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