They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Food blogger Katie Barszcz of Small Boston Kitchen agrees. While chasing her own culinary dreams, she discovered that love and food go hand in hand in more ways than she expected, as she shares how her own love story is centered around food as well. Katie also includes some Valentine’s Day recipes of her own to get you inspired in the kitchen.
Like the rest of the food loving population, I’ve always felt there is a very thin line between love and food. Heck, I even fell in love with my boyfriend over a burger. We met at a restaurant opening in Boston and through talking to him, I learned that he had a burger blog and had gone to culinary school, something that I was trying to get up the courage to do at the time. It wasn’t long after our initial meeting that we met for a burger. I fired away questions about culinary school, he talked about how well the meat was seasoned. We instantly hit it off and agreed to meet weekly for burgers. He listened to me go on about school and my transition from life in the corporate world to life in a chef’s coat, I listened to him gripe about brioche buns. Gradually our lunches started getting longer and the conversation turned more intense, but always with food as the focus.
It wasn’t long before he needed an extra set of hands in the kitchen and me, being a wide-eyed and eager culinary school student, jumped at the opportunity. We were catering a dinner for 60 and I fell in love with the chaos, creativity and fun of creating a meal for such a large crowd. Richard and I were working like we had been working together for years and our kitchen was humming along like a well oiled machine. With cooking being such a personal and intimate thing, I soon realized that sharing that with someone else gave me a deeper understanding of him and needless to say, it wasn’t long before we fell in love. Fast forward to today, we now own our own personal chef and catering service and our days are filled with menu planning and long hours in the kitchen, but we’ve both never been happier. Sure, we’ll squabble like all couples do but the majority of our disputes are over parsley placement and who accidently threw out the rendered duck fat.
My life revolves around making people happy through the food that I make and to me, the connection between food and love is so strong. But you certainly don’t have to be a professional chef or dating a professional chef to reap the same benefits of the connection. Instead, on the one day a year devoted to love, try to slice out a bit of time to spend in the kitchen, whether you’re with a significant other, friend, family member or even if you’re by yourself, to take the time to cook. Cancel that dinner reservation, toss the generic roses and velvet heart shaped box of chocolates and trade them all in for a bag of groceries and an apron. Crank up the music, pour yourself a glass of wine or crack open a beer. Take off your shoes and make yourself comfortable; but most importantly remember to relax, have fun and cook for those you love.
To help get you in the mood for some cookin’, I’ve compiled a couple of my favorite recipes, sure to impress any Valentine.
Katie’s Valentine’s Day Recipes:
- Savory Goat Cheese and Herb Stuffed Strawberries
- Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon
- Beet Risotto with Winter Vegetables
- Nutella Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies with Sea Salt
Katie Barszcz had been creating recipes in her Small Boston Kitchen since 2009 when she realized that in the kitchen was where she was happiest. In January 2011, she gave up her corporate job to enroll in culinary school. She is now the co-owner of the The Skinny Beet, a personal chef and catering service serving the Greater Boston area and her writing and photography have been featured in Boston.com, Boston Magazine, The Kitchn, Eater Boston and Boston Public Radio Kitchen.