My husband and I met and married when a popular TV ad showed a newlywed couple readying for bed, the husband taking Alka Seltzer in the foreground while the wife reclined in delusional triumph in the background for having prepared a heart-shaped meatloaf for dinner. This became the basis for a Valentine’s Day celebration to replace the jewelry or flowers that practicality prevented or the chocolates that our waistlines didn’t need.
We’ve had heart-shaped meatloaf, pizza, steak, many types of fish, hamloaf, lasagna, pork chops, lamb chops, and salmon atop toasted English muffins with crème fraiche. We’ve had tater tots amassed in a heart beside a burger. Ketchup’s zesty red color and flavor were staples in the quest. Tomatoes, radishes, and beets are wonderful Valentine vegetables and red fruits are abundant.
I once cut a heart in the middle of red-wrapped Gouda cheeses. We were tiling a shower that weekend and the work couldn’t be stopped for long. The snack was a quick, surprise celebration for my highly focused handyman.
For a festive breakfast I placed a heart-shaped dollop of raspberry yogurt in the middle of heart-healthy oatmeal. Pancakes and waffles made with a special heart-shaped waffle iron were sodden with raspberry syrup.
I found that fried bacon could be wrapped to encase a poached egg in a heart.
My husband traveled on business for 30 years, so dining out was not a treat for him. Home cooking, prepared with love, and sometimes in a heart-shape, was luscious reward and welcome.
Alka-Seltzer was never required.