“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” – M.F.K. Fisher
You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together. If your date makes the experience uptight and restrictive, well, the sex is going to be horrible too. Eating is best when there is spontaneity and variety. Even if you’re a type A, and many things in your life are about control and domination, eating should be a submissive experience, where you let down your guard and enjoy the ride.
I for one don’t have much patience for people who are self-conscious about the act of eating, and it irritates me when someone denies themselves the pleasure of a bloody hunk of steak or a pungent French cheese because of some outdated nonsense about what’s appropriate or attractive. Stop worrying about how your breath’s going to smell, whether there’s beurre blanc on your face, or whether ordering the braised pork belly will make you look greedy or fat. Eating with abandon couldn’t be more of a turn-on: it shows that you’re comfortable with yourself.
A perfect date is with a person who eats without fear, prejudice, or concerns about her appearance. I remember one of my first dates with my partner: he ordered a six-pound lobster. I sat there, enraptured, watching him suck every bit of meat from it – he got a standing ovation from the floor staff. He’s the kind of man who will order filet mignon as an appetizer followed by a T-bone steak. His fearless, open-minded approach to food is completely alluring.
A table for two
It’s also wildly exciting to be open to the unfamiliar, because it just might be delicious. And I know not everyone can travel the world, but wherever you are, you can explore. One of the best things about cuisine these days is that you can ‘travel’ the world without leaving your town. From vibrant Korean food, to amazing Vietnamese recipes, to fantastic South American and Mexican dishes, you’ve got plenty to choose from.
Don’t worry about the wine list, the white table-cloths, the long tasting menu. Eating with a loved one, as is the case with making love, is about having a self-indulgent time. Don’t worry about how you look and don’t try to impress the waiter with what you know. You can eat with a fork, or even with your hands. It’s all about the enjoyment of the moment and the company and food. And if you can be yourself slurping spicy peanut noodles in front of another person, you may have a keeper.
I promise you will go to a more intense place with your date if you try something new. You don’t bond with a safe order. I’ve eaten fermented shark. I’ve eaten cobra heart. I don’t want to experience these foods again, but I’m glad I tried them. What’s the worst-case scenario? You spend some extra time in the bathroom. (Admittedly, not a turn-on for most people.) But you’ll have a good story to tell. You’ll share an experience. And, maybe, you’ll change your palate forever.
For a dinner date, I eat light all day to save room, then I go all in: I choose this meal and this order, and I choose you, the person across me, to share it with. There’s a beautiful intimacy in a meal like that. It’s about exploration and taste. And kissing after dinner. And maybe there’s a little wine and curry on your breath… and that’s nice.
It’s only when you open yourself to the adventure of the unknown, the strange, even the shocking, that you get to enjoy the sensual, passionate, joyful experience of sharing food and a drink. And it sets the stage for whatever might follow.
Sexiest foods (and why they’re turn-ons)
- Peaches. They’re beautiful objects with so much flavor and juice. Damn sexy.
- Pasta. The Italians have it exactly right: a big family-style, eat-when-it’s-ready meal.
- Lobster. Because eating with your hands is incredibly sensual.
- Caviar. A woman eating fish eggs? Oh my God, sexy.
- BBQ. I’m not saying eating barbecue is the way to achieve world peace, but it won’t hurt.
- Ragu. A simmering red sauce and a hank of meat: smells, sounds and tastes like good cooking.
- Steak. Animal protein is a beautiful thing.
- Korean-American. Current obsession: raw beef with uni (sea urchin), served on a shiso leaf.
Have a delicious week,
P.S. Take your partner on a dinner date and put her to the taste. How at ease is she when it comes to eating with you, no strings attached?