Face it, cooking for a crowd is tough. Lots of work, many different tastes, and tons of dirty dishes make this task a bit of a chore even for the most enthusiastic cooks. Cooking for one, on the other hand, often kills inspiration and creativity as the solo diner prepares the meal alone and eats alone.
However, the addition of another person transforms the dining experience. Cooking for two is just the right-sized task. Whether the second diner is a spouse, lover, family member, or friend, the cook can easily express his or her love for that person by creating something special, quickly.
Set the mood. If romance is the goal and a meal is one of the vehicles to get there, be aware that the food is just one component of the meal. Flowers speak volumes. Some carefully placed blooms on the table can prove quite the mood enhancer. Avoid a huge arrangement in the middle of the table—this tends to obstruct your view of your sweetheart. Perhaps sprinkle some rose petals on the table, or put a few large flower tops in glass bowls with floating candles. Also, nasturtiums and other edible flowers can adorn salads and plates and be eaten as a fragrant aphrodisiac. Light the fire of love. Candles are important. Everyone looks more beautiful and sensual in candlelight. Some small votive candles on the table, or even scattered about the room, will provide the mood you want.
Champagne is the sexiest drink. Don't confuse the issue. No need to change wines with each course. Drink champagne throughout the meal for an easy and sensual choice. The magic of champagne is that it goes well with everything.
Eating at the table is optional. Instead, consider serving appetizers on the terrace or by the fireplace. Or serve the entire meal on the roof or even in the bedroom. Variety truly is the spice of life. Have chocolates in the bedroom with scented candles burning for a real dessert.
Certain foods, such as oysters, figs, asparagus, and chocolate, are known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Additionally, the act of cooking for, or being cooked for, has its health benefits. Remember when you were sick as a child? Just knowing that Mom was putting on a pot of her chicken soup could make you feel a little bit better even before you ate it. Knowing that someone cares enough for you to spend time preparing something to make you feel better is medicine for the heart and soul. Conversely, giving of yourself by preparing something special for a loved one to soothe either her mind or body feels great, too. Remember, though, that the foods that comfort you do not necessarily comfort others. Keep the other person's tastes in mind when you plan the menu, much like you would when picking out a gift for that person.
Every recipe in this book serves two. Therefore, there are no “serving sizes” given for individual recipes, though occasionally there are tips on how to prepare dishes in larger quantities. This book provides not only a list of recipes pared down to serve just two people but also creative solutions for preparation, service, and cleanup, so the two of you can enjoy each other's company over a fabulous meal. So please, come in and sit down. Your table for two is ready.