Cooking For A Date

In my wildest Heart Attack dreams, I thought I'd be sifting through a thousand questions a week, picking out the best ones and answering them with panache. In reality, I've had to keep my panache to myself, because the questions haven't exactly been pouring in. No worries. I know how to roll with the punches and, as such, I've taken up the task of question-asking myself.

Hi Heart Attack: First of all, great column, I read it every week. Are there any problems with cooking on a first date? I want to show off my mad steak skills. Thanks! – Jason K., Culver City, CA

Hi Jason. Cooking on a first date is a risky proposition. First of all, you're asking your date to come to your place before you've really vetted each other. What if he/she's a psycho who you want to get rid of after the appetizers? What if you're a psycho and you're about to go all Hostel on her? First dates should be comfortable, get-to-know-you situations. Pick a nice restaurant, decide if you match up well and unleash your cooking during a date down the line. It'll be more impressive if you save your impressive meatballs for after you've already gotten to know each other a little. Thanks for reading!

Yo Heart Attack! Sometimes I like to cook for a date. You know, have a little two-person dinner party or whatever. What's the best thing to cook? – JDawg, Los Angeles, CA

JDawg – First things first: find out what your date likes to eat. If there are allergies or foods that your date won't eat, better to find that out beforehand instead of on the way to the hospital. Second, cater your cooking to what your date likes. You don't want to make elk meatballs if your date is going to freak out about the elk. You're better off picking something that shows off your cooking acumen while not alienating your date. Try a theme of some sort that fits your date's tastes – Italian feast, Middle Eastern picnic, etc. – and choose a menu based around that theme. Nothing impresses a date more than showing that you actually put a lot of thought into the evening. Lastly, nobody likes a guy that calls himself JDawg. Grow up, yo.

Dear Mr. Heart Attack: What's a great low-cost way to impress a date with food? – J.B.K., SoCal

One word: picnic. Living in Southern California means you have nice picnic weather all year round, but even if you live in a place with real seasons, you can still have an indoor picnic. Grab a sheet, buy a bottle of wine and boom: picnic time in full effect. The best part is, you don't have to break the bank. Either cook all the food ahead of time or head to the deli counter of your local grocery store and pick up some prepared salads. No matter what, it's going to be cheaper than a nice restaurant and you'll get extra points for creativity, too. I've always thought picnics were a great way to go on a cost-effective date.

That's it, guys. Hope you enjoyed the first Heart Attack Mail Call. Got a question? Send it on over to me via Happy dating!