This entry is designed for those so inept in the kitchen that a cooking session resulting in a burnt-down home is a moderate success. However, the cooking aspect of the meal is not the main focus. Instead this entry will focus on distracting your partner from the food as much as possible so that they may still be talking to you by the end of the evening.
Keep it simple! The best way to select a simple recipe is to go through the recipe book with a ruler. Carefully measure each entry in the book from the top of the ingredients list to the bottom of the description. The shortest entry is the one to choose. It’s very important to make sure that you have all the ingredients before you start. It is often disappointing to serve up a plate of boiling oil because you only just realised eggs were the main ingredient of fried eggs.
Presentation is the key. Even the most inedible of dishes can be made to look like a work of art if the right techniques are used:
Green things – Little bits of green plants (herbs would be best) help give the dish a more natural edge (However, stinging nettles should be avoided).
Swirly sauce – if there is a sauce to go with your dish try drizzling it around the plate rather than pouring it all over everything.
Removal of burn bits – although rich in carbon (an essential part of a healthy diet), large lumps of charcoal, while good for keeping eskimos warm, do not go down well with the digestive system.
Salad – This is particularly important if the person you are trying to impress is a lady. It is best to buy ready-made salads to avoid any embarrassments. Otherwise, rabbit food often makes a good alternative.
Check the Food is Going to be Alright on the Night
It's important to bear in mind that not all food agrees with all people. There are a countless number of different medical conditions that limit the amounts and types of food that you can eat. There are even more types of FBs (Food beliefs) that also restrict the range of foods that a person can eat. Medical conditions include people such as coeliacs and allergy sufferers where as FBs include fruitarians, vegetarians and a countless number of people on a countless number of diets. So always remember to check with the people you are cooking for to see if they have any special needs.
It is also wise to use a recipe that you know will work well. Many people have books of 'sure' recipes. Ones that they know work and work well – this is the kind of recipe that you should be using.
Drink is important in more ways than one. Not only can the type of drink that you choose to bless your cooking tell your partner a great deal about you, it can also be used to dampen their senses and so hopefully distract them from any mistakes you may make. This should not however encourage you to go out and buy the most alcoholic liquid you can get your hands on as, confronted with a bottle labelled ‘70% vol’, your partner may begin to question your motives for the evening. Instead, wine is your best bet. The general rule of thumb being to have red with red meats and white with white meats.
It is important to finish on a high note. No use starting with a roulade if you are going to finish with cheese and crackers, minus the cheese. Ice cream, fruit, cakes, sorbets and so on; almost all desserts are good as long as they are presented with the grace and elegance that they truly deserve. If you are using ice cream try putting it in tall thin glass bowls. If you don't have any of these then you can probably get away with using tall glasses or a decorative glass vase.
'Fancy dessert?' *wink, wink*
Yes, you have to realise that dessert may be accidentally confused with something else meaning 'intimate engagement in the bedroom'. So be careful not to put your foot in it. Otherwise when you return to the table with the final dish your partner may have considerably fewer clothes on.
And if all else has failed...
It will always happen to someone somewhere. Perhaps the oven breaks, you forgot meal or the chicken you bought escaped from its cage – whatever the case there is a solution. In this wonderful world that we live in you never have to go that far to find a bit of food. Takeaways are easy to look up and most will deliver. You are then faced with covering up your mistake if you haven't yet been found out. Get rid of all of the plastic bags the meal came in and put it out on plates - if you're lucky your date will be none the wiser.
Lighting is key to all romantic occasions. A glaring light is often inappropriate as not only will it make the mess you've made of the food glaringly obvious and the shiny cutlery into deadly weapons but it can also cause permanent damage to the retina of the eye. Candles are perhaps the best bet although they must be treated with care. They are a genuine safety hazard and must be put out before you go to bed no matter how much of a rush you are in to get upstairs. Therefore perhaps the best lighting is lights on a dimmer switch: these can be easily set to the perfect level and can be left on all night without there being any fear of an inferno.
A good clue that the music is not being appreciated is if your partner asks for it to be turned down. Conversely, if they ask for the music to be turned up it could be a clue that your conversation is boring. The type of music that you chose is really up to you but here are a few pointers:
Songs with lyrics are often only intrusive and distract your partner's attention from your pearls of wisdom and witty remarks. Far better to choose a CD of non-lyrical songs, perhaps a bit of jazz or classical chill-out.
Artists to be avoided also include: Bob the Builder, Pet Shop Boys, Hell on Earth, Marilyn Manson, Eminem and Songs of Praise.
First impressions are very important on this occasion and as such the location of the meal is crucial to your success. While you would think that your own home will simply have to be put up with, you may be better off using a friend's place that looks good. This is especially true if you are a student because your flat is probably a complete mess.
Conversation is like a war; you have to use all the weapons at your disposal and all your cunning to defeat the great evil that is... 'The Awkward Silence' (TAS). TAS is usually brought about by a lack of things to say (it can also be induced by things such as death and a bad stammer but we will ignore these for the time being). It is best in this case to think of four or five different things to talk and before you start the meal. Suggestions could be: your love of animals, interest in art (hints on this can be found in 'Bluffing Your Way Through an Art Gallery'), or your parents' struggle against poverty. Subjects that should probably be avoided include: your exes, sexual habits, drunken escapades and your interest in fluid dynamics and quantum physics (unless of course you are trying to impress someone with a keen interest in this field).
It is important to first try and find common ground, whether it is a joint interest in music or a joint hate for bad food. It is important to first find something that you agree on before finding something you disagree on. It isn't important to agree on everything; in fact it is probably better if you don't. It is good to have the odd disagreement but is important to know where to draw the line. The level to which a person is annoyed by what you are saying will appear through certain actions:
The first sign will usually be a disgruntled facial expression (although this could mean any number of things).
Next their voice will change. They will lean towards you and will become more outspoken in opposition to what you are saying.
Next will come hand gestures. These are used subconsciously to emphasise certain words as they say them.
The hand gestures will probably stop and then the brow will furrow...you're getting close to breaking point.
The end will come in a flash as once a certain threshold is breached they will change completely and may become more aggressive. They will either walk away or, if they are a girl, a slap could be headed your way. However pay attention and read the signs and it shouldn't go this far!
Key Words and PhrasesFood – All things that can be digested
Digested – Broken down into energy-producing substances (mainly occurs in the stomach)
Stomach – The quickest way to a man's heart (apart from through his chest, with an axe)
Axe – Nothing to do with this
Dish – A plate, course, meal, type of food, bowl, good-looking man or woman
Aperitif – Starter
Beverage – Drink
Knife – Single-planed slicing implement
Fork – Three or four-pronged implement for securing food
Spoon – Thing you eat ice cream with
Fancy dessert? – Would you like dessert? Would you like sex?
Fancy a coffee? – Would you like a coffee? Would you like sex?
Fancy something more? – Would you like anything else? Would you like sex?
Fancy S.E.X? – Would you like Some Extra Hot-'X'-buns?
Vegetarian – Someone that doesn't eat meat
Coeliac – Someone that can't eat food containing gluten
Fruitarian – A fruitcake
Vegan – Someone that doesn't eat animal products