It’s February already and I don’t know about you but there are two major events this month that cause me to think deeply. I’m sure many other men like me will have misgivings about doing the right thing for their partners at this time.
Confused? Well, the RBS 6 Nations’ rugby is in February and March – 15 matches concluding with the famous battle between England and France, and this year it’s at Twickenham. If you’re not from either of these countries, you may not agree, but this has the potential to be the decider!
As well as the rugby in February, there’s also that other well-known celebration of Valentine’s Day when most males already struggle with making sure they keep their partners happy! This year Valentine’s ‘conveniently’ falls on a Saturday, the same day as the England vs Italy and Ireland vs France matches. The 6 Nations is the pinnacle of the European rugby season, having grown from the 5 Nations in 2000 when Italy joined France, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
I don’t know if you have ever met any of these superfit professionals, but at the top level they are no longer seen as beer-swilling, potbellied rugby lovers – far from it, they are highly trained machines. Their philosophy when eating is that they only run as well as the fuel that is put inside them, so it has to be nutritious, tasty and healthy. A rule that many of us could learn much from.
So a decision has to be made, does one get a ticket for Twickenham to watch the match, try to stay sober and get home to entertain the partner by booking a table in their favourite local restaurant? Which seems to me quite risky! Or do you decide to watch the match locally in a pub with mates, once again trying to control the amount of alcohol that does seem to be drunk on these occasions?
It strikes me there are various answers to this conundrum. Firstly one could bite the bullet and really go for broke; book a fab restaurant and really treat your partner, record the match and watch it on Sunday, trying your best not to see the score beforehand. Then of course you could organise a day out for your loved one, to be pampered at a spa leaving you to watch the match. But of course there are many who do not have my interest in the sport of rugby who want very much to show affection to their beloved partner and would normally do this by producing a meal at home.
The rule is to keep it simple and remember what is in season. There is great fish about at the moment, brill and hake being my favourites as well as oysters and mussels. Then as a treat perhaps venison or guinea fowl would, simply cooked, be a nice change. As a rule a chocolate dessert is often served, but is not so easy to make. Or there’s my favourite at this time of year, Yorkshire rhubarb cooked with a vanilla and honey custard, or puréed and gently mixed with whipped cream and crème fraîche, served with poached batons of crispy rhubarb.
Or the answer may well lie on the shelves at Waitrose, so why not take a stroll and have a look?