When I was around four or five, my mother tried to convince me that it was time I learned to tie my own shoes. Concerned with other things in life like coloring, learning how to spell all the colors and figuring out a way to evade afternoon naps, I told her it wasn’t important.
And then I tripped over my shoe laces and fell…hard.
I wish I could say I learned my lesson from those early formative years but that’s just not my style.
Sadly, I’ve taken my same shoe-tying approach with cooking. In college I lived off of frozen chicken nuggets and french fries, Chipotle, and Noodles and Company.
Now, I can survive. I make a mean chicken salad (walnuts and Craisins included), macaroni and cheese is my responsibility during Thanksgiving and I can bake some fish. I have a few more dishes under my sleeve but that’s about it. I know I have to eat but I also know there are some great takeout options in New York City. Seamless and GrubHub are my friends.
So, in the words of my 4-5 year old self, cooking is just not that important.
Unfortunately, men, with their unwavering appetites, tend to believe that food, cooking and eating for pleasure and survival are very important. Go figure. And not to say you won’t get lucky and find one who will accept you and your culinary deficiencies; but if you find yourself in early stages, when you’re trying to impress and put your best fantastical foot forward, here’s how it’s done.
Note: This doesn’t mean you have to sleep with him first. Invite him over for a breakfast/brunch situation where you can make eggs, bacon and toast…or a frozen waffle if you’re feeling fancy. It’s hard to mess up breakfast food and generally people are so hungry first thing in the morning he might not even notice that there are shells in the scrambled eggs.
Turn simple things into gourmet
Have you ever had a grilled cheese with tomato soup and thought, ‘Dang! This grilled cheese is hittin’ right now?! This is ambrosia!” A grilled cheese, made with the right ingredients, expensive sharp cheddar, plated on just the right set of dishes, on a cold day is literally food for the soul.
Cook the meal together.
Y’all don’t be fooled, men can cook too! And they can also be quite competitive. Talk a whole lot of trash beforehand, find an appetizing looking recipe on Pinterest, buy all the ingredients and lay them out all pretty on the countertop. When he arrives, tell him you want him to show you what he’s got. Get in the kitchen, start reading the instructions and only do the part of the work that won’t allow you to mess anything up. If you’re good with dicing, do that. If you can season the food, stay in that lane. If all you can do is open the oven door and close it, then shine as you open and close.
Chances are he might not even notice you didn’t do much work. And if he does, you can always tell him that you don’t cook for men until you learn that they can cook for you first…Make something up. Eventually, the truth will have to come out, but by that time hopefully, he’ll have found all the other reasons to like you.
Tell him we’re not living in the 1950’s anymore.
We all have to eat to live but if a man is willing to diss and dismiss you just because you can’t burn and throw down in the kitchen; and isn’t willing to stick around until you learn, then there are plenty of other fish in the sea who will appreciate your knowledge of the city’s best restaurants.
For more tips and tricks on being a “fake cook,” check out our latest “Relationship Hacks” video.