It’s been said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” but that saying also goes for women. Sure, it’s easy to take your date to the nicest restaurant in town and through down $100 for stuffed chicken marsala on a bed of mesclun greens with a bottle of Pinot Noir, but it can be just as easy to prepare a home-cooked meal for the woman you’re dating.
Having a dinner date at your place shows creativity and thoughtfulness that doesn’t necessarily come with going out to a restaurant. There are several easy tips to make a special meal and insure the night will be a success. Just don’t invite her over on the first date. This gesture is too forward and, frankly, a little creepy for the first interaction, so save it for the second or third date.
Pick a simple menu.
When cooking for a woman for the first time, plan a simple menu with items you’ve made before that turned out good. Don’t pick this as the time to finally whip out that recipe for duck confit with pomme frites. That just leaves more room for failure. Choose something impressive but easy so you’re not spending the whole night in the kitchen instead of focusing on what she’s saying. Also, cook something you know she will like. Since this will be your second or third date, you should already know her food likes, dislikes and allergies. If she’s vegetarian, make a mental note of it. Pay attention to what she’s ordered on previous dates to get an idea of what you should cook.
“If you prepare a meal, you are telling her you
really care about getting to know who she is.”
Do as much preparation for the meal as soon as you can. A day before the date, chop your vegetables and put them in the fridge. If you’re making a casserole, have it assembled so it’s ready to throw in the oven on the night of the date. If you’re grilling steak, marinate it in the fridge overnight. On the big night, have an easy appetizer ready when she gets there so you two have something to snack on while preparing the main course. Try a cheese plate with brie, sliced apples and fig jam. Having several components of your meal prepped will take pressure off you to perform in front of your date.
Get her involved.
Don’t make your date feel like she has to sit in the corner and watch you run around the kitchen doing everything. Get her involved! If you’re serving a salad, ask her to chop the lettuce and tomato. This will give her something easy to do and won’t run the chance of ruining her outfit. Having her involved in the cooking process provides an opportunity to get to know her better.
Also, have backup choices ready and laugh it off if something goes wrong. Order takeout or have staples like pasta and marinara already in the cabinet. Things happen and no matter how much planning you do, something could still not turn out right. Don’t freak out. You’ll come off as a humble and easygoing host.
Cooking for someone is a very personal gesture that shows sincerity and generosity. If you prepare a meal for the woman you’re dating that is well thought out, you are telling her you really care about getting to know who she is. Remember, the atmosphere matters just as much as the food. The important thing is you are both relaxed, so put on music you both like that won’t take away from the conversation. The focus should be on the two of you. Bon appétit!