Anything can be made romantic or fun or romantic AND fun with a little thought and action. Even cooking together. But as it’s a creative process, cooking can also conjure up disagreements and silly problems. Don't let that be so. Put your apron on, drag your man into the activity and cook up a storm. Then enjoy feasting on the fruits of your labors.
1. A Change is as Good as a Culinary Holiday
Instead of arguing over whose turn it is to slave over a hot stove, get out of the kitchen and head somewhere else. Why not enjoy a candlelit dinner on the roof, lunch in the park or munching BBQ ribs in your backyard? Cooking as a couple doesn't mean you have to prepare meals in your designer kitchen all the time. Camping cookers and disposable barbeques are small, light and quite cheap these days, so head out into the wilderness and have a romantic al fresco experience under the stars. Choosing your venue and the necessary equipment for this culinary expedition together will serve as a stepping stone in your relationship. Embrace change as a good thing, something to look forward to!
2. Make Boring Old Budgeting Part of the Process
"All You Need Is Love" may be the ideal we all strive towards, but relationships cannot survive without sorting out the age-old money issue. And cooking as a couple is as much about researching recipes, sourcing ingredients and developing cooking skills as it is about budgeting for household expenses together, with both parties contributing moneywise. This is especially relevant when you both like to entertain guests and hope to give frequent dinner parties for your closest friends. Even if money dictates you have to compromise on ingredients, you will have made these decisions together, and that will only serve to strengthen your relationship.
3. Pretend to Be a Professional Chef
Professional kitchens are run like military operations - properly planning a balanced meal together when you're cooking as a couple will make the breakfast, lunch or dinner far more enjoyable. Even if your taste buds have totally different ideas of what constitutes the ideal meal, let your creativity run wild and please both your taste buds by compromising along the way. For special occasions, design your own menu, which will make the event more formal and sophisticated for all concerned.
4. Don't Be Outsmarted by the Weather
Your calendar might say that today's the day for your stargazing BBQ in the backyard or picnic in the park, but if you haven't checked the venue and weather forecast, your special day out could end in tears. Preparation is everything, so your rooftop dinner may require you to have a small tent on stand-by in case it rains; your picnic in the forest will need a location well away from ants' nests and falling branches knocked down by the slightest breeze. Check your rooftop is clean and fit for purpose, if not, choose a different venue - ask family and friends, if you live in an apartment and haven't got access to a desirable roof space. Be sure to test the grill, if you're planning a BBQ in your backyard and prepare enough comfy seating for everyone. It may seem like a lot of hard work, but it will all be worth it in the end, when you're greeted by smiling faces all around.
5. Set a Fixed Date
If you're hoping to indulge in a cooking session with your partner, be sure to fix a date that will suit both of you, a day when there are no evening classes, deadlines, exams or important family commitments. Allow sufficient time for food preparation, which will take at least 2 hours plus eating time, for which you should allow a generous hour plus any after meal activities you're planning. You should allow ca. four to five hours for the culinary experience.
6. Plan Your Grocery Shopping Ahead
Don't leave everything to the last minute and make a list of all the ingredients you'll need. When you have decided on your menu and selected the venue, check what other things you might need, for example party hats, cooling bags, charcoal and disposable BBQ, table napkins or travel rugs to sit on. If possible, don't do your grocery shopping on the day when you're cooking the meal, or you'll be too tired to enjoy the occasion. Share the task of shopping for the meal or designate one person to do the shopping and one to do food preparation - you'll both be sitting down at the dinner table with a feeling of achievement when you share the task.
7. Where to Eat?
Amidst the grocery shopping and meal preparation it's easy to forget about the venue. If you're cooking as a couple in a place other than your shared home kitchen, it may be easier to delegate the set-up of cooking utensils or grill to the other partner, while you prepare the ingredients. If you want to set up the venue together, fix a specific time before your cooking session and allow time for clearing up the venue afterwards.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous about cooking together too. If the mood takes you, get in the kitchen and prepare a meal - just remember it’s not meant to be a chore but a way to enjoy spending time together.
Do you and your partner cook together?