Food is an essential part of love and dating, from those tentative first dinner dates to making soup for a lover when they’re stuck at home sick. The vocabulary that lovers use is food obsessed – “honeybun”, “sugar”, “sweet thing” – and this is not entirely separate from our desire to nibble and otherwise devour those who we desire. Find a lover with whom your eating tastes conflict, and you are likely in for a short and tempestuous relationship before you both return, hungry for love, to the dating market. Never mind – “there’s plenty more fish in the sea”!
On the other hand, find someone with whom food can be creative and romantic experience, and you may be sowing the seeds for deeper feelings. Food is a fundamental part of our lives – three squares a day, plus snacks! – and the couple that cooks together, stays together. Find somebody that you can happily eat and sleep with, and the forecast is good.
So while the first few dates with a stranger are best kept in the public realm, with lunches and dinners and the eventual cheeky breakfast in restaurants or out in nature, making a date to cook together is a small but significant step in a blossoming relationship. If you’re a good cook, it’s a chance to show off your skills and maybe learn something new together; if you’re a terrible cook, it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm and your sense of humor. If the dish ends up a disaster, it can even be a romantic bonding experience.
Of course, it’s important to be clear about your boundaries. If you don’t like being told what to do, or you have a kitchen skill that you’re particularly proud of, it’s useful to bring it up at the start so nobody feels hurt or disappointed. Maybe you’ll find that the kitchen is a steamy place to start getting up close and personal, or perhaps one or both of you prefer to have a bit more space until dessert is over. This is why cooking together is a great way to find out more about yourselves as a partnership, rather than perpetual idealized restaurant dates (which certainly still have their place!).
Looking for ideas on what to cook? This new data visualization from CashNetUSA uses Google search statistics to figure out which states are searching for which recipes to try. If you know where your date is from, try suggesting you make one of these dishes together. If all the ingredients are right, you could be in for a satisfying experience.
What is your favorite first date food?