Friday, May 3, 2013

Date Night: Cooking Challenge

     My husband enjoys the show "Chopped" on the Food Network. While watching it one evening I began devising a way to create a date night inspired by the show's premise. I thought it would make a fun date night, and I knew that he would love it. 
      The rules were a bit different to accommodate the game being played as a date night. At the beginning of the week I handed him a card with how the game would be played. We each then had $10 to spend on ingredients that would serve as the mystery ingredients (three ingredients per person). Each person then wrote the name of the ingredient on a piece of paper and folded it to be drawn at the beginning of each round. This meant, that we were eligible for drawing our own ingredient. This was one of the safeguards I placed so that the mystery ingredient wouldn't be too wild with which to work. The second safeguard was that each person would have to eat the opponent's dish at the end of the round. So, while shopping we had to keep in mind the questions: 1) would I be able to work with this ingredient if I chose it? and 2) would I want to eat it if I'm served it in a dish? I'm not a professional chef and so I needed to make sure the game didn't come to a stop at the first round! The one aspect I didn't think of at the time was that all ingredients needed to work for all rounds. I purchased steak and after I realized it could be drawn during the dessert round too I was holding tightly to the hope that it would be drawn in one of the first two rounds only! (It was drawn for the main course- phew!).

      To make up for the fact that we aren't pros I added an allowance for the use of recipe books, online or other resources five minutes before each round and then during the round as well. Each round was timed as follows: Appetizer 20 minutes, Main Course 50 minutes, Dessert 30 minutes. We actually did pretty well with making each dish within the time limits! (If only I was that good on an everyday basis when cooking meals! haha).

      Finally, the last twist was that we would both prepare our dishes at the same time. Cooking within a time limit while using the same space and tools will either make or break you. But with this being a date night activity, the goal is to come to work together well, which we did. We definitely had to have a teamwork approach for cleaning up the massive mess after each round. Many hands really did make light work! But where's the studio clean-up crew when you need one?!

      All in all, it was a really fun date night adventure. Most of the dishes were really good. Some (uh hem..a certain dessert) were .... not saved. If you enjoy cooking, then I highly recommend trying out this little date night game! The following is a bunch of photos and a video from our game :)

How many attempts does it take for us to get one good posed photo? 6+ ! Apparently, a "tough face" is a challenge in itself for us!

The fennel gratin tasted better than it looked! 

Round 2 was a success!
The celery root for the dessert round was our one wild ingredient. I was just grateful it wasn't the steak! haha

And the winner is...
He outscored me in the creativity category. He cooked based on a concept like creating a gratin or pudding. I, on the other hand, found and followed recipes. haha!

     I'm a firm believer in designating a couple of nights a month to a date night. I think it's so important to be intentional about staying connected and having fun in a marriage. It doesn't have to be something elaborate or expensive. It can be as simple as cooking in your home kitchen together! The point is to always make one's marriage a priority, and designating date nights is a great means for achieving that goal. 

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  1. What a great idea! I love your creativity! Although the celery root pudding does sound....interesting...

  2. Oh this seems so fun, I'll need to do this with my hubby on a night the kids aren't home.


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