Making dinner doesn’t need to be a solo endeavor! Cooking with family and friends boosts confidence, happiness, and altruistic feelings for everyone involved, any night of the week. And, for obvious reasons, we think that cooking dinner together is a great choice for a date night in.
With a few extra hands to help slice, dice, stir, and even (dare we say it) do some dishes, the work of cooking will feel a little lighter and more fun! Here are a few tips and recipes that can turn this everyday part of life into a special occasion.
1. Cooking is an Act of Caring
Making a meal with a loved one or spouse is a way to provide for each other on a fundamental level. Nourishing another person also feeds into our sense of altruism and encourages feelings of trust, purpose, belonging, and intimacy. All these good vibes only increase our happiness and sense of purpose.
Try making this: Pasta Primavera with Gremolata
2. Cooking Promotes Communication
It’s no secret that open communication is an integral part of a healthy relationship. But meaningful conversations, like learning to cook, take practice. So, why not use this time to learn something new together, or take turns showing each other a skill you’ve already mastered like knife skills or the secret for perfectly seared steak.
Try making this: Quick Korean BBQ
And, while you prep vegetables, pick a fun topic to chat about. Even if you’ve known your cooking partner for years, boost your intimacy with some first-date questions. Ask something like: Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?
3. Cooking Boosts Confidence
By teaching each other skills like cooking, it builds confidence in your abilities and in your partner. Making something together gives you a shared sense of satisfaction and pride. If you can conquer a new recipe together, you can take on other household challenges like building IKEA furniture.
And, if a night alone isn’t an option, get the kids involved in the dinner prep because cooking is essential for their development and family bonding. Cooking with your children increases their self-esteem, creativity, and curiosity, too.
Try making this with the whole family: Cheeseburger Pizza
4. Cooking Is Sensory
In the kitchen, distractions can lead to burnt dinners. Cooking demands that you and your partner stay in the moment. This mindfulness can boost feelings of peace and happiness for both of you. Start by engaging all of your senses. Cooking is perfect for this. Observe the vibrant red bell peppers while you chop them, listen for the sizzle of food hitting the hot pan. Smell ingredients as you add them to the recipe and taste-test as you go.
Try making this: Chicken Paprikash
To make dinner at home feel more like an event, add a tablecloth to the dinner table along with a few votives and a small vase of fresh flowers. Use the good dishes, a few cloth napkins, open up a bottle of wine, and enjoy an extra special meal.