When Gabe and I were first married we continued to date. Nearly every Friday we would eagerly anticipate dinner made for us by a restaurant we had yet to try. We loved trying new places, new foods and spending that time together away from our harried schedules.
Then three kids came and we found ourselves much more removed from the dining out experience while still needing that time together. We do make time to go out on occasion, as we realize its importance for our friendship and the health of our marriage, but we also feel the need to limit the number of those evenings in order to preserve our budget.
So we found ourselves with a need to date, but with a desire to not pay hundreds of dollars in childcare and fancy dinners a month. Thus, the in-home date night was created.
It’s a simple idea really, but one that has brought us closer together, created a beautiful model for our children and saved us quite a bit of money. First of all, let me say that we find it is still important to get out of the house every now and again. There is something about seeing the dirty dishes and the leaning tower of laundry that can often distract from good conversation and a pleasant date.
For me, the date at home starts in the morning. I scour blogs, cookbooks and magazines to create a menu that is simple, yet special enough to be noticeably different than our regular weekday meals. Throughout the planning process I’m anticipating our date and praying for our time together. I find great joy in knowing that I’m planning this meal for my husband and loving him in the process.
We sit down to a nice meal after the kids have gone to bed. Their voices still linger in the air while we do a good job of pretending not to hear. Eating at our own pace provides much more room for conversation than when three young children are present. We’re relaxed, comfortable and not too worried if the dishes don’t get done until morning.
With Valentine’s Day approaching and a beautiful box full of fresh produce, an in-home date is a beautiful option. Even if you aren’t married, giving yourself the opportunity to try something new in the kitchen provides the opportunity for a wonderful evening and sets apart that time as something special, which we all need every now and again.
Special food doesn’t have to be complicated—part of the pleasure is in the process. With stunning produce there is little that has to be done to make it distinctive and memorable.
by Ashley Rodriguez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com