My foodie valentine

Categories: Reflections and opinions

Beca Lyne-Pirkis on why she relishes eating alone on Valentine’s Day

I can’t think of anything more boring than sitting in a restaurant next to loads of other couples, eating a Valentine’s Day special set menu and having to buy a horrendous card to show the person you love that you love them. Bleurgh.

As a little girl, I remember getting excited for Valentine’s Day, buying a card to secretly give to the boy I fancied and hoping that there would be a card waiting for me too. But nothing would be tucked into my pigeon hole, no single red rose waiting for me and no giant heart-shaped helium balloon tied to my chair—an all-round rubbish experience, that happened for several years until I learned to actually not care.

During my university years, me and my best friend would go out every Valentine’s Day, have a proper girly catch-up over far too many cocktails and not enough nibbles before dancing the night away in one of Cardiff’s late-night establishments. When we lived together in London, we’d go all out on a delicious home cooked meal, a favourite being Thai green chicken curry. She’d always buy the ingredients and I’d always cook—something that still happens 10 years later!

Our first year
When I met my husband, he of course bought me a Valentine’s card. This only happened during our first year together; the following year I blurted out how much I hated the day and that I couldn’t care less about receiving a card. 

These days, if we’re together on Valentine’s Day, we usually cook a meal to enjoy at home. Rock and roll, I know, but when you marry someone in the army, having him home is a rare occurrence, especially on Valentine’s Day. We actually do buy each other cards these days, but only ones that make us cry with laughter.

This year I will be on my own on Valentine’s Day, but don’t worry about me—it means I can make my favourite meal to enjoy and make a proper fuss of myself. This usually means a large bowl filled with a spicy coconut broth, juicy prawns, a mountain of vegetables and some rice noodles. 

Noisily and rather messily
I’m often alone eating supper during the week while my husband is away, and I know it can be difficult to muster together some energy to get up and cook something for yourself but if anything, I tend to make more of a fuss when it’s just me! I enjoy taking my time to serve the dish beautifully and garnish it to my heart’s content, before taking a couple of photos and posting it on social media as I happily slurp my broth and noodles noisily and rather messily, while watching some form of cookery show, feeling pleased I’d made the effort with my supper.

What I’ve learnt over the years is that it really doesn’t matter what day it is, if you’re with someone or not, or if you want to be with someone but you can’t. Treat yourself to your favourite meal, watch your favourite show and just enjoy being with you. It’s a bonus if someone else is there too—but it’s not the end of the world if not. 

Read Beca’s recipe for her Valentine’s meal for one