This year, I'm writing an advice column for Valentine's Day. Should you choose to participate in this holiday—which is at worst a capitalist scheme to sell chocolate, and at best an excuse to eat chocolate to make the dark, dull days of February a little better—I will be here to tell you how to do it right.
But Emily, you might be thinking, No one has ever expressed any interest in dating you. Why would we come to you for Valentine's Day advice? Rest assured, what I lack in actual relationship experience I make up for in a near photographic memory of Nora Ephron films and a large appetite for food. That's relevant because, specifically, I'll be offering advice not on the deep, mysterious inner workings of the human heart, but rather what to cook for Valentine's Day.
It's become a tradition that my friend's boyfriend texts me every year around Valentine's Day to ask for guidance. And I help him plan a menu that he'll cook for her. I have the advantage here: I know what she likes to eat, the recipes she's been wanting to try, and the foods that don't work well for her from a digestive standpoint. But I think I can help you, too, even though I don't know you. Let me plan your menu! Let me tell you what to cook, when to cook it, and how to make it look appetizing even though you've only ever successfully made boxed mac n' cheese.
Consider this your opportunity to send me all the questions you might have about Valentine's Day cooking, like, for example, "What's the sexiest meal I can make in my slow cooker?" or "What's a quick n' easy sheet-pan dinner I can perfectly time to come out of the oven just as I've finished...other Valentine's Day activities?" Or, something really earnest like, "My girlfriend is passionate about cabbage. What are the best cabbage recipes for Valentine's Day?" (Wait, am I your girlfriend?) Or "My partner is about to leave me, what's a meal I could make that would be good enough to convince them to stay with me for all of eternity?"
An example of a question you shouldn't ask: "I failed to ask my Tinder date if he had any allergies before I cooked him a romantic tofu with peanut sauce and now his head is swollen to twice its normal size. What do I do?" Answer: I'm not a doctor! Go to the hospital!
Anyway, send your questions at the email address email@example.com, and check back here for my answers. And in the meantime remember, if your significant other "doesn't really care what we eat, because food is just fuel," that's a deal-breaker, ladies!
Originally Appeared on Epicurious