You are a few dates into your new relationship, or you’re a long way in, and you are starting to run out of ideas on what to do for date night. The same old same old is, well… getting old and you want to do something different and special for your better half but sometimes it’s not about what you did for that person but rather but you did together, for each other. Like spending time together in the kitchen creating a great meal with lasting memories.
I’ve had lots of cooking dates and am here to help you prepare for a great night and great food.
Here are my Top 10 Cooking Date Do’s and Don’ts!
1. Do not cook together on a first date.
Do you know this person enough to be alone with him/her? At best, it is a boundary invasion. And the chances are high that things go too far physically. Not ideal for something meaningful. Lastly, your food hang-ups might not gel with his/her food hang-ups. A person’s flaws will seem amplified if you see them too soon. Wait for date three or four for a cooking date.
2. Discuss what you’re going to cook in advance.
Don’t assume your tastes are his/her tastes. If they have no input, you better be ready with some cool ideas. See below! One time, I printed out a menu for the date. I had all the ingredients ready, for each option. It wasn’t that much work, and she was impressed.
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3. Be flexible.
The way you do things won’t be the same way they do things. Food and cooking are huge examples of this concept.
4. Get your hands dirty.
Batter things, break eggs, make a dough, pizza, meatloaf, make balls. Guys, please refrain from ball jokes (it’s cooler if you don’t say anything).
5. Get Close.
Now that your hands are dirty, see if you can coordinate washing them at the same time. Break the physical ice with some hand caressing in the sink. Sounds awkward but trust me, that’s a primetime move right there.
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6. Use colourful and aromatic ingredients.
Like a Caprese salad with fresh basil. Or a Moroccan stew (just google up a recipe) with fresh spices from the market. Thai food is another option.
7. Plan ahead.
If you plan on eating the food right away, you are going to want at least three courses. Here’s a sample menu:
Stuffed mushroom caps.
Turn oven broiler to low. Place oven rack at top. Finely chop and sautée some onions and garlic (a wee bit) in a pan with butter and olive oil. While that’s going, snap the stems off some mushrooms, sit them up like little buckets on a pan. Broil them for a few minutes. Take them out and fill them with grated parmesan cheese, onions, and garlic. Broil them for a few more minutes. Pair with a white wine. Don’t spend too much on the white wine. Anything works with my mushrooms!
Steak and veggies
In the fry pan you just used, crank that up to high, and sear some beef tenderloin on each side for 1 minute. Throw them in a hot oven (500 F) for about 5-10 min. Longer if the meat was cold. Cook to preference.
When the steaks go in the oven, sautee some peppers and other veggies in the frying pan that is now used for the third time.
Pair this with a nice Red. Meiomi’s Pinot Noir is popular with loads of layers. If you want to look like a wine expert, you will say, “I like the mineral notes,” which refers to how wines will absorb the profile of the soil where they are grown. See how smart and sexy you are!
Keep it simple. Ice cream, chocolates, or doughnuts. Finish the red if you haven’t already.
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8. Don’t try too hard.
There is a fine line between making a masterpiece dinner and trying too hard. NEVER speak unkindly about your cooking, or say, “Oh I hope this is OK for you.” That makes you look desperate to please him/her. If you mess something up, show your carefree side and move on.
9. Watch what you say.
Avoid conversation around nutrition, fitness, and weight loss. This is a date, not a CrossFit seminar. Instead, talk about the experience – the tastes, the smells, the process, places you’ve traveled, etc.
10. Don’t leave a mess.
After dinner tidy up. Show your responsible side.
You can learn a lot about a person in the kitchen. If you have been your best self, you might notice a bit of sexual tension. Guys, don’t be aggressive here. That’s too obvious and creepy. Ladies, you run the show here. Make a move if it feels right. Otherwise, pack it in.
I’ll leave you with one last story. One time I dated a girl who was way too laid back. She invited me over for dinner and I swear to god, I got there and she had already eaten. She gave me a bowl of stew and sat there and watched me eat it. I was still hungry but she wouldn’t let me have anymore because she needed the leftovers for work lunches. I left and never spoke to her again.