Cooking a meal together on your first date is fun and interesting, and can help you get to know each other on a different level than sitting in a restaurant!
Cooking dinner together at home is less expensive, too
These tips don’t include a list of recipes or food suggestions for dates. Rather, it’s a general overview of why cooking dinner at home is a great date idea – first date or not – plus a few tips on cooking for your date.
Making a meal on the first or second date can be more relaxing and fun than going out to a restaurant because your focus is on the food preparation, not on each other. And yet, it still gives you and your date the chance to talk about what’s important to you.
Don’t forget that you’ll have to make compromises when you’re on the cusp of a potential new relationship. But what should you compromise about?
“The trick is knowing when to compromise and when to go for it,” writes Dr Joy Browne in Dating For Dummies. “To do that, you have to know what’s really important to you. Once you know that, don’t settle.”
If you’re nervous about dating, read The Tao of Dating. It’s an intelligent, spiritual, wise approach to relationships that will ground and calm you.
And, check out these tips for impressing your date…
10 Tips for Cooking for Your Date
1. Let go of the pressure to impress your date. The best way to impress your date is to be relaxed, calm, and happy — and not worried about how you’re being perceived! Don’t make your first date more stressful than it needs to be, by cooking filet mignon, white truffle mushrooms, and organic purple cauliflower to be sautéed in a three pepper cheese sauce. Sure, your may notice the food — but it’s you he’s there to get to know.
2. Ask your date what his or her favorite meal is. When you’re deciding what to cook for your first date at home, do a little digging. What’s her favorite restaurant? Her favorite type of food? Any allergies? I’m not saying you should cook your date’s exact favorite meal; however, I do think it’s important to get a feel for what she likes. Plus, healthy dating is all about getting to know each other better.
3. Pick something you can cook with your date. Making sushi is one of my favorite things to do with my husband. It’s interesting, complicated, and fun to eat – and we’re equally inexperienced at it, so we’re learning new things together. When you’re deciding what to cook your date for dinner, consider something that you can do together. Even if it turns out horribly, it’ll give you something to laugh about on your second date!
4. Ask your date to bring something. You can make interesting personality observations based on what dish he brings on your first date. Don’t be shy — make it fun! Ask your date to bring dessert or an appetizer. If he ignores your request and brings a case of beer, then you know what you’ll be cooking on a second date (and it better be nothing). Asking him to bring something can help you connect as human beings, and makes your date feel needed.
5. Cook something interactive — an activity. Slurping soup and buttering bread doesn’t give you anything to talk about. Whatever you cook on a first date should encourage you to talk about more than the usual “get to know you” stuff. If you’re rolling fajitas or dipping bits of meat or veggies in a hot chicken broth fondue, you have built-in conversation starters for the first date - and you won’t be as nervous.
6. Avoid stir fry noodles, spaghetti, or chili dogs. I gotta say, it’s difficult to eat stir fry noodles or spaghetti and meat balls at the best of times, much less when you’re trying to impress a first date. I think chopsticks for Asian food (sushi!) is a nice challenge, though – especially if you set forks out.
7. Consider a tapas meal. Tapas are “little dishes” – Mediterranean I think – and they’d be a fantastic meal to cook for a first dinner date. Arrange an assortment of cheeses, olives, meats, apple slices, hummus, pita bread, pickles and whatever you fancy on the table or coffee table. This is a interactive way to eat dinner at home, and it’ll help improve your dating life by adding a bit of culture and spice to your singles life.
8. Avoid meals that require a lot of preparation. Whether it’s your first date or your 50th, you don’t want to be spending all your time in the kitchen cooking and no time talking. If the meal does require preparation, do it in advance. Better yet, invite your date into the kitchen and give him some slicing and dicing to do.
9. Give your date a chore! Does she balk at the idea of putting on an apron, or is she right there beside you, chopping up those onions? It’s always good to know a date’s stance in the kitchen before things go too far…because you don’t want to be the only one in the relationship who knows where the garlic press is.
10. Remember that dating isn’t about the food. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your first date involves cooking dinner at home or eating in a five star gourmet restaurant. Do you and your date have lots to talk about? Is your date fun to be with? Do you feel comfortable with him? Focus on the things that matter – which are more important than impressing a first date by cooking dinner at home.
If you’re nervous about dating because your last relationship bombed, read What if My New Relationship Doesn’t Work Out?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.