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Cheryl Lavin: Food often is a key component in a relationship

What’s the most important room in the house when it comes to romance? You say the bedroom? I say the kitchen . . .

IRIS: I had never learned to cook, but I was dating Sam and he didn’t have much money to take me out, so I suggested I make dinner. I figured spaghetti and (bottled) meat sauce would be easy. I assembled a salad from the salad bar at my grocery store, bought a bottle of wine, French bread and some brownies.

The only problem was, I was living in a tiny studio apartment and I didn’t have much kitchen equipment. I only had two really little pots. I used one to heat the sauce and the other to cook the pasta. It came out a congealed mess. I couldn’t separate it into strands, so I had to cut it into slices. I can’t believe he ate it! And asked for seconds!

MAISIE: I knew he came from a large family with lots of sisters and brothers, still, the way he ate —with his elbows pointed up and out as if he were guarding his plate from hoards of marauding invaders and his face inches away from his food as if it were going to disappear — was a total turn-off.

JASON: She was a very classy babe in every way except one: She would never cut the lettuce in her salad. She’d stick her fork into her plate and whatever was impaled would go directly into her mouth. Huge leaves were stuffed in there, usually with some hanging out. She looked like a dog with a bone in its mouth. Not a pretty sight.

 AMY: My kitchen repertoire was quite limited, but I wanted to cook for my boyfriend. I stuck with breaded porkchops, salad and my ‘special’ ranch dressing mashed potatoes. He loved everything, especially the mashed potatoes. We’ve been together for over 10 years now, and I still say I won his heart with those mashed potatoes.  Love based on spuds?  There are worse things in the world!

LANA: I know this is going to sound incredibly picky, but I broke up with a perfectly nice guy because he would always order white toast with his eggs and American cheese on his burger. I just thought with a choice of white, whole wheat, rye, or English muffin and American, Swiss, jack, or Roquefort to always order white and American was safe and boring and I didn’t think we could have much of a future.

CASSIE: I was famous among my friends and family for my roast chicken. My secret was Kitchen Bouquet. I’d rub it all over the chicken, and it would come out brown and crisp on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside.

Trent was 60 years old and a widower for 10 years. He ate out three times a day and I knew he was dying for a home-cooked meal. I wanted to impress him, so I told him I’d make my ‘famous’ chicken.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I was out of Kitchen Bouquet until he was sitting in my living room, having a drink and salivating. I was so used to cooking the chicken a certain way that I didn’t have a back-up recipe. So I just stuck it in the oven. It came out pale and soggy. Trent just looked at it and suggested we go out to eat.

What part has food, restaurants, or cooking played in your relationships? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com.

And check out my new ebook, “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.” COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM