Our last two Valentine's issues here at goop have been about cultivating romance in couple-dom. But what if you are all by your lonesome this year? Or, what if you are suffering the loss of a great love from death or divorce or a hideous breakup? Valentine's Day, in that case, is just a f*@£ed up reminder of what you don't have. So we decided to seek out ways to make it feel just a wee bit better; cooking yourself a decadent little dinner for one, some tips to mend a broken heart, some music to cry to. We have all been there, and as bad as it is, suffering is never in vain if you find what it's there to teach.

    Hugs and kisses,


    This week’s goop collaboration

    veronica beard for goop -

    Judith Jones on"The Pleasures of Cooking for One"

    I am a huge fan of Judith Jones (Julia Childs' longtime editor) and adore her cookbook, The Pleasures of Cooking for One. When my kids were little and my husband was working, I got in the habit of cooking myself a real dinner for one. I still do when I find myself alone, it is a very sweet and self-honoring thing to do. Don't forget the vino.

    A New England Bouillabaisse

    "This mock bouillabaisse is so scrumptious that you would never know it had anything 'left over' in it. You do have to stop and pick up a dozen or so fresh mussels and a few clams the day you’re making it, but otherwise everything else is at hand, and you can put this together in half an hour. I am assuming, of course, that you have a good fish stock in your freezer; if not, plan to make this after you’ve had a lobster or a supper of steamed mussels and have some of that intense lobster or mussel broth left. Otherwise use clam juice, diluted by half with water because it is quite strong."


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • 2 cups fish broth (see headnote)
    • A few fresh parsley stems
    • Pinch of fennel seeds
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    • 4 or 5 small clams
    • 1 dozen mussels
    • A piece of leftover cooked or fresh fish, about 4 ounces*
    • A sprinkling of chopped parsley
    • 2 slices French bread, toasted
    • A generous dollop of Pistou Sauce

    *Usually a fresh white fish is called for, but I have found that a piece of lightly cooked leftover salmon is fine, too.

    **If you don’t have any pistou on hand or time to make it, try mashing to a paste a small clove of garlic and a little salt, and then mixing that in with a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Whisk in a few pinches of paprika and a dash of hot pepper. Purists would not approve, but you can cheat a little when you’re by yourself. Nobody is looking.


    1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, and sauté the onion and garlic gently until softened.

    2. Add the tomato, sauté another minute, then pour in the fish stock and seasonings, tasting to judge how much salt and pepper you need. Simmer for about 20 minutes, and add the clams (if you are using fresh fish, slip that into the pot now); clams always take longer than mussels, so give the clams a few minutes before adding the mussels along with the piece of leftover fish.

    3. Sprinkle parsley over, and have alongside a couple of slices of toasted French bread with pistou on top.

    Excerpted from The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Copyright © 2009 by Judith Jones. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Boeuf Bourguignon

    "Make this rich stew on a leisurely weekend [or on a leisurely Valentine's Day]. You’ll probably get a good three meals out of it, if you follow some of the suggestions below. When buying stew meat at a supermarket, you don’t always know what you are getting, so ask the butcher. If it’s a lean meat, it will need less time cooking (in fact, it will be ruined if you cook it too long), but the fattier cuts can benefit from at least another half hour."


    • 2 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces, preferably a chunk cut into little dice
    • About 11⁄4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1- to 11⁄2- inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1⁄3 carrot, thick end, peeled and diced
    • 2 teaspoons all- purpose flour
    • Salt
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 1 cup beef broth
    • Herb packet of
      • 1⁄2 bay leaf
      • a fat garlic clove, smashed
      • a small handful of parsley stems
      • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
      • 4 or 5 peppercorns

    vegetable garnish:

    • 3 or 4 baby onions, or four 1- inch pieces of leek
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3 or 4 baby carrots, or the thin ends of larger ones, peeled
    • 2 or 3 small new potatoes


    1. Brown the bacon in a heavy pot, fairly deep but not too large. When it has released its fat and is lightly browned, remove it to a dish, leaving the fat in the pan.

    2. Pat the pieces of beef dry with a paper towel. Pour the oil into the pot, and when it is hot, brown half the pieces of beef on all sides. Remove to the plate with the bacon, and brown the remaining pieces.

    3. Now sauté the onion and the carrot until they are lightly browned. Return the meats to the pot, sprinkle on the flour and some salt, and pour the wine and beef stock in. Tuck the herb packet into the pot, and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and cook at a lively simmer for about 1 hour or more, depending on the cut of the meat.

    4. Bite into a piece to determine if it is almost done (it will get another 20 minutes or so of cooking with the vegetables).

    5. When the time is right, add all the vegetables, cover, and cook at a lively simmer again for 20–25 minutes—pierce the veggies to see if they are tender. Serve yourself four or five chunks of meat, with all the vegetables, and a good French bread to mop up the sauce.

    Second Round

    Use three or four pieces and some of the remaining sauce to make a quick Beef and Kidney Pie (page 34) later in the week. The recipe follows Veal Kidneys in Mustard Sauce because you want to use the leftover kidneys to put this dish together.

    Third Round

    Use what remains to make a meaty pasta sauce for one, breaking up the meat and adding three or four squeezed San Marzano plum tomatoes. Simmer the sauce as the pasta cooks.

    Excerpted from The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Copyright © 2009 by Judith Jones. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Fennel, Apple, and Walnut Salad

    "Here’s a sparkling salad that makes superb use of that one-third or so of a plump fennel bulb that you couldn’t consume in one sitting."


    • Fennel, about 1⁄3 medium bulb or 1⁄2 small one
    • 1⁄2 tart apple
    • About 6 walnuts


    • 1⁄4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or more to taste


    1. Remove the course outside rib of the fennel bulb, and trim off the stalk, saving the leaves. Trim the root end so the bulb stands firmly, and with a sharp knife cut very thin slices. If you have a mandoline, by all means use it.

    2. Core the apple, and cut it into thin slices, leaving the peel on.

    3. Mix together the dressing ingredients, taste, and adjust as you see fit. Pour the dressing over the fennel and apple slices with the walnuts, broken in half, and some of the fennel leaves chopped, and toss everything together. Pile onto a salad plate, and top with a few more fennel leaves.

    Excerpted from The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Copyright © 2009 by Judith Jones. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Stuffed Baked Potato

    "There is something about a baked potato that is so comforting that many of us eating alone enjoy making a meal of it. You can enhance it with whatever seems appealing..." writes Judith Jones.

    Caviar, sour cream & chives.

    Go classic with cheddar, sour cream and scallions.

    Double-bake with caramelized onions and gorgonzola. (Super simple – after baking, carefully remove insides with a spoon, mix with a tablespoon of both gorgonzola and caramelized onion (salt & pepper to taste) and place mixture back in potato. Place back in oven and back for another 5 minutes, until the top browns.)

    "There is something about a baked potato that is so comforting that many of us eating alone enjoy making a meal of it. You can enhance it with whatever seems appealing—a generous dollop or two of sour cream or yogurt or butter, some chopped scallions, a few tasty mushrooms, and/or a bit of leftover green vegetable. Some like a melty cheese or a strong accent, such as anchovy and olives, and if you happen to have some leftover ratatouille or fried eggplant and peppers, they marry well with the mealy roasted Idaho. Also, bacon, ham, or a bit of cracklings will add a meat accent, if you want that.

    Since a large potato takes about an hour to bake in the oven, a good way of hurrying it along is to microwave it on high for 7 minutes, then put it into a 400 degree oven to crisp for about 10 minutes. When it is tender—pierce with the point of a knife to make sure—slit the top open, squeeze the hot potato to open it up, and spoon as much stuffing as you like into it. The filling should be at room temperature."

    Excerpted from The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Copyright © 2009 by Judith Jones. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Breakup Tracks

    “Thinkin' Bout You”
    by Frank Ocean

    "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"
    by Alicia Keys

    “I Used to Love Him”
    by Lauryn Hill & Mary J. Blige


    We love ila’s line of luxury organic skincare products and spa treatments not only for their physical benefits, but also for their spiritual ones. Today we chat with founder Denise Leicester on why she started ila, the importance of chakras, and how to experience a ‘”total heart immersion” on Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status.

    Q:Why did you start ila?

    A:In essence, I had a deep desire to bring my drop of change in supporting mother earth and truly offering women a range of products which nourished and cherished their hearts…as well as having radiant gorgeous skin.

    Q:We hear a lot about ila products being helpful in opening up our chakras - what are chakras and how do ila products work with/awaken them?

    A:The Chakras are very subtle yet powerful parts our consciousness / mind located in our spine.

    They are complex structures that hold memory and direct our consciousness. Their energy is felt first through our delicate hormone system and then through our organs. For example, the earth chakra governs the adrenal glands and our nose, so what we smell can affect how centered and safe we feel. The chakra of our deepest emotions and emotional wellbeing is known as ‘Anahata’ or the heart center: this center governs the thymus gland (immune system) as well as the skin and the hands. The heart is believed to be the seat of ‘Ojas’ (literally ‘vigour’ in Sanskrit) – the subtle radiant essence that is responsible for beauty and youthfulness. It is also believed to be the center of vitality for women.

    ila products and treatments are created from this place of understanding, so every ingredient is chosen with great care for its purity and its resonance at the level of the chakras.

    Q:A lot of your products include Rose Otto. What does this do?

    A:Rose Otto is the most complex and special of all essential oils ––it resonates so powerfully with the heart, nurturing and healing emotionally, uplifting spiritually, as well as rejuvenating and hydrating on a physical level. It stimulates and opens the ‘Ojas,’ radiant energy of the heart, so the skin glows … as well as inspiring love, joy and empathy. I believe Rose Otto is the most precious oil for women.

    The poet Kahlil Gibran says ‘Beauty is not in the face. Beauty is a light in the heart’... what I adore about roses is that they have a spiritual quality which nurtures and affirms the light in the heart, as well as physically nourishing the skin and balancing emotions.

    Emotionally: The smell and energy of a rose has a magic about it. Rosa Damascena helps heal emotional trauma and disharmony and restore a beautiful inner stillness and balance.

    Spiritually: Rose Otto is known to expand the heart and elevate mind and soul to its highest vibration. It also energizes the chakras and strengthens the aura.

    Q:Which products would you recommend for someone who has experienced a breakup?

    A:I would recommend a total heart immersion!

    Soak in our Inner Peace bath salts…

    …add some Glowing Radiance Bath oil (with ila's Heart of the Earth CD playing)…the combination of rose sandalwood and vetiver are like balms to the heart…

    …follow with the Glowing Radiance body cream (tuberose and rose) and Glowing Radiance face oil, not just to the face but also a few drops applied to heart points - the center of the chest, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

    The ila Orange Blossom candle brings strength and the ila incense is magic.

    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

    The Telltale Signs

    Leanne Shapton’s Was She Pretty? uses illustrations and short witty commentary to track the petty jealousies we all experience when we hear (or find evidence) of the ex. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite pages from this often comical and poignant book.

    P.S. This now classic book is to be released on March 9th by Particular Books in the UK.

    The Ones to Watch


    The entrance to the Silence Room

    Selfridges opens a public “Silence Room” in London through March 1st. Designed by Alex Cochrane Architects, it’s a minimal (and beautiful) space with built-in seating that is almost entirely covered in felt. Whether you sit, stand or lie down is up to you. Spend five or ten minutes (or a few hours) there in silence. No shoes or phones aloud. And, while you're there, Headspace, which we've featured before has meditation pods going throughout the store.

    Once inside, you’ll see the walls, floors and seats are all covered in felt.

    “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” - Rumi

    Massage Therapy for a Broken Heart

    Kasia, masseuse of In Motion mobile massage, on massage therapy during a breakup.

    "Being a masseuse and going through a breakup myself, I’ve discovered that massage sessions at my place are turning out to be a 'heart saver'. Not only has my tense body (carrying the stress of my recent breakup) benefited from releasing knots, but also my mind has slowed down and my thinking has become clearer. During and after my massages, I feel deeply relaxed and my breathing becomes more stable. My circulation improves and I feel renewed. My serotonin (happy hormones) level has increased (as it usually does with a good massage). Most of all, I find myself feeling nurtured and content due to Oxytocin (Love hormone) being released, all thanks to the caring hands of my therapist. Overall a very good feeling has returned (in my mind and in my body) and being single on Valentine's Day does not seem like it’s going to be an issue."

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