First Dates: Dinner Determining Your Destiny?

No fresh pasta, sea urchin, or kimchi on a first date? No shared plates? Yikes.

This Guardian article on how, where, and what to eat for a first date makes a few noteworthy points (like avoiding places with mariachi bands), but it ultimately sounds more punishing than pleasure-enhancing. I’m not so concerned about specific food items (though you might want to avoid asparagus, for reasons I’ll explain another time). Instead, at least for me, I think it’s incredibly important to find food compatibility. Granted, I’m a food freak, but if you’re hoping your first-time dining companion might turn into your life-long partner, I believe you should share some passion when you’re first breaking bread. After all, you might be sitting across the table from each other for many meals in the years and decades to follow.

Happily, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a first date, but thinking back, I came to realize I wanted to be with someone who loves looking at menus, sampling new dishes, and discerning the different ingredients. Someone with a healthy appetite, translating to a healthy appetite for life. Someone who likes to share plates, but will playfully fight for that last great bite. Someone omnivorous, who understands that bacon fat makes everything taste better, and who smiles instead of squirms at the prospect of ordering organ meats. Someone who’d perhaps even eat fresh pasta with sea urchin and kimchi!

Luckily, I found that someone. What’s hard for me to believe, especially now that I’m a food writer, is that it wasn’t long ago that I dated someone who didn’t like fruit…or fish…or beef…or any dark meat…or most anything. (Basically, it seemed like she only ate chicken breasts and overcooked vegetables, which made her the perfect candidate for hotel banquets.) Vacations, the perfect time to explore new cuisines and concoctions, felt like a nightmare. Worse, daily life at the dinner table became, well, dull and eventually dreadful.

Does that make you look at that first dinner date any differently?

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