Thursday, February 14, 2013

His and Hers Valentine's Menus

Although I have no plans to celebrate Valentine's Day this year (oh well!), I know that many of you do. It's funny how much this holiday has changed over the years. When I was a child, the holiday was typically celebrated by children at classroom parties featuring candy hearts and Red Hots (which I have never liked) as well as those old-fashioned little Valentine's cards (which I still think are cute.) Adults tended to keep the Valentine's fanfare to a minimum with perhaps a nice dinner or a box of chocolates.

But, times have changed. I remember when I was 22 years old and working at my first job. That Valentine's Day, I planned to give my then-boyfriend a CD, something I considered to be a thoughtful gesture. Evidently, some of my female co-workers didn't feel the same way because when I told them about the gift, you could hear crickets. They looked at me in disbelief. That was because, as I later found out, they had bought their significant others many gifts. Things like sterling silver tokens, clothes, trips to heaven knows where. Even then, I thought that was kind of overkill.

Well, no matter how you plan to celebrate the day, perhaps you might be enticed, or at least intrigued by, this Gourmet magazine Valentine's Day feature from 1965. The editors listed not one but two menus that would appeal to both female and male cooks. The lady's menu was for a diner intime that was refined and elegant, one that included Filets Mignons with Béarnaise Sauce ("For her exquisite touch, the delicately sauced filets mignons") as well as Château Potatoes. The masculine menu included heartier fare like Ossi Buchi ("For his masculine talents, the more substantial ossi buchi") and Risotto Milanese.

I have included a few recipes below, just in case you want to try your hand at it. And no matter how you spend the day, Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Lady's Menu
A first course of Wine Consommé

Filets Mignons with Béarnaise Sauce, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Château Potatoes

For dessert, Apple Charlotte with an Apricot Sauce

Wine Consommé

Bring to a boil 4 cups beef consommé and stir in 1 cup dry red wine, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of lemon juice. Serve the soup hot, garnished with small croutons of toast lightly sprinkled with paprika.

Man's Menu
Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Ossi Buchi and Risotto Milanese

Artichokes with Ninon Sauce

Ninon Sauce
Mix thoroughly 5 tablespoons peanut oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar and add 1 shallot, finely chopped, 1 hard-cooked egg, sieved, 1 tablespoon each of prepared mustard and mixed minced parsley and chives, and salt and pepper to taste.


  1. What a marvelous post!! I just love this, and the recent post you did from The Twenties in Vogue. Such glamorous times! Thank you so much for sharing this romantic and elegant Valentine menu.

    The Glam Pad

    1. Thank you Andrea! They were indeed glamorous times. So chic!


  2. What a fabulous tribute! This story appeared long before my time at Gourmet (1991 - 2009), but it certainly brings back memories....Thanks so much.
    Jane Lear
    (former senior articles editor, Gourmet)
    Writing on Food and Travel at

    1. Dear Jane- It was such a wonderful magazine! How fortunate for you that were part of the Gourmet team. Was there ever a better food magazine? I think not! :)


  3. Last night's dinner was fried chicken and collard greens. Not very romantic but we ate it with new acquaintance in a badly lit restaurant and had the greatest time.

  4. You had me at Bearnaise Sauce! In real life, though, that wine consomme definitely looks like something within my capabilities, and you can't beat a garnish that's based on toast.