I’m sure all of us have been on our fair share of dates where everything just seems to go wrong. The night becomes stressful and you end up wondering if this was just not meant to be. Well, I had the pleasure of going on one of those dates last week. My date (M) and I decided we would cook together, and while this wasn’t our first time cooking together, it certainly was the most disorganized and unplanned dinner date that we’ve ever had.
But it wasn’t all bad – it was by far the most memorable and fun we have ever had at dinner. I’ll share with you all the disasters that happened and how you can avoid these date disasters when you host your own dinner. Oh and I’ve also asked M to add his input to this article, so get ready for some brazen boyishness.
Some background: M and I went grocery shopping right before dinner and so we started cooking pretty late. Since we had a long day of work and school, we wanted something ‘simple’ and so we made vegetarian onigiris consisting of porcini mushrooms, avocado and egg stuffing. Let me be the first to say that wrapping a massive rice ball is no easy feat and it makes the kitchen pretty messy.
**Some disasters–and their solutions**
Disaster #1: The recipe that you followed to a tee still ended up as a disaster. Your food is over or undercooked, burnt, too salty, too sweet, overall just inedible.
S: I managed to burn one of the most key ingredients in sushi, the rice. After stressing over my black sushi rice, I decided that it would match my whole color scheme (nori is black too!). In general, you should probably only cook dishes that you’re familiar with; or if you’re going to try out something new for your date, you two should do it together, so that you both get a good laugh out of your meal if it flops. It’s also important to remember that your effort is what makes the dinner meaningful. Not everyone gets to date a Nigella Lawson.
M: Let me tell you a little secret. Men tend to be terrible cooks. (This site isn’t called Big Boys, Little Kitchen, after all. That would just be wrong.) Use that to your advantage. Your end goal isn’t to prepare a delicious meal–it’s to bring you closer to the other person. By throwing on your World’s Best Chef apron and a matching demeanor, you’re now equipped to order your around the kitchen, having him dabble here and there. That way, when the food explodes, you can indirectly place the blame on him (I certainly thought the rice-flavored sushi filled with, well, rice was my fault). If you’re lucky, he’ll even take you out to dessert!
Disaster #2: Your date has arrived and your meal is nowhere near ready. Your fire alarm goes off and you worry that your stomachs might eat themselves out of hunger before your meal is done cooking.
S: Since we started cooking at about 8:30 that night, we were both starving by the time the sushi rice was done. If you find yourself with a date and without food, try to satiate feelings of hunger with excellent conversation (risky) or ‘taste’ a little bit of your food (by taste, I really mean munch as much of it as possible).
M: Just throw him a bone. Or your least favorite box of untouched cereal.
Disaster #3: The setting for your dinner date has unexpectedly changed and you’re scrambling to assemble your candles, chairs, tablecloths, wine glasses etc…
S: M and I had a nice time standing up and eating our sushi rolls. It certainly wasn’t our usual repertoire of candles but the change of scene was good. If this happens to you, embrace it! Who knew that sitting in a warm kitchen with delicious smells could be so fun and intimate? With no tables and almost no chairs, eating homemade sushi with our sticky fingers allowed me to see M in another light (literally, those fluorescent harsh kitchen bulbs).
M: Candlelight dinners are great! If A) you are more cliche than long walks on the–you get the point, B) your date is an eight-year-old pyromaniac, C) enjoy long awkward silences in a forced unnatural environment, or D) there was a power outage because you and your date seduced the entire city’s electricity and transfixed it into the hot romance buzzing inches between you and your date’s gaze.
So the main lesson that I learned from that night? Be flexible. No one ever said that dinner dates had to be about food, and definitely no one ever said that you had to be eating at a table. When ‘disasters’ happen, share the experience so that instead of your date laughing at your misfortune, you can laugh about it together at date number two.
Stephanie is a recent adoptee of the pescetarian slow-carb diet. She likes pretending to be Danish and as a result eats lots of Danish Dream Cake. In her spare time, Stephanie likes shopping for her ever-expanding mustard collection. This post is dedicated to her sweet-natured date, M, who has endured a few too many dishwashing sessions and experimental dinners.