They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but a romantic meal on Valentine’s Day is something that you should both enjoy. So whether you’re looking to cook up a treat for your wife or girlfriend, husband or boyfriend, it’s important to get a few things right. Or, just as importantly, 5 things to actively avoid.
What does your partner actually like?
If your other half is a lover of steak and all things that moo, perhaps a vegetarian lasagne isn’t going to be the meal to spark romance. It may also be worth considering allergies and preferences, after all you don’t want to plate up a king prawn vindaloo to someone who doesn’t like spice and is allergic to shellfish – it probably won’t end well.
So, this is a time to be selfless and considerate, not to make sweeping assumptions or “do the usual”. A romantic evening requires good company and it rarely involves a trip to the hospital, so make sure you’re cooking up a treat, not a recipe for disaster.
Presentation is key
Sure, this isn’t Masterchef and you’re not going to be marked down by Gregg and John for an untidy mound of vegetables, but sloppiness isn’t generally a good thing. So get the little things right. Make sure that plates, cutlery and glasses are all spotless. Create a pleasant environment and maybe put away the clothes drier for the evening.
Give your kitchen a spruce up too. If your oven is kicking out black smoke that is reminiscent of a 19th century factory, make sure it is given a thorough clean beforehand. You don’t want to be setting off the smoke detector every time you check on the meal; nor do you want the food to be tainted by all that airborne carbon.
Always be prepared
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail – or so the old saying goes. In the case of a romantic Valentine’s Day meal, you need to make sure you’ve got all of the ingredients, know what you’re doing and ensure that you’re not flapping around.
So get the wine chilled, double check your pantry is fully stocked and have a back-up in case anything goes a little awry. Of course you may be at a stage in your relationship where such trivialities can be laughed off and solved with a local takeaway menu; but if you’re looking to make a good impression and show your love, then a little preparation can go a long way.
Is garlic a good idea?
Okay, so it’s not just garlic; you may want to reconsider the use of chillies, onions and anything else that is likely to leave a lasting impression. Unless you both love a particular meal and can accept the consequences, perhaps something else would be more appropriate. You have to think beyond what you like or what you can make; while a meal may prove to be a bold romantic gesture, it could also ruin the romantic ambience of an evening.
A little lateral thought could help you to avoid a major faux pas. Again, preparedness can dig you out of a hole; for instance, you could have a sorbet for desert, which is effective as a palate cleaner.
Take your time and don’t get flustered
This can probably be applied to most situations, but as soon as you start to try to rush things or do too much at once, the likelihood of an accident happening increases many times over. Whether it’s burning the food, or slicing into your hand rather than the vegetables, haste really can make waste. So be careful and don’t take unnecessary risks in an effort to impress someone else.
Remember why you’re doing this in the first place and don’t try to take on too much. If you’re overworked and stressed, bad things can happen. Nothing kills romance quite like a partially severed finger or a visit from the fire brigade. Enjoy yourself and keep calm, then let the rest look after itself.
So what about you? Do you have any unfortunate tales of kitchen-based misfortune to share? Have you got any pearls of wisdom to share, whether from personal experience or otherwise? Head on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and good luck if you’re preparing a meal.
Loveheart – Flickr
Peppers – Flickr