A Man’s Guide to a Successful Valentine’s Day

The Staff of Make it Missoula asked our Bloggers to chime-in for Valentine’s Day. We hope you’ll find of each of them inspiring in their own unique way. Be sure to check out our Valentine’s Day Contest. In 25 words or less, tell us of your most memorable Missoula Valentine and you’ll be entered into a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to The Red Bird Restaurant.


When I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of the disparaging term “Hallmark Holiday.” While Hallmark does a fine job of offering appropriate sentiments for those that suffer a disconnect between their emotions and their language skills, they did not invent this holiday. It was started some 1600 years ago and was reportedly named after two Christian martyrs bearing the name Valentine, one from Rome and one from Terni Italy, both of whom ended up buried in the same cemetery, although not near each other and about 70 years apart.

It was actually a religious holiday until 1969 when Pope John Paul VI, (I’ve always heard he wasn’t a fun pope) had it removed from the Roman Calendar of Saints. It is believed that it was not celebrated as a romantic holiday however, until the early 1400’s during the golden age of courtly romance. By then the legend of St. Valentine had grown.

According to legend, Valentine was in a battle of wills between the Emperor Claudius II and himself, with Claudius trying to convert him to paganism and Valentine trying to convert Claudius to Christianity. This is one of those “the guy with the biggest axe wins” deals. Claudius (the guy with the biggest axe) had Valentine executed.

While imprisoned awaiting his execution date, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s blind daughter and is said to have cured her blindness. It is said that he professed his love for her on the eve of  his impending doom in a letter that began: “from your Valentine.” I heard that he requested being burned at the stake rather than being beheaded, saying that he would prefer a hot stake to a cold chop. Okay, that last part is an old 3 Stooges joke, but I digress.

These days no one expects you to cut off your head as a matter of principle. As such, there is little demand for declarations of love on the eve of one’s execution for their Christian beliefs. Real Christian martyrs are hard to come by these days and that’s okay.

The other side of the coin is the person who envisions themselves as a mad romantic. He buys a store bought card with some grandiose profession of love, some overpriced roses, and a cheap bottle of mediocre wine in the hopes of striking pay dirt in the love arena.

Newsflash…Valentine’s Day is not about love! It is about romance!

Assuming that you are in a relationship, or desiring to be in one, love should be something that you do everyday regardless of circumstance.

Romance on the other hand often requires some planning. This is a busy life that we all live, and sometimes romance is replaced by shear exhaustion. You shouldn’t be led like cattle through the feedlot of rampant consumerism. Be creative and demonstrate your true affection by giving your romantic interest an evening to remember.

Being romantic doesn’t mean you can’t go to a nice restaurant, buy flowers or have a bottle of wine. But do take time to find that one special thing that means so much to your special person. It could be a special type of flower, a favorite wine, a special dessert, or even a home cooked meal with you at the helm — and not necessarily at the helm of your barbecue.

The following meal is easy and will make your true love think you spent hours in the kitchen.

Elk or Beef Tenderloin in a Balsamic Reduction

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Asparagus with Parmesan

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis (pronounced Cooley)

See the “Taste It” archive.  Back to “Taste It” homepage.  Check out Bob’s recipes.


Bio:  Bob Zimorino is a full-time real estate agent with Lambros/ERA Real Estate, a retired Certified Executive Chef, a Musician with the popular local band Hellgate Rodeo, a dad, and a grandpa. He shares the experiences from his life that helped shape his careers and hobbies. His weekly “Taste It” blog is his take on the evolution of food in his lifetime.