5 Tips for Planning a DIY Romantic Evening - never cook naked

These 5 simple steps will make an evening of romance a pleasure for you to plan and a night to remember for the one you love. Photo: Happy Valentine's Day

LOS ANGELES, February 12, 2013 – I have dedicated my career to exploring the world of aphrodisiac foods. As you may have guessed, this time of year I’m always bombarded with questions relating to creating a special evening.

My first suggestion is to skip the restaurant and the overpriced bouquet of out-of-season flowers and go old school. In other words, I encourage everyone to treat that special someone to an evening that is homemade and heartfelt – at least once.

Here are some of my best tips for DIY romance:

1. Set the Scene:  Why go all out to prepare a romantic meal or present a sensational gift in a house that looks like it survived an attack from Hurricane Husband? (Hurricane Boyfriend, Hurricane Girlfriend, Hurricane Deadline or Hurricane Triplets–you insert the appropriate meteorological disaster.)

If you can’t clean it up, just turn out the lights. No, seriously, this is your special night, too! Shove what you can under the couch and light a fist full of candles to give everything, including your skin, a glow.

Note: Be sure to skip the scented candles if your plans–which they should–involve a meal. The powerful scent of the candles will kill the more subtle aromas of your culinary masterpiece.

I also recommend adding a bit of texture. I’m huge on creating dishes with multiple textures for the ultimate sensual experience. This principal can be applied to your environment, too.

I have a furry blanket and a couple of cool, slippery, satin pillows that I like to work into the scene for a picnic in front of a crackling fire.

2. Do it After Hours: Don’t add to the pressure of putting together an evening that exudes romance by struggling to find a babysitter who can fit your schedule. And don’t let surprise work deadlines squash your aspirations for a night not to forget.

Whether it’s Champagne and homemade chocolates in a bath tub for two or cold sandwiches and a book of poetry in bed, there are options for romance that don’t involve stress. Give yourself permission to pick a simple way to celebrate the day, even if you don’t get to begin your evening together until after the rest of the neighborhood has called it a night.

3. Go Light on Liquor: You are probably planning to ply your amour with a bit of liquor. I usually do. But there’s a tendency, especially if you’re opening a special bottle of wine or serving a multi course menu, to overindulge in alcohol.

Not good if your ultimate goal for the evening is to dance the horizontal tango.

Then a big night of booze is an absolute no-go. (Not to mention the embarrassment of showing up at work the next morning sporting the effects of a bender.) Consider sipping cocktails or a glass of wine each to begin then select a nice half bottle of wine to split with the meal.

Don’t forget to serve a side of water to help wash down any ill effects of the alcohol.

4. Keep the Menu Simple: In my world, a romantic interlude must always involve food. But you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen to do it “right.” After all, you want to save your energy for more important things!

In planning your menu, I recommend choosing dishes that can be prepared in advance. One of my favorites is the Moist Mango Meatloaf in my first book, Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook.

Other great choices include a selection of sushi ingredients you can roll together or even something as simple as a cheese fondue with an assortment of bread, fruits and vegetables you can feed one another as you unwind for the evening. Whatever you choose, keep the meal light.

A rack of lamb and mashed potatoes will have you thinking bed, but for all the wrong, or at least unromantic reasons.

Spices like pepper, ginger, cardamom and clove can help raise the body temperature and also help you feel a bit more energized, as can coffee. Fish, mussels and oysters will give you the sustained energy of high quality protein. And fruits are always wonderful for helping you feel light and refreshed.

Many also contain a healthy dose of antioxidants to keep you looking and feeling your best for years to come. For additional reference, I’ve put together an extensive list of aphrodisiac ingredients for EatSomethingSexy.com.

5. Don’t Cook Naked: Seriously. Ok, maybe there’s something cute about cooking in nothing other than an apron, the occasional flash of flesh set to seduce. But not only is it impossible to pose seductively the entire time you’re whipping and chopping your way to a romantic dinner, cooking in the nude is downright dangerous. There are parts of your body that should never be exposed to a wok, frying pan or hot broiler tray.

And heaven forbid you attempt to work the barbeque!


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Amy Reiley

Amy Reiley is a food & wine writer, cookbook author, speaker and consultant recognized as a leading authority on aphrodisiac foods. She has a Master of Arts in Gastronomy awarded by France’s culinary temple, Le Cordon Bleu. It was during her time studying at Cordon Bleu, Amy rose to prominence for her work in culinary aphrodisiacs.

In 2006, Amy releases her first book, Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook. She is now the author of 4 cookbooks on the topic, including award-winning Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods. Her expertise has landed her guest spots on The Today Show, CBS Early Show, NPR and the Playboy Channel to name a few.

Amy is also the editorial director of EatSomethingSexy, as well as an internationally published wine critic and columnist. 

 

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