Why is cooking so romantic? February 11, 2019
Springsteen once sang, “Everybody’s got a hungry heart.” But how about a loving stomach? What is it about someone whipping up a gourmet feast for us that sends us all weak at the knees? If someone is a dynamo in the kitchen, we go as gooey as caramel sauce on a hot day. But why exactly?
All it takes is a Google search of “romantic recipes” to be hit with a barrage of results so big option paralysis will quickly set in. When broken down though, this is basically just supply and demand. People have romantic needs and many believe the solutions lie in the culinary world. So, why is it the “Top 10 Most Romantic Recipes” and not “Top 10 Most Romantic Mini-Golf Courses,” for example? Let’s go exploring…
Scientifically speaking, smell is hugely linked to emotion and memory, more than any other sense. This is due to the close proximity between the olfactory nerve (the one for smelling) and the amygdala and hippocampus, two parts of your brain strongly concerned with emotion and memory.
Food, for the most part, smells. Often quite good. Thus, cooking a familiar dish can promote fond memories if the smell associated with it is connected to someone you love. Perhaps a loved one cooked it for you or taught you to cook it, or you cooked it together, or you cooked it for them, or you taught them to cook it, or… You get the picture! The point is, if the smell of that meal you’re cooking triggers fond memories with a loved one, you’re a big chance to cook that over and over again. On top of that, taste and smell are inextricably linked, so the good feelings just keep on a-comin’.
You don’t even need to be a decent chef. A study on the evolutionary roots of romantic relationships found that it isn’t the quality of the food that counts, rather, much like giving a gift, the thought. What your partner is impressed by isn’t necessarily that you managed to perfectly flambé the tequila-infused fajitas, but the time and effort invested in preparing and cooking the meal. It’s considered an “inconvenience display,” and that you put yourself through the process means more than what you put on the plate.
Speaking of what’s on the plate, however, there are always aphrodisiacs to consider. If you’re new to the term, these are ingestible substances said to stimulate the love senses. These include foods as common as avocado, chocolate, honey and as perplexing as pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. While the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of these things, couldn’t hurt to try, could it? Get creative, it might even have a placebo effect.
Cooking is creative and creative endeavours create a sense of achievement upon completion, and the communication required in collaboration to get to a creative goal spawns strong bonds from knowing you got there together, any couples who’ve ever constructed a set of drawers together can attest to this.
Like anything creative, everyone has their own little methods with cooking and learning together, and sharing tips and tricks can be a fun way to share personality with one another and create more fond memories. Also, teaching a less than skilled kitchen partner and watching their charming little mistakes may be considered “cute.”
And while we’re on cute, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of a mid-cook smooch or flicking each other with tea towels? Adorable!
And if you don’t have someone to share your HelloFresh with this year, you can create a romantic home cooked meal for one and have enough for leftovers the next day! Win!
Happy Valentine’s Day <3 !