First of all, food is a darn powerful aphrodisiac. A meal is not only an experience of taste—the smell of food as it’s being prepared and presented piques my interest before I even see the plate. The finished dish can be arranged to entice the sense of visual aesthetic as well as a carefully laid out bed spread. Food, when made with the same care and attention to detail that you would give a relationship, is a full-body experience that can set all your synaptic phasers to “Pleasure.”
We haven’t even gotten to sitting down for the meal yet. In the physical experience of food, everything else is foreplay—the real deal comes with taking a seat and enjoying the food that we’ve just made. First, atmosphere can make a huge difference in the feel of a meal—it’s part of why you’d never go to McDonald’s for a big date. Candlelight, flowers, and low music: several of the same principles behind getting the bedroom ready for a night of hot magic can be applied to preparing the dining room. For my boy and me, it gets us further into a sexier mindset. The experience of eating becomes more aesthetically linked to the sexy times to come. Then there’s actually eating the food. After working to make the food and set the atmosphere, finally enjoying the taste of it feels like a long-put-off climax, like the tantric sublimation of the mundane into the divine. The texture, the feel of the food in my mouth, can send a shiver down my spine. A delicious meal can prepare my mind and body for some sweet lovin’ more than flowers, jewelry, or even expensive lingerie.
At this point, you might be wondering, “Chicmichiw, why don’t you just go out to a fancy restaurant for all these things? Those places are carefully built for atmosphere, and their food is made by well-trained experts who know a thing or two about how to make food appealing to all the senses. All the work gets done for you!” First, look up in the upper-right corner of the screen. See where it says “graduate student”? Those words are interchangeable with “poor.” Most importantly, I want to do the work. The best part of all this has very little to do with the food itself. The thing that really gets my motor running is the idea of the two of us creating something together. The anticipation, the patience, the frustration, the work, and the final product of cooking with my partner all come together to make an experience more satisfying than enjoying a movie or something else created by someone else. We’re not fine chefs or anything like that, but I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a meal we’ve made together, and the primary ingredient in that phenomenon is the fact that the meal is the product of our relationship. Also, I don’t doubt that cooking for each other inspires us both to work a little harder to create something special.
Cooperation has a nest-building effect, especially when it involves using materials you bought together, with the money you share together, in the home you share. Unlike an expensive gift of lingerie or jewelry, the money expended is nominative – the work and the attention are what matters. Working together, communicating, and acting outside of sex adds an aspect to a relationship that can only serve to deepen it. Intertwining love and friendship is one of the highest ideals to which a human relationship can aspire. When that ideal is reached, trust can be fostered and it is as if the souls are making love.
See, cooking is more than just an activity together; it’s us creating something out of our love. Watching a movie, or, for a more direct comparison, ordering out and eating food that someone else made count as activities together, but they’re activities in which we consume something made by someone else’s hard work. When we cook together, we bond over the creation of something only the two of us can create right there—that moment in precious because we never be able to concoct the same meal even using identical recipes. The enigma of experience occurs and those minutes and hours cooking together become an inimitable signature on our lives. And then we get to enjoy our food together: just the two of us, no friends or family, enjoying the fruits of our love in a moment that will never happen again.
You know, that sounds a lot like sex.