Monday, December 29, 2008
Every girl has an insatiable desire to be pampered. One of the many surefire ways to impress a woman is took cook her dinner. The romance of a candlelit dinner and knowing your man slaved away on a stove or an oven for a while just to impress you is a surefire "win" for most guys.
But if you're going to go for it, you have to proceed carefully.
Most likely, if you burn the dinner or otherwise make it inedible, girls will forgive you. It's the effort that counts truly. We'll also likely never ask you to cook again if you royally screw it up badly enough, and we'll offer to cook from then on. We're ok with you attempting stuffed mushrooms or almond-crusted tuna steaks - whether you actually succeed or not. (Obviously infinitely more impressive if you pull it off, but I digress.)
A truly heinous offense, more-so than the failure to pull off a delicious almond-crusted tuna steak, and one for which you will not be forgiven, is making a huge fuss over a dinner that a.) you can't possibly screw up and b.) took hardly any effort over a monkey's capabilities.
We'll forgive you if you screw up something that took effort or was even remotely challenging. We'll sing your praises for trying to do something sweet, no matter the outcome. But if you come in saying you'll make us dinner, we expect a little effort... or if you're not going to really even try, humility.
Let me explain...
Berkley was a fast-talker. He was suave and smooth, but he definitely thought more of himself than I did in the end. One night, he announced, "Baby, I'm gonna make you dinner tomorrow night. How about some fish and pasta?"
Sounds wonderful, right? Fish is a challenging dish to prepare since its so easy to overcook, and pasta, while not exactly the most difficult entree to prepare, takes at least some degree of knowledge on how to cook. Score, a man willing to cook for me!
I was in for a disappointing surprise. I arrived just in time to see him in the midst of his meal preparation. The oven was on, and he was already cooking the pasta in the pot of boiling water... all seemed well.
Then I noticed the Kraft macaroni and cheese box... extra cheesy. I made this crap in middle school. Kids watched the blue box commercials when I was younger. This was not the pasta I was expecting.
But wait, it gets better.
I was sort of hoping against hope that the fish would be a little more high quality than mac and cheese from a box. Maybe he just didn't know any other way to make pasta, and I was more than willing to throw that in the "its the thought that counts" category.
He opened the oven to retrieve the fish... sticks. He made fishsticks. The kind you buy precooked and just set in the oven for 8 minutes or so.
I'm willing to let it slide if a man cannot cook. But bachelor food when you make a big fuss about cooking me dinner is absolutely unacceptable. This is the kind of "dinner" you make for kids you're babysitting because its the only thing they'll eat without crying for mommy. This is not something you play up for your girlfriend as a real San Francisco treat and then spend all of a middle-school amount of effort preparing.
Needless to say, I tried to pretend I was pleased. But Berkley's plan to impress truly fell flat. I would much rather he attempted a recipe with some degree of risk and fail miserably rather than pick something that pleases the under-age-10 crowd.
Fishsticks and Kraft macaroni and cheese = Dinner FAIL.