I can handle the heat, but not the hunger. So, after over an hour driving around looking for other restaurants, half of that time being occupied by my rant on what kind of crazy person doesn’t get a reservation for Valentine’s Day, the beast was worn out.
As my energy waned and I wondered how I would ever survive I realized what I had done. I’d turned a day meant to remind people to celebrate the love in their lives into a nightmare bent on destroying the man I loved for his lack of type-Aness, which might very well be one of the main reasons we get along so well to begin with! To say I felt badly would be an understatement.
I turned to John and said, “You know what? Who says we have to go to a nice restaurant? There are plenty of places that wouldn’t have a line right now. Would it be weird that we’re dressed to the nine’s if we ate there? Possibly, but who cares? This is supposed to be about having fun and being together!” John was exhausted and only had a mild grasp on his sanity thanks to my 40 minute long tirade, but he replied, “Where do you want to go?” Naturally, I said the first place that popped into my mind: KFC.
As we drove the five minutes to the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-thru, we joked that we’d turn that into our Valentine’s tradition. We’d get dressed up to go eat fried chicken. Though the tradition only lasted a couple of years, as I grew increasingly more interested in organic, local food and humanely raised heritage breed animals, we really enjoyed it and the memory of that first Valentine’s still makes us laugh.
We also both learned valuable things that day. I learned that John was an amazing guy that could put up with a 40 minute hangry monster tirade without dumping me (seriously impressive, buddy) and that the point of Valentine’s Day isn’t whether or not you’re alone or what massive romantic gestures you can make/receive. It’s about sharing the love you have with those around you and even eating KFC can’t get in the way of that.
Oh, and John learned to make reservations for Valentine’s Day. 😉