For some, Valentine’s Day is a time of magic and romance. For the rest of us, it’s a pain in the ass. I’m not a big proponent of feeling pressured if you’re dating someone, or sorry for yourself if you’re not. Come on, we’re all gonna get laid sooner or later, who cares if it’s on V-Day, right? And most romances end in heartache, so let’s just indulge ourselves and talk about something more realistic than the perfect confections to buy your sweetheart.
Maybe you’re feeling bitter because you got dumped right before Valentine’s Day, maybe you found out through Facebook that your high school lover is engaged, maybe you just realized that every dude on this season of Mtv’s Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge somehow resembles one of your ex-boyfriends. (I mean…hypothetically, of course.) At least there is always food and sweet, sweet alcohol.
Just in time for everyone who is feeling bitter over this “holiday,” we present Endless Simmer’s Top 10 Break-Up Foods.
I know, we’re starting off with a weird one, but bear with me. For a lot of us, when we’re upset or depressed or convinced we will die alone, sometimes it’s hard to see the point of eating. (If you are in this heartbroken place, don’t worry; in my experience, this unwillingness to stuff your face will pass soon enough.) While you might feel dramatic and slightly excited by the possibility of effortless weight loss, you need something to provide you with energy, or at least keep you from fainting at your desk. I read somewhere that the human body could technically live off bananas. I don’t know if this is actually true, but this “fact” stuck with me, and now whenever I’m depressed and have to force myself to eat, I choke down a banana.
You might be waking up alone, but at least you have a daybreak companion to look forward to: coffee. If you’re been up until 4am crying, or maybe writing angry emails, or pathetic “I am so lonely without you” texts, it’s gonna be a rough morning. You need to force yourself to get out of bed and face the day somehow. What is the answer? Caffeine, of course. There is something about a sober, steaming mug of black coffee that is bleakly comforting.
You’re in no mood to cook. Everything is too much effort. Nothing says “I’m lonely and lazy” like some cheap pizza. Plus it’s oily enough to soak up a boozy hangover if you’re been drinking away your sorrows. Whether it’s local delivery, late-night drunken desperation, or a cold slice out of a greasy box you find in the back of the fridge, pizza is a tried-and-true break-up binge classic.
7. Chinese Take-Out
See #8; replace the word “pizza” with “Chinese take-out” and you get the gist.
The epitome of a “sad girl” food, chocolate isn’t only for PMS. It also isn’t only for girls; I know plenty of bummed out dudes who have been known to mow down some candy. Have you ever done the thing where you have a box of chocolate candies to yourself, and you sit there alone on the couch, fully decked out in sweatpants, eating just one bite out of each chocolate and tossing it back in the box? While watching You’ve Got Mail and crying a little bit? Oh, okay, good. Me neither.
5. Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
You’re feeling in the mood to force yourself to start doing things again. Things besides crying, watching TV, drinking, and scavenging for leftovers that haven’t grown mold in your sorely understocked fridge. Well, time to cook! But: baby steps. No use in breaking down in tears over a fallen soufflé, which is surely a metaphor for the crumbling of your once-perfect relationship. You decide to start out easy with the ol’ Kraft. If you have water, milk, butter, and a dollar, you can have yourself a good mac & cheese dinner for one. (I’ve always thought it was so depressing how they call a box of pasta and powdered cheese “dinner,” you know?)
4. Red Meat
You’re PISSED. This is a perfectly normal phase of the break-up cycle. You just want to stab something? Maybe see a little blood? Rip into something with your teeth? Great, go for it! Wait, wait, not your scorned lover. (Although… I understand the temptation.) Get thee to thy butcher and pick up a big, juicy steak. Cook that bad boy as rare as you dare — I like it cool in the center, still deep red. Grab your sharpest knife, gnash your teeth, and let the massacre begin.
3. Ice Cream
Okay, you’re bummed out again. Time to take cold comfort — literally! — in a tub of ice cream. Added bonus: the sugar high will give you enough energy to get a lot of stuff done. What stuff? I don’t know. Hurl the pair of boxers your ex left at your place into the dumpster, maybe. Or start a bonfire to throw your couple-y photos into. Or lounge in bed watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix all day and ask yourself why you didn’t date a hot quarterback in high school while you had the chance. You can do all these things and more! With ice cream.
2. Sad Lean Cuisine
Frozen dinners are about on par with the Mac & Cheese. Somehow I find them to be even more depressing. Do you remember that scene in Save the Last Dance where Julia Stiles’ lonely bachelor dad only has a freezer full of Hungry Man dinners to eat? That’s you. You are now Julia Stiles’ dad, forever alone in your sad apartment, trying to make it as a jazz musician. What’s the point in cooking real food? There’s no one to share it with anyway. Time to force down a frozen “entree” and call it a night.
I think we all saw this one coming. Almost everyone gets insanely drunk directly after (if not during!) a break-up. There’s all kinds of break-up boozing: rage drinking, depression drinking, drinking to fall asleep, well-meaning friends forcing you to go out and get a drink. And there’s all kinds of break-up booze itself! I prefer the traditional red wine, but let’s not limit ourselves. Whiskey is a good one, as any sad country-western song can tell you. Chelsea Handler would probably recommend a good dose of vodka. And never underestimate the power of a good beer (or two, or three, or seven). I’m not saying Endless Simmer condones heavy drinking as a coping mechanism! But I am saying that Endless Simmer keeps it real, and sometimes food just doesn’t cut it.