Cooking is important.
It’s a way to nourish the body and the soul. It’s a way to express oneself.
It’s also a way to show off.
When done with skill it's a surefire way to win praise and adoration. People will rave at this magic that you've performed, to take some garlic, sea salt and pepper, some oregano and thyme, and a bit of olive oil and a chicken, and to roast it to crispy, juicy, flavorful perfection.
There's also a lesson there in that simplicity can produce elegant and sublime results.
On the flip side, if you're cooking for your love, you don't want every cooking effort to mean a home run (to switch metaphors).
When dinner is done as a carefully planned disaster, it’s a ticket out to a meal at a fancy restaurant.
You doubt me? It's as easy as cleaning out the freezer or pantry of old ingredients. Be sure to add sugar instead of salt, or vice-versa. Instead of a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, add a half cup. Don't be too careful about peeling that onion or that shallot.
This is another opportunity to be creative. Think of it like being a child again and making mud pies.
Then when your sweetie comes home, be sure to have your hair and makeup done, but keep your clothing casual. Show him that you're thrilled to have him home. Show excitement about the meal you were so inspired to make just for him.
Serve it with love, and taste (just a tiny bit) along with him, and then whip your napkin down onto the table and throw your head in your hands and squeeze out a tear. Sigh. Let your lower lip quiver. Whimper over this culinary failure.
Wait for him to offer to take you out. He might really be doing it so he doesn't have to eat the sugared-cayenne catastrophe, but you've won a behind-the-scenes victory.
Put on a pretty outfit and enjoy that impromptu night out on the town. You've earned it.
True failure can teach many important lessons. In this case, however, planned failure let you be queen for the night.