How to Prepare and Serve a Romantic Meal at Home. Part 1.

Chef Dan Moody, the Relation Chef

It's about to get all sorts of tasty up in this place, kids! We're continuing our features of different Chefs who focus on romantic culinary goodness. The following is part one of a two-article series on how to prepare and serve a romantic meal at home by Chef Dan Moody, The RelationChef. Please check back on 10/8/2010 to read part two of this informative article.

PART I: The Menu

To prepare and serve a romantic meal at home, you don’t need the world’s greatest equipment or skills in the kitchen. While you probably wish you remembered more of the table manners about which your mother used to scold you at the dinner table, you don’t need perfect table manners (though it certainly wouldn’t hurt your case). You don’t have to know on which side of the plate the fork and knife go (left & right, respectively). You don’t have to be a master DJ. You don’t even have to know how to decorate a room like the people you see on HGTV.

You have something far more important than all of that: your own unique personality. If your significant other loves YOU, then this is the most important attribute of all: something in which you have no competition from anyone else.

The key to romance, in my opinion, is intimacy. There are so many things that intimacy can mean within a relationship. When it comes to preparing a meal for your significant other at home, I think that, beyond the act itself (which is inherently intimate & romantic), there is one goal you need to have in mind to make a truly special, intimate, romantic meal: Show your significant other that you paid attention to their likes and dislikes, and that you are attempting to cater to those. In other words: Show your significant other that you care. It’s really that simple.

How do you create a menu that shows you care?

Choosing Your Menu

KISS: Keep It Simple, Seducer! Is there a dish you’ve made before that your significant other particularly liked? Do they like a particular protein (Beef, Chicken, Fish)? Do they like a particular vegetable? I know this sounds too simple, but just make what they like, and in the simplest way possible – a way you are sure to not get wrong.

Do not go through cookbooks finding the most complicated dish that you can find, or something with a fancy sounding name. And while it might show that you’ve listened to your significant other to attempt a dish they’ve said they’ve always wanted to try, do not ever attempt a dish you’ve never made before on the night of your date, unless you’re content to risk ending up with take-out from a local restaurant.

Most importantly, if you do make a mistake in the cooking process, don’t discuss it, unless the meal is inedible (and, in this case, this is when you call an “audible” and go the take-out route). There is nothing more romance-killing than being apologetic about the fact that you’ve made some cooking mistake when you’re trying to create a romantic atmosphere. Fight your need to apologize for not being perfect; to paraphrase Will Rogers “We’re all imperfect, only in different ways.”

(Personal note: If you’re cooking for someone who you know is a better cook than you, DO NOT say this phrase before placing every dish in front of him or her: “I know this isn’t as good as you could do, but…” It is a real romance-killer. This also goes to mothers if you’re cooking for someone your son or daughter brings home, who you know to be an excellent cook. It ruins the meal for that person, because they feel like they’ve made you insecure and feel inadequate.)

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