Our first Valentine’s Day together as a couple was nine years ago. Nine?! And nine years ago, Dan and I started a Valentine’s Day tradition to make fancy macaroni and cheese and enjoy our evening at home together, cooking and trying a new recipe. This started from our enjoyment of cooking together, and was also fueled by a desire to challenge the tradition that just because we had been dating for a certain amount of time we were expected to go out to a fancy dinner and Dan had to buy me roses. And truth be told, it was also encouraged by the fact that we started dating as poor graduate students. I’m grateful for this tradition we have built together.
On our first year we started with your traditional baked macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs on top, had the odd year of Sponge Bob-shaped box mac & cheese (during the year we were busy driving across the country before moving to Australia), and the year I made something up because we were both so tired after a long day of work/class — and with quite a bit of luck that turned into one of Dan’s favorites (the only time I’ve ever fully made up a recipe and had it turn out!).
We now spend a fair bit of time scouring cookbooks, cooking magazines, and the internet for recipes and debating which will be the most delicious new recipe to try. This year’s debate was a vigorous one between enchilada mac & cheese, gnocchi mac & cheese, or, what we ultimately selected, meatball sub mac & cheese. (We had to “knock out the gnocchi” because we already had special heart-shaped pasta that we found in Venice and bought specifically for our Valentine’s Day tradition. We start thinking about this early!)
And here is the delicious final product:
Happy Valentine’s Day to the love of my life!