Relationships/Dating Versus Cooking: Compare and Contrast

blog cooking compare and contrast

The other day as I prepared a new recipe and substituted several key ingredients, I realized that dating and romantic relationships have a lot in common with cooking.

Let’s cook some yummy grilled avocado halves with cumin-spiced quinoa and black bean salad on this holiday weekend and make a few substitutions. See if you agree with the premise of this post.

Compare and contrast cooking and relationships/dating:

*Substituting ingredients: Let’s say you want a man with a sense of humor, who loves to read, engages in witty banter, appreciates music and travel, is tall and fit, and enjoys the outdoors. Yes, this is my wish list. However, you open the refrigerator door (think cache of romantic partners) and find that there is no WITTY BANTER in the egg drawer and TALL is not on the shelf. However, there is a quart of jazz/blues/rock mix that will work nicely in your stew.

You make do with what you have because you’re too tired to go to the store, aka dating site, matchmaker, or bar.

Much to your surprise, the stew is delightful even though a few ingredients have been changed.

The bottom line of this example is that it’s not always possible to have all the “right” ingredients in a person or a recipe. But sometimes, despite the necessary revisions, the relationship and the dish work.

Rating: Similar

*Making something out of nothing: How many times have you declared, “There is nothing to eat in this house?” and yet, you manage to cobble something together out of a few leftovers and skimpy ingredients.

Similarly, do you recall fighting over the most absurd nothing with your romantic partner? The next day, you can’t remember what the fight was about. Like the improvised meal, you have made a fight out of nothing.

Rating: Similar

*Cooking like royalty on a pauper’s budget: If your goal is to make a lobster pot pie but you can only afford tilapia, there might be trouble in River City.

If you buy that lobster on credit – and add the charge to a long list of expensive ingredients – your partner may get angry.

A mismatch of taste and budget can eat away (sorry) at a relationship.

Financial worries lead not only to tilapia pie but they also often cause relationship stress.

Rating: Similar 

*Slow cooking versus stir-fry: See a past post for a look at these two cooking – and dating – techniques and their relative merits.

Rating: Not Similar 

*Cooking together or flying solo:

Some couples like to cook together. I find this can be a fun – and sensuous activity with your partner (it may get derailed due to frisky behavior). Other people want to cook solo and they find it stressful to share a kitchen.

In a relationship, there are many activities you might choose to engage in with your partner and others you might prefer to do alone. Some couples even choose to live or vacation separately.

Rating: Surprisingly similar

*Adventurous cooking:

Have you ever been in a cooking rut? Perhaps you have the same spinach salad with tuna every single night (particularly when you are cooking for yourself).

Relationships and dating can go stale too.

It’s important to experiment with new recipes (see my blog for ideas) and to engage in new activities with your date or partner.

Rating: Similar

*Clean up as you go:

When you cook, do you like to clean up as you go? Or, do you wait until after dinner to tackle the now huge mess?

When you are dating or in a relationship with someone, it is wise to deal with problems as they come up. Otherwise, the pile of grievances, hurt, and anger can seem insurmountable (just like the huge pile of dishes).

Rating: Similar

*Cooking gluten-free

Whether for yourself or for your guests, you may find yourself learning to cook without gluten. This can be both challenging and creative.

Cooking gluten-free has absolutely nothing in common with a relationship or dating. I just needed to identify a cooking behavior with no similarities to dating.

Rating: Not similar


Before I say good-bye, I would like to invite all readers who are daters to participate in an anonymous written interview about dating. The goal is to share experiences, tips, pet peeves, and funny dates. We can learn from each other and get support as well.

The questions and answers would be considered for publication in future blog posts and might be minimally edited for length or clarity.

To participate and get the questions, write me at You may use your real name if you prefer, but as you know, I am fine with anonymity.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.