Cooking for a date: It's a bigger deal than you think

cooking disaster liquene.jpg

Oh, no! The pot roast! (Photo credit: liquene)

You’ve always heard that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Fortunately for me, I love to cook, bake and generally feed people into liking me.  My mom is amazing in the kitchen.  She cooked dinner for our family nightly, and made the dish at every church or family potluck that was gone first. We woke up to the smell of blueberry muffins every Saturday morning.  My mom made sure that I was comfortable behind the stove.  My zen is found in a batch of cookies slowly baking in the oven.  Yet, like in everything else, love/lust/whatever changes the rules.

That first meal you make for someone you’re dating is so important.  It will set their expectations and, really, whether they will even accept another dinner invation from you.   From the start, you are up against a few hurdles:

    1. His mom.  Regardless of whether she was a James Beard Award winner or just picked up gas station hot dogs, anything she made will be deemed “most amazing food in the world” by your guy.  You will never beat her creme brulee or her ketchup on spaghetti noodles.
    2. Men are some of the pickiest eaters!  My dad, for example, won’t eat cold sandwiches (and this is a step up from refusing to eat any type of cold meal when he first married my mom) or any green vegetables.  Moreover, dudes will not bend from this position!  When my dad went backpacking through Europe in his youth, he lived on mere dollars each day.  In Paris, he ordered pommes frites, not knowing that they would be served with mayonaise.  Guess who decided to go hungry that day?

Despite the fact that I not only love to cook, but am also pretty good at it, some guys are still nervous about eating that first meal.  They know that if it goes badly and they like the girl, it means a lot of takeout Chinese in their future.

Looking back, I think I have been tricked into cooking a first meal under guided supervision from a guy.  I’d been asking him over for weeks, but he would always wiggle out of it and take me out to eat instead.  One night, he texted me to ask me over to cook breakfast with him the next morning.  When I got there, he had already bought all the ingredients for something very simple.  Cooking together quickly turned into me making him scrambled eggs with all the ingredients that he had at pre-selected and he getting to make sure I didn’t set the house on fire. 

Dear guy,

The gig is up!!  I figured you out.  I’m going to cook my mom’s fajita recipe.  You are going to cry with delicious-ness.



What is your signature first meal? 


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  • I have so many favorite dishes that i like to cook and I have never had a date refuse a first meal.

  • As a guy I can say its pretty awesome to have a girl make you a meal... haha I often times even try to coerce girls im dating into making a meal. But before you judge I'm always cooking for girls as well, i just think its cool when they do it first. And also it makes for a great date cause you just get to see the person in a different element.

  • I just went through this situation last week, although to make it even more nerve-wracking it was a first date. You never really know how someone will react to your tastes. And no matter what if you care about cooking you are the hardest judge. As a guy who grew up watching his father cook most of the meals I love being in the kitchen and am pretty comfortable cooking up just about anything. For a girl to come over and see a guy has planned out a real dinner (entree, side dish, salad) and maybe even dessert, it has totally been a winning move in my playbook.

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