Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Date Night In, or, Cooking Is Sexy

Now that my husband and I have two children, it’s harder (and more expensive) to find a babysitter. So although we still have a Date Night every now and then when we go out on the town, have dinner out, or go see a show, these days we’re a lot more likely to have an in-house Date Night. And in some ways, those are even more fun.

I love in-house Date Nights because I don’t have to put on makeup or do my hair or even wear shoes. (In fact, barefoot is preferred.) I don’t have to make sure there’s no dirty laundry sitting outside the laundry room or on the bathroom floor or clear the clean laundry off the stairs before the babysitter comes. I don’t have to take the emergency diapers out of my purse or make sure my cell phone is charged and in my purse. All I have to do is wait until the children are in bed.

And then the fun begins: we cook.

Really, that’s one of my favorite parts of Date Night In. I love cooking with my husband. After all, food is sexy. Preparing food is very sensual, in the most literal meaning of the word. Food smells good, it feels good, it looks good, and it tastes good.

Let me describe an example of how cooking can be very sexy. One of our favorite menu items on Date Night In is risotto, which has got to be one of the most sensuous foods on the face of the earth. You begin by melting butter in a pan, then frying up some onions and garlic. Sensuous smells begin to pervade the house, wafting into the living room where your partner is lighting the fire in the fireplace. He comes in to investigate just as you pour in some white wine, releasing a cloud of even headier aromas. Naturally, the two of you have to share the remains of the wine, so it won’t go to waste. And since risotto requires near-constant stirring, you are trapped at the stove, at the mercy of any little snuggles and kisses that your husband feels the need to send your way. What could be sexier than sliding past each other while you’re each working on different parts of the meal, a glass of perfectly chilled wine in your hands, stopping now and then to feed each other little bites of creamy deliciousness?

And then, of course, dinner itself is eaten by the fire with a bit of extra candlelight and some soft music. No reminding children not to throw food on the floor. No letting your own meal get cold while you cut up someone else’s meal, or coax someone to eat “just one more bite,” or hop up to get a few more noodles or another spoonful of squash or a slice of bread. No loud voices, either happy or sad. No chairs or tables being kicked. Just you and your sweetheart, quietly enjoying your dinner and each other’s company in a way you don’t often get to do.

And then there’s the lingering. Oh, the lingering. When you have small children, there is no lingering at mealtimes. When the kids are done eating and freed from the table, you’re back on duty whether you've finished your own dinner or not. And if you decide to finish your own dinner while you’re on duty, you know there’s a pretty good chance some of it will get knocked on the carpet by a rambunctious child, or spilled on your lap by an unexpected bear hug, or stolen by a child who refused to eat it when it was on her plate but wants to eat it all when it’s on yours. So lingering is a precious, precious thing on Date Night In.

Altogether, it adds up to a pretty special evening. But then again, any time I get to spend time with my sweetheart is a very special evening. 

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