Food will never be sexy, no matter what they say on Valentine's Day - Gaby Soutar
I suppose, when searching for a long-term partner, along with a GSOH, a pulse and all their own teeth, being able to rustle something up for dinner does make somebody more eligible. I’ve scored, as my other half does all the cooking at home, and he has turned me into a pitiable creature who’s unable to fend for itself.
Sometimes I even forget how our oven works.
I think his love language consists of acts of service, and he sees it as his duty to fatten me up, like he’s the witch and I’m Hansel. He gives me huge dinner-lady-style portions, which are more than double what I’d serve myself.
“I just feel bad if I give you less than me,” says this man, who is about a foot taller than I am, though he has a smaller waist measurement.
My fingers are still boney, but nothing else is.
The first time he cooked for me, back in the early Noughties, he was an amateur and made something called chicken a la Maryland, which was basically a baked chicken breast served with sliced banana. Apparently, it was on the menu for the Titanic’s last ever day of sailing in 1912, though I think that’s just a coincidence.
I dubbed it ‘monkey’s delight’, but he never laughs. If he’d called that a ‘marry me dish’, I probably wouldn’t have bothered putting a ring on it.
Since then, his cooking repertoire has improved exponentially and I never complain. I know what side my bread is buttered. He will take requests, but mostly I eat what I'm given. The only dinner I struggle with is his take on shepherd's pie, except with lentils.
He’s also not keen when I rate something out of ten, as is a restaurant reviewer’s wont. I once gave him a 6/10 and he was livid.
Anyway, I am very happy with our arrangement. There is dinner on the table when I get back from cavorting around town in a devil-may-care manner. Tonight, there will be his signature fish pie.
So, I suppose that food WAS the way to my heart. After all, love is feeling that you’re lucky to have someone, and I know I am.
But it was slightly different in the early days of our relationship. Although food is always linked with romance, those were not hungry times. Apparently, the hormones that are involved with falling in love can also double as appetite suppressants. I was so anxious back then, while spending time with my new stud muffin, that I barely ate.
We went out for dinner just once, to The Tower at the National Museum of Scotland, because that’s what people are supposed to do when they’re dating, and I wore an uncomfortable frock and picked at my food.
Also, it’s rare that self-conscious people, like us, enjoy being watched when they’re eating. If anyone is looking at me while I’m having dinner, I taste nothing.
As a teenager, I was worried about my wonky teeth and braces, so I’d always cover my mouth when I ate. The gnashers are semi-decent now, but I still don’t want anyone to see me gurning over a Scotch pie while spinach is wrapped around my incisors.
If someone tried to feed me a strawberry or peeled grape, as a romantic act, I’d protest by lobbing it out the window.
However, unless you’re a model, the reality is that nobody looks or sounds particularly attractive while they’re noshing.
The aesthetics aren’t my only bodily concerns. There’s always post-dinner halitosis and the fact that, after a big meal, I puff up bullfrog-style to triple my size. I don’t want to be around anyone at that stage. I just want to wear a mumu and roll on the floor.
Also, my digestive apparatus is prone to making a big racket. The medical noise for these sounds is borborygmi. If you put an ear to my belly, it’s like a big group has gone caving and they’re all lost, stuck in various narrow corners and shouting for help. Someone! Send them down a rope.
The fact that Valentine’s Day menus in restaurants don’t seem to be as big a deal these days might prove that others feel the same about eating and romance going together. Food is just not sexy, though they try SO hard to make it happen.
They say that oysters are an aphrodisiac, because of the libido-boosting zinc. But, honestly, they serve Viagra over the counter these days. It’s not like Boots will shuck you a few and hand them over in a brown paper bag.
This week, shortly after I received an urgent email about a heart-shaped Lorne sausage that’s now available at Tesco, I got another press release about a Valentine's Day food delivery service that’s available in Edinburgh via Deliveroo. ‘Sexual wellness brand’ LELO’s package contains whipped cream, cherries, cake, chocolate sauce and strawberries, plus other stuff for indulging in ‘food play’. Urgh, how revolting. I would rather use a nice clean plate.
But, you know, maybe we SHOULD do something a bit different with the leftover fish pie?
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