Ben Higgins Mexico City Source ABC

The Recipe for Relationships

Some of my friends think I’m crazy, but I love to cook. I wouldn’t say I’m great at it, but I really enjoy doing it. When I cook, I refuse to follow any recipes, because it requires me to get creative. It makes preparing food feel like an artistic experience.

My idea of the perfect date often involves a home-cooked meal. For me, preparing food is an expression of love. I grew up going to family get-togethers involving delicious foods made by my mother and grandmothers. They showed love to my family by making us food. It’s translated into my relationships, becoming one of the ways I show someone that I care.

The food may not end up being perfect, but the act of cooking for someone puts me in the perfect frame of mind to share an amazing evening with that person.

I think about their personality and food preferences, and then try to create a meal that they’ll love and that sets the mood. If it’s going to be a night in, I will usually start with a whiskey and then prepare something hearty and slowly cooked. If it’s a more active night out, I’ll make lighter fare, starting with champagne or white wine and then cooking a light fish and vegetable dish.

To me, the process of combining raw ingredients with heat and seasonings to create something delicious always reminds me of a relationship.

You take two individuals with different backgrounds and strengths and combine them. Then life creates external pressure and unforeseen factors that cause the ingredients to change and blend together. Some dishes get ruined or just aren’t very good, but others end up so delicious and perfect that you wonder if they were created to be together.

I am not a great chef. Half the time I cook for dates or friends, they humor me by eating whatever I prepared. However, there are times when everything turns out exactly how I envisioned it and the whole night is enhanced by the food.

I encourage you to try cooking even if you think you’re no good. The worst you’ll do is throw it away and get take out — and if that’s how it turns out, then at least you created a funny memory. Try things you’ve never tried before and combine ingredients that interest you.

Who knows? You may end up being a great chef and find your soulmate in the process.

Do you like to cook (or bake)? What’s your favorite dish?

By Ben Higgins

Photo courtesy of ABC/Eniac Martinez

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  • Reply
    November 27, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Shakshuka or spaghetti squash “Mac and cheese”

  • Reply
    November 27, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    I cook and bake. I thought I wanted to be a pastry chef at one point, and baked a lot of different sweet treats! I found out quickly, you bake it, you eat it. My favorite is cake, but I have a pretty rad recipe for sugar cookies that I love to bake for parties/holidays.

    Now cooking…I love to cook all the comfort foods–lasagna, enchiladas, my grandma’s chicken and noodles…but homemade pizza is one of my favorites! I think it’s always good to have a good foundation of comfort recipes ‘in your back pocket’ but I think it’s also important–and super fun to branch out and try new things! I once did a meal plan making a meal down the alphabet, Monday was something beginning with A, Tuesday was B, etc…it made it interesting and I was forced to get a little creative and definitely branch out!

  • Reply
    Danielle Stackhouse
    November 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I like making spaghetti with a homemade sauce that involves a nice red wine and jalapenos to spice it up.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I definitely can relate when you talk about showing love to people by cooking for them. I personally think food should be considered a love language! My family’s motto is “until we eat again”. My mom taught me the importance of a good meal and how it brings people together. I now love hosting my friends for dinner! Some of my specialties are gumbo and my family recipe for marinara because let’s face it – homemade sauce is way better than sauce out of a jar! Thanks for the post!

    • Reply
      AllieDanae Walker
      December 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      I love that saying “until we eat again” – I may have to incorporate that into my life!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I cannot express how much I enjoyed this. I started working at the age of 14 at a cafe. I could not of asked for a better job to be my first. I learnt a lot about what food can do besides fill your tummy! It instilled in me a love for cooking and eating together and just being. I love hearing others feel that as well!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I love to make soups and stews. I also love stuffing things like squash or peppers. I agree cooking with people is a great way to get to know them.

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