For many, the thought of dusting off the recipe books, donning an apron and taking to the kitchen to cook for a date, simply never enters the mind. Why would you turn yourself into a flour-faced, steak-smelling mess when your local high street is brimming with restaurants to eat in?
A homemade dining experience needn’t whisk you into a frenzy. In fact, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your creativity and personality during an intimate third or fourth encounter. Follow these golden rules to cook up a storm for that special someone.
Know your audience
Celery, mushrooms, gravy with onions in… We all have our own quirky likes and dislikes. To please your dishy diner, do your homework and be thorough. Build a mental picture of their preferences by paying particular attention to what they order (and what they avoid) on those first few dates, their tipple of choice and most importantly, if they have any allergies or intolerances. If unsure, always ask!
Plan ahead and play it safe
Whatever your skill level, be it ‘toast-burner’ or ‘Michelin-starred’, cook within your limits. One delicious course of your signature dish and a well-chosen wine is better than three courses of burnt nosh, a stressed chef and a mountain of washing up. Also bear in mind that your date will want to talk to you, so a menu that can largely be prepared in advance will make for a more relaxing evening.
If you are pushing the boat out with three courses, remember that lighter is better and if in doubt, never go too spicy. Nobody feels (or looks) sexy after an entire plate of blow-your-socks-off chicken wings.
Set the mood (appropriately)
Whilst a rose petal covered table, candles and the dulcet tones of Barry White in the background might be very romantic, it could be considered inappropriate for a third date.
Instead curate your own playlist, mixing in some of your own personal favourites along with a broad selection of others, to ensure all bases are covered. For those living with others, give your housemates a heads up well in advance to avoid being awkwardly disturbed.
If you’ve followed the above steps carefully, by the time your date knocks on your door, everything should be under control. If it’s their first visit to your house, a quick tour with a glass of wine in hand will make them feel at home in no time at all. Most importantly though, however scintillating the conversation always remember the food – don’t be afraid to excuse yourself if you smell burning.
Cooking isn’t an exact science and part of the fun is that it can go wrong! Be prepared to burn, drop, spill and singe but keep in mind that however bad it gets, it’ll make an amusing anecdote for you and your date to laugh about one day. It’s the though that counts – Bon appétit!
Photo Credit: Personal Creations