For someone that doesn’t like cooking – I feel like I write about food and its preparation a lot on this blog. Strange right? I guess that suits me though – as normal is hardly a term I’d ever say applies to me. ‘Proud to be fout’ as the Dunglish would say.
Earlier this month I gave all of you the great and handy tip of 5-3-1 food ordering, but lately my thoughts have been on the kitchen and its contents a lot more than usual. Because you can’t actually order in EVERY day, unless your name is Bill Gates, or you live in a country where takeout is a whole lot cheaper than it is round here. So at some point you’re going to have to get cooking. Literally.
When new people come into your life – they will inevitably enrich it (and potentially destroy it, but hey, that’s a pessimist thing to think, right <- exactly why that’s always my first thought).
I don’t just mean that they’ll enrich it emotionally and spiritually, obviously. And no, even though there’s definitely probably sexlife perks – also not what I meant. Nahnahnah. Today I’m talking food, again.
You see, the thing about connecting with a new person and spending ever increasing amounts of time together – is that you’ll also get to see their personal ‘menus’. Because, unless you’re dating someone brought up solely on oatmeal, eggs and microwave meals – they’re going to cook for you. (hopefully, or you’re going to get stuck doing it, which, in my case, spells disaster)
And their cooking will bring you new tastes. New dishes. New cuisines and new ways or preparation. This, as a whole, might be scary. Especially if you’re one of these people who go for a dinner mismatch. I mean things like, carnivores dating –shudder– vegetarians. Or flexitarians. Or worse even, vegans. Or people with 63467 things they won’t (or can’t) eat without perishing.
One of the most interesting and most subtly match-determining personal qualities a person might possess is their taste in food. You hardly ever see that as a checkbox on the ‘must-have’ lists that people make when canvassing potential partners, but let me tell you: finding someone that ‘eats like you’ is ever so important. I swear. I once dated a dude that made EVERYTHING tongue-burning spicy. Everything got chili. Or pepper. Or something else that mutilated taste buds. Horrendous. I feared for my life (and bowels) every meal. Something as simple as cooking CAN potentially mess up a relationship, without you even realizing it. It’s important. Truly.
One of the more important lessons I’ve had to learn throughout years of dating though, is that there’s no ‘one true way’ to cook. No such thing as a perfect recipe. No such thing as mandatory ingredients or ‘best’ ways of cutting, dicing, chopping and mincing. Sure, some things work better than others. Sure, some recipes DO require you to actually follow the instructions to actually get a soufflé that doesn’t raspberry-fart-out-of-existence, but on the whole when it comes to different people cooking different dishes: There’s no such thing as cooking it ‘wrong’. They’re just doing it different. (And explicitly telling them they’re doing it wrong it is hardly ever a much appreciated approach, let me tell ya)
I was different when I was younger. When making ‘red pasta’ it HAD to have onions, and bell peppers and green peas for it to count as pasta. And it HAD to have the classic Bertolli large glass bottle of red sauce base that you’d get in the supermarket together with one of the small tins of tomato paste that were impossible to open with a can opener. No other options allowed.
The way my heart broke when I got myself a partner who actually made sauce from scratch with fresh tomatoes was inevitable. But I learned.
Acceptance in the kitchen is as important as it is in life, it turns out. Learning that there’s different ways of doing things that are NOT necessarily WRONG because they ARE different – is something that’s going to get yourself a whole lot further than narrowmindedness. Because boy, there are a lot a lot a lot of DELICIOUSLY different ways of making pasta that stray further and further away from moms conservative cooking every day. You live. You learn. You evolve.
I’m not saying that when your new boo attempts to boil pasta without actually adding water to the pot that you shouldn’t step in. And I’m definitely not saying that eggplant is a valid replacement for meat is a lasagna. Plus – you DON’T have to accept someone that refuses to add bacon to pretty much any dish to make it better. Some things in the kitchen ARE wrong. But when it comes to dating and exploring a potential life together with a new person – being openmouthed is almost as important as openminded. Winkwinknudgenudge.