Someone once told me that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Whether or not you are looking at things from a literal perspective, this is wrong. How do I know? Three hours of sweating over a hot stove to prepare spinach fritters for the man of my dreams is how I know. If a guy likes you, lumpy mash won’t deter him. In fact it might help speed things along; you’ll skip supper and jump straight into the sack. But if he’s not interested, it doesn’t matter what lengths you go to in the kitchen, nothing will ever happen in the bedroom. Don’t get me wrong, he loved the fritters, went crazy for them. But sadly I am not a fritter.
The high level of concentration involved in cooking for a romantic prospect can be your undoing. Often my mind has drifted to thoughts of the flapjack recipient mid-recipe, leaving me wondering whether that was the third or fourth tablespoon of golden syrup that just went into the mixture. At such moments Lumpy Mash Mentality (see above) saves the day: so blown away will the recipient be by the gesture, that one can get away with a slightly inferior product.
Please note: it is a bad idea to bestow edible gifts on a man in the very early stages of dating, because a) he may come to expect food parcels on a regular basis, and b) (and this should probably have come first) he will think you bloody weird. Decide what precedent you want to set, and cook accordingly. And be prepared for him to run for the hills if you do turn up to the second date, hamper in hand. A relationship can accommodate only so many basket-cases.