Serious Eats linked to a Guardian story today about first date food dos and don’ts that promptly made me laugh. I think I’ve broken almost every rule on this list. Let’s start with the very first sentence:
Most first dates take place in restaurants. God knows why.
Perhaps because meals are built-in social rituals that lend themselves to conversation? It just makes so much sense to get to know someone through the sharing of a meal. Methinks the author of the article isn’t a big eater.
So anyway, first rule: insist that your date picks the restaurant, which actually isn’t a bad idea. Except what if he/she suggests a restaurant that isn’t within an acceptable price range? How do you explain, no, sorry, I’m a cheap bastard who can’t afford to take you there, even if we go Dutch. Yeah, upon further consideration, that’s a bad idea. You make the date, you pick the restaurant.
Her other rules include avoiding the following foods: sushi and other food eaten with chopsticks (can get messy), spaghetti (same as chopsticks), garlic (bad breath), coffee (worse breath), oysters (too obvious), Brussels sprouts, beans, curry, sunchokes, fresh pasta, kimchi, any cruciferous vegetables, and tuna (all apparently in the flatulence-producing family). Also no-nos: sharing plates (huh?!) and having an extra drink.
After the jump, what MP editors have to say about this…
Carolina (MP: South Florida): personally, I think the “rules” are mostly bullshit. I eat whatever the hell I want to eat on a first date
Leila (MP: Boston): I try not to eat anything too messy
Carolina: what did you have on your first date with your boyfriend?
Leila: Well, we were friends first
the first time we ever had dinner (which was as friends), I had a bacon cheeseburger
the night we got together, I also had a bacon cheeseburger
i think i had one the other time we hung out as friends too
Helen (MP: Chicago): that wins
Carolina: I had steak frites with my boyfriend on our first date
Leila: that’s a good date food
Carolina: it was ok. not that great, actually. Steak was overcooked.
Adam (MP: San Francisco): The last time I was on a first date we went to a Polish place and split a few things. Nothing spells romance like coleslaw and meatballs.
Carolina: the article advised against splitting anything
Leila: why? Splitting is romantic!
Carolina: I don’t know. something about people being too polite to let the other person have the last dumpling or whatever
Adam: I also think really messy things like lobster or crab or barbecue, that can be a project, are a good way to break the ice
Leila: that’s valid
Helen: assuming you’re on a date with an adventurous eater
Leila: although i would say that on a first date, i am usually wearing something cute that I wouldn’t want to spill on
Helen: it could totally backfire
Adam: but that’s another good thing about shellfish: you get a bib. Then you both look ridiculous
Leila: bibs are not sexy
Adam: you both look dumb and you both are eating so weirdly that you are prevented from even trying to be graceful. It levels the playing field for boors like me.
Leila: i am a delicate bacon cheeseburger eating flower. And! I would just like to point out that he was impressed by my love of greasy food.
Carolina: until my boyfriend came along, I out-ate every guy I’d ever dated. Like, at every meal. Easily. I was finishing food off their plates.
Adam: you know what? I disagree with the way this article treats alcohol too. I think having an extra drink on a first date is a good thing. It’s all about breaking the ice, right?
Leila: It’s all about The Magic Zone. 2.5 drinks, y’all!
Helen: oh i just remembered that on a first date, this guy took me to sake bar decibel, which is this subterranean secret sake bar in the E. Village that is SO cool, but then he proceeded to destroy the awesomeness-points he got for introducing me to the place by attempting to order in Japanese. Which was incredibly pathetic.
Leila: on the night my boyfriend and i got together, we drank at least a pitcher and a half of beer and did karaoke. Truly, ours is a love story for the ages.
There you have it folks. Think of it as a sort of primer on where to take someone who actually enjoys eating out on a date.