Dates can cause a case of the nerves because of their avalanche of unanswered questions. Even decisions on where to eat can launch daters into acute romance analysis.
Food plays a critical role in the dating culture at BYU. Where, what and how to eat can say a lot about the intentions of a suitor or the status of a relationship. When a date to a fancy restaurant comes too early or an anniversary is celebrated with fast food, people may raise eyebrows.
Rudd Hopkins, a graduate student at BYU, always considered cooking with dates a telling experience.
“For me, there is interest in cooking already from when I grew up,” Hopkins said. “I decided instead of a date where I was going to go eat and then find an activity, I would consolidate both into a date of making food. The food turned out great no matter what, but the conversation and the plan for other dates to cook different types of food would indicate if there was interest in the person.”
Hopkins was able to learn more about women he was interested in through these cooking experiences in ways other date ideas fell short.
“Food is a huge catalyst for memories and nostalgia,” Hopkins said. “It expresses the family as much as the person through their traditions and what food they prefer.”
Sometimes the cook-at-home strategy is more telling of the man than the woman. Katie Geilman, a recent BYU graduate, had some awkward cook-at-home dates.
“Food on dates has become a symbol for sexism,” Geilman said. “I once went on a date with a guy who knew I liked to cook. He told me we were going to make dinner together. Instead, I ended up making stir-fry and two apple pies by myself. When the food was finally ready, we sat down, he poured himself a glass of Martinelli’s and told me to help myself to some tap water. He looked at the two beautiful apple pies and told me that he didn’t feel like eating them and that I could let myself out.”
There are times that food interests connect perfectly to make for a beautiful relationship. Marilee Cahoon, who grew up in Hawaii, knew something was going well on the first date with her future husband.
“My husband is from Canada,” Cahoon said. “I lived in Hawaii before I went to BYU. One of our first dates was to Heaps Pizza. We ordered a Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza.”
It was love at first bite.