Saturday, August 8, 2009

Love Food: An Inquiry

The other night, as Awesome Stepkid R. was serving as my sous-chef, diligently peeling and dicing away, my husband wandered in.

Hubs: Hey, you're getting pretty good at that.
ASR: I know.
Hubs: You know, chicks are impressed by a guy who can cook.
ASR: Can you cook?
Hubs: Um........... no. But you should learn.
Me: That's a good idea. We should pick a few things that would impress chicks and make them.
ASR: Kay.....but what food impresses chicks?

This led to a rather animated discussion. My husband voted for grilled steak, some kind of potato besides mashed, and a salad.

I disagreed. I think the menu he suggested is a menu to impress a dude, not a chick. It is, in fact, the menu he asks for every Father's Day.

Awesome Stepkid R., showing a frightening ability to look into the future, suggested he learn how to make breakfast. You know, just in case.

Yeah, I almost peed myself too.

I'm not sure I have the emotional fortitude to delve into breakfast just yet with R. However, it got me thinking...what, as a woman, would impress you? What would you love to see on the table, happily prepared by the man at the stove? And men, you can weigh in too, feel free.

I immediately thought of pasta. But unfortunately, Awesome Stepkid R. doesn't like pasta. That kid is craaaaazy that way.

Then I thought of chocolate. Of course. But that's dessert. Shouldn't we start with the meal?

Shrimp, scallops or tuna could be a good bet, but then again, a heck of a lot of people don't "do" fish. Seems kind of risky to me--I'd hate for him to take the pains to make something, only to turn his date green around the gills. Still, there's something about shellfish that's sexy, don't you think?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

- it shouldn't be too heavy. You definitely don't want your date to require a nap during the date.
- it should be relatively simple, yet complicated enough to impress.
- ditto with speed of execution. Not too quick, not too cumbersome.
- it shouldn't contain immense amounts of the following: garlic, chile flakes/peppers, bones, shells, cheese.
- it shouldn't require copious mess and/or skill to eat, eg: ribs, crab legs, whole lobster, noodles with chopsticks.

I'm searching for a meal to seal the deal (okay, not like that) that's not a bank-breaker, a time-sucker or a risk-taker.

Tell me, tell me, wise readers...what should Awesome Stepkid R. have in his culinary arsenal?


  1. I say start with simple, yet flavorful...Learning to perfectly season and cook a skin-on, boneless chicken breast, then make a quick pan sauce with the juices, some herbs, lemon, broth, etc. always impresses. With a basic mashed tater (that can be left open to add-ins in the future) and seasonal veggies cooked al dente. That would still impress me!! And okay, throw a little chocolate in...dip those strawberries...always a hit!

  2. Never underestimate the power of making a good and simple kickass salad to accompany the meal. One of my gotos is baby greens with orange segments (supreme the orange - another good skill) and toasted almond slivers dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. My favorite easy meal is pan-seared scallops. It's fast, but expensive. He could try a marinated grilled flank steak (easy and fast). Instead of potatoes, I rather love grilled or roasted asparagus. So many choices! :) Dessert is easy - chocolate. Chocolate truffles get big wows for little effort. Seriously. xxoo

  3. I think anything that took some time and that he cooked himself will impress the right kind of woman. :) Love it that he thought he should learn how to make breakfast. Ha!!

  4. I agree with Tsquared, anything he took the time to cook himself, would be impressive. My husband doesn't cook at all, he seems to loose all sense once he steps foot in the kitchen (think it's an act?) Anyway, once when I was under the weather and he made grilled cheese, it was the sweetest thing.
    The breakfast comment was too funny, course you can have a late night breakfast, omelettes are good :)

  5. Make sure it's not something that would get stuck in her teeth, like pesto or broccoli. Not good. (I should know.) I am a pasta girl, but I would be fine with the guy's meal of steak. Maybe you could girl it up a bit, like mini filets with different cheese, hollandaise, bearnaise (I am not going to spell check on a Sunday morning), with a side of asparagus. Now THAT would get me!

  6. A nicely roasted chicken or pork tenderloin would be sure to impress.

  7. Something gooey and chocolaty for pudding...maybe even some cheese and biscuits with chutney and celery and grapes...a good bottle of wine...maybe some king prawns in there somewhere to start or mussels! Ermmm...I actually adore steak so I wouldn't say no to a medium rare one with home-made chips (want to see the effort) and some roasted vine tomatoes....yum. I'm not sure that helps your son much though....a good spag bol always works but he doesn't like pasta - a fab risotto is always a winner but its a bit tedious to cook too....

  8. Cornish Game Hens - fairly simple, you can season as much or as little as you want - and there is something sophisticated/romantic about the very name of the entree.

  9. Crepes! And then will you teach me, too?

    Ok, that's probably insanely hard. How about filet mignon served with a lovely artful salad and crusty french bread?

  10. Risotto. Yes, it's not that easy to make a good one, and it's not that quick either, but let me tell you, it's impressive. And it works for the vegetarian girls too if you use veggie stock (I know, not as good, but still works). That, a salad and a nice but simple dessert with chocolate -- maybe a chocolate mousse.

  11. hmmm this is tough, not only are you asking for female faves, but also asking us to put ourselves back in the shoes of a 20-something female whose tastebuds haven't likely evolved much past dorm-room spaghettios and Ramen noodles LOL! I'd probably choose something off the Chili's or Uno's menu such as steak/chicken fajitas or grilled chicken pizza. Some kind of "fun" food. I agree that chocolate-dipped fruit would be a good choice for these younglings, something they can have a blast doing together.

  12. I think that I would start by teaching him how to make a salad. It is not unusual for a guy to be able to cook a steak, however if he can make a great salad I'm always impressed. For the main course perhaps a rolled chicken dish (which can be rolled ahead and then cooked when she's there). I like to pound a chicken breast until it is thin and then layer in a slice of provolone, a basil leaf, and a few thin portobello slices. Roll it all up with a prosciutto layer on the outside, tie w/ kitchen string, and then pan sear or grill until cooked through w/ salt and pepper for flavor. He could make a quick sauce with the pan juices too. Impressive but easy.

  13. I agree with the above posters about a good salad. I also think a great risotto can never be underestimated.

    Funny, my hubs makes the breakfast around here...maybe that is what he thought he should learn back when he was young too!

    Love your blog.

  14. You guys are terrific. I am taking all suggestions to the table, and will keep you updated.

    Hubby just announced: "Chicken isn't sexy." I'm thinking on that one... I mean, a plain grilled one slapped on a plate isn't, but I think we can sex chicken up, can't we? Stuffed like Phoo-D suggested, or with a pan sauce like Girlichef mentioned...that's not boring. Safe, but not boring, and safe isn't bad when you cook for someone for the first time.

    Anyways, thanks for your input and it's going to spur some interesting discussion around here!

  15. I know I am late but I agree with everyone (almost) a salad is great and won't make him sweat bullets and then just some kind of marinated gilled meat to go on top cut into thin strips......a good size and she should have enough room for dessert, what ever that will be!
    I would be very happy :0)

  16. My husband learned to make me stuff pasta shells because it was my favorite. But that wouldn't work with ASR. But I think something chicken would do.
    Oh, all the girls were impressed when a guy friend of mine made cheesecake.

  17. one our third or fourth date my husband made a baked/roasted chicken with creamed spinach and some potato side (can't remember the potatoes, unremarkable apparently); i was very impressed, the roasted chicken (in the oven) was juicy, flavorful and tender, the creamed spinach (made with a pinch of nutmeg) is something we regularly make to this day and he just used frozen spinach so it was easy.

    I was impressed and it was delicious and really easy to make, and we were talking and laughing while the chicken was in the oven.

  18. "Awesome Stepkid R., showing a frightening ability to look into the future, suggested he learn how to make breakfast. You know, just in case." LOL. I peed a little too but it is because I am laughing too hard and also I was too lazy to do Kegel exercise...