Silly question: Do you cook differently when 'dating' vs. when 'committed'?
Dating: I cooked company food, cute food.
Living together: I cook food I grew up with (slowly adding to the company menu).
Engaged: we're having hamburger patties with gravy baked in the oven.
I'm not slurring the hamburgers--I'm really looking forward to them--but I've noticed I cook more down-home.... not getting any complaints, and I don't think he's noticed the change.
How does your cooking style change?
ETA: I read this to him, and he said: "Why would I complain if someone else is cooking?"
I could not be with a person who is not open to food adventures! :-)
I don't cook every day. I love trying new places to eat. If, I start cooking all the time for my fiancé he will expect it and we will never leave the house to eat out. I found out that he is a great cook from his family, friends and also from him. He has never made one meal for me. When meal time comes and he looks crazy at me like I am suppose to cook I act clueless and then mention a place I would like to try or suggest he cook. We then go out. Don't feel too sorry for him because he has a sweet tooth and I bake and make candy for him.
I find that my cooking style changed dramatically once we moved in together - the combination of cooking for two rather than one (or, by my perspective, for three or four, given our differences in eating style), plus the fact that we have the whole kitchen and fridge to ourselves, after years with room-mates.
So I do fancier dishes on a daily basis, more mains+sides compared to one pot dishes, and things that tie up the kitchen for longer. My style is a mix - some down-home stuff, some fancy stuff, some normal stuff, some experimentation.
I cook the same as far as the depth of romantic relationships are concerned.
As far as others are concerned -- I won't do the more labor-intensive dishes on those who are strangers/near-strangers or on those I don't really like or don't really have an emotional investment in (like if I'm doing a work potluck). I see no point in putting forth that much effort cooking for people I don't know or whose palate I don't know since I don't know if they'll even like what I've made. For people I don't really like -- well, I don't want to put forth the energy on them either.
Yes- dating always seems to be either he comes over and i cook or i go and he cooks. I would (do) make more difficult and "prettier" meals.
When my ex and i lived together it became collaborative and we cooked together, a mish mash of his favorite dishes i also loved, foods that were new to him but comfort classics to me.
It was less about pretty and more figuring out how to make dinner from what we had on hand. More relaxed, yet also more enjoyable.
When DH & I were dating, I cooked "safe" dishes - things I knew I could do well or things I knew he would like. Now that we're married, I'm a lot more adventurous. He'll try anything I cook, even if he thinks he doesn't like something in it, and has come around on several formerly-avoided ingredients. Like onions, thank goodness! I can't imagine not using those in everything. :)
The main thing that's changed is we eat on the couch instead of at the table :)
But, my cooking has improved since we got together since I'm "in charge" of all meals. Prior to meeting him I just cooked the occasional bigger meal on like a Sunday evening.
BTW, we live together, but are not engaged yet.
I always lead my dates to believe I was a Duke from some European country I could not remember.
If they believed that, it was a short relationship. The smart one(s) knew i was a poor boy who liked good food. it went well in most cases.
The really special ones had me cooking for them by the 4th date. The one I married had me cook my "world famous lasagna" for her entire family, which consisted of 20 people and owning 3 restaurants in town. They quizzed me on costs per servings and procedure. pretty wild for me.
One might well suppose that there is a correlative relationship between the length of a relationship and the amount of garlic and onions employed: the longer the one, the more of the other!
I'm male and about 50. I'm not sure if it is coincidence, but I'm far from the only guy I know my age or so who is much more into cooking than his wife. I think women of that generation are still getting away from the gender stereotyping of wives as cooks, while the men more often (like me) regard cooking as a scene of creativity, exploration, even meditation.
My cooking has never changed from serious and explorative under any context over 30+ years.
In my case, a kind of U-curve. Started out to impress and enamour, then got more work-a-day. Meanwhile, I became a more accomplished cook, through doing it, which pleases both of us. I think I make "fancier" meals now than I ever did when I was trying to score points-- without the secret hair-pulling and anxiety.
While we were dating, I once cooked Cornish hens for dinner with my now-husband. He picked at his, and admitted that he didn't really care for it, so I stopped preparing them.
Years later, he was in grad school, we were on a very tight budget, and Cornish hens were on sale, so I apologetically bought two and roasted them for dinner. He loved his and ate every bite. When I asked him what had changed, he admitted that while dating, he was trying to use his best manners and eat with a knife and fork. Once married, he had no qualms about ripping the bird apart with his hands and letting the grease drip.
Not really much difference in the way I cook dating versus commited. I've never been married, but I did live with an ex that I was with for 5 years. I just cook good food that we both can enjoy regardless of the stage of our relationship.
However, now that I'm single, I will say that I cook a lot less. Not as much fun to cook for only yourself. I usually invite over a friend for dinner if I'm looking to cook anything elaborate.
When dating I'm learning about the person's taste and preferences and (hopefully few) aversions. I keep menus simple at first so any nervousness or distraction doesn't spoil the preparations. At this stage awkward dishes - food in teeth, strong flavors - are generally avoided.
Once serious/committed the initial nervousness is well over and I know I won't mess up a dish due to butterflies. This becomes a time of learning and sharing memories and traditions, many food related so the menu expands in many directions. Time spent with a partner at this point involves much of life's mundane activities like laundry, car repair. Day to day cooking is often simpler, faster, less expensive than dating fare - but it tastes even better since it's shared with love!