How to make and appreciate a romantic homemade dinner
By Caroline Ho, Web Editor
What’s cheaper, fancier, and more intimate than a fancy restaurant dinner date? A fancy home-cooked dinner date! Perfect for when you refuse to give into yet another capitalistic, heteronormative holiday, when you or your partner want to provide a true labour-of-love gesture, and totally not just when you forget to make that reservation your partner reminded you about at least five times over the past month.
Being treated to a homemade meal by your partner this year? Fortunately we provide here tips for both the treater and the treatee because we at the Other Press strive represent all parties in all relationships (except, y’know, all the lonely suckers who don’t have Valentine’s dates).
As the chef: Make their favourite
Listening to your partner and showing that you respect their tastes is such a turn-on. Demonstrate that you’ve been paying attention throughout this relationship by choosing one of their favourite dishes, like that spaghetti bolognaise they keep mentioning they used to love but had to stop eating because they’ve been vegetarian for three years. Sorry, sweetie, what did you say? Real neat? Yes, I know this dish is really neat.
As the diner: Offer helpful culinary advice
While your partner does the actual work of prepping and cooking, try standing over their shoulder watching critically and occasionally doling out helpful, non-judgmental comments such as, “The water’s boiling over, you should turn the stove off,” and “Is that really how you want to cut that carrot?” Don’t offer to actually help though—that will only undermine your partner’s confidence, and you need to support them by demonstrating that you have utmost faith in their cooking ability. Even if they clearly don’t know how to brown a roux properly, tsk tsk.
As the chef: Just use chocolate
When in doubt, add the most romantic, Valentine’s-appropriate flavouring: chocolate. Gravy’s a little too salty? Add a dash of chocolate syrup. Miso glaze turned out too sweet? A chunk or two of nice, bitter dark chocolate. Guaranteed to automatically make your meal more authentically romantic! Alternately, use liberal amounts of the second most Valentine’s-themed consumable: red wine. If you can’t beat ’em, get ’em drunk enough not to notice that your AAA sirloin beef steak is actually just a hunk of fudge.
As the diner: Eat in the nude
Any activity instantly becomes a “sexy” activity if you do it minimally clothed. Be sure to make lots of eye contact with your partner’s roommates every time they pass by, too, just to let them know this is totally not awkward for anyone involved.
As the chef: Cook in the nude
Nothing says “sexy dinner” like grabbing trays out of the oven with your bare hands, or accidentally splashing hot oil all over your bare arms and torso. Now that’s hot.
As the diner: Eat up!
Regardless of how successful or not your partner’s meal turns out, remember to show your appreciation by digging in wholeheartedly. It’s fine if you sacrifice some optional niceties like pleasant conversation or table etiquette for the sake of shoveling food in your face at maximal speed. Make sure you consume as much as physically possible, including at least a third of their plate as well as the leftovers they specifically told you they set aside to feed themselves for the next week. Seems like a fair deal, right. You have to eat their questionable cooking, they have to starve—the couple that suffers together stays together.