Sometimes a guy just wants a sandwich


Tonight, thousands of champagne corks will pop and indulgent meals will be served as couples the world over celebrate Valentine’s Day. This day of romance is named after a Christian martyr from the fifth century, but its modern-day incarnation as an ode to romantic love makes its debut in the writings of Chaucer and others in the fourteenth century. It is frequently celebrated with elegant meals and decadent desserts.

But not everyone requires elaborate food to properly celebrate the holiday. Sometimes the simplest fare can be the most romantic, as I learned early in my marriage.

As a newlywed, I was (to put it mildly) not a great cook. But I was anxious to improve and eager to try new foods. So my beleaguered husband was constantly subjected to mealtime experiments. We never had the same dish twice, and I hopped from one cuisine to another like a Corgi on espresso. We ate wildly different foods from meal to meal: Italian food followed on the heels of Indian fare, to be supplanted by Thai cuisine for the next meal.

One early February evening, I solicited my husband’s opinion on several extravagant options for our Valentine’s Day meal. When I presented my selections he did not seem to share my enthusiasm, so I asked him what he wanted, if not the sumptuous offerings I described. He replied wearily, “Sometimes a guy just wants a fried bologna sandwich.”

Our Valentine’s Day dinner that year was fried bologna sandwiches on white bread, and it was fantastic. I don’t remember any other details about the dinner, or if we had wine, cocktails or beer to accompany the food, but I will always remember the sandwich. Seventeen years later, the meal is a tradition, and I wouldn’t trade it for the best steak dinner in the world.

What is your Valentine’s Day tradition?

And just in case you are rethinking your Valentine’s Day menu, here are some simple yet satisfying sandwiches from the Eat Your Books library:

Banh-Mi style chicken sandwiches
Grilled cheese with bacon, tomato and avocado
Hoisin-glazed meatloaf sandwiches
Blue cheese, radicchio and fig sandwiches
Pan bagnat: le French tuna salad sandwich 

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  • Christine  on  February 14, 2014

    I'm not really into Valentine's day — we're that couple that doesn't do cards or gifts or flowers, so we definitely don't have any Feb. 14th traditions. We still have to eat though, so this year we've decided on breakfast for dinner — since we got slammed by another snow storm overnight and I just finished digging out, the last thing I really want to do is leave the house! Waffles for me and bacon & eggs for my husband. I could eat breakfast food any time of the day, but there's something about a snowy day that makes it extra appealing. I meant to bake cookies, but the snow interfered with that plan — I see no reason why I can't make them tomorrow instead!

  • Rinshin  on  February 14, 2014

    I rotate protein source around. For example, chicken, beef, pork, seafood, fish, vegetarian. And within those protein sources, different varieties. But, I know what is my husband's favorite protein 🙂 He can't hide his feeling on his face. If I say "we are having beef tonight or we are having steaks tonight" his face just lights up. So, for Valentines Day, I make beef dishes for him. Tonight, I am making Japanese style hamburger steaks with demi glace sauce, bakes potatoes (his love too), and salad. Simple stuff, but something I know he loves.

  • boardingace  on  February 15, 2014

    Awww, what a sweet story! We don't have a valentine's tradition; sometimes we eat out, sometimes in. Last night we enjoyed a semi-good movie and dinner at home.

    Your husband's request reminded me of a cute story I was reading recently; a reporter vowed to make her boyfriend 500 sandwiches after he was happily eating one of her homemade sandwiches and said “Honey, you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!”

    You can read about their story here:

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