The great thing about being single is that no one sees your kitchen. No one knows your refrigerator is empty and you’ve been exclusively eating tortillas and plain buttered pasta with no sauce for the past two weeks. No one knows if you’ve run out of dishes and started using lids from old peanut butter jars (this is brilliant, btw). If you chop vegetables by kind of just regurgitating them into your salad, that is your little secret. And then someone comes over, and your cover is blown. But it doesn’t have to be. With a few choice and mostly non-perishable additions to your kitchen, you can look like a legitimate adult human with basically no effort. Here’s what you need to fake it:
Lemons imply you cook. Lemons are classy. Lemons generally take a while to go bad, and also, they look pretty in a bowl. Or a heap on top of your fridge. Doesn’t matter — lemons make you look like the bright, cheerful, tangy kind of person who uses lemons. Plus, water with lemon is basically a gourmet drink and your date will be impressed.
2. A Bottle of Wine
This is a good thing to have on hand. I understand that boxed wines can actually be very good these days, blah blah blah, but for seduction purposes, you should have a bottle. I also understand that Trader Joe’s offers very nice products for $3, but that is not what you want here. You want something that cost more than $10 or at least looks like it and you know for a fact to be palatable.
3. A Nice-ish Corkscrew That You Know How To Use
The effect of your wine bottle is somewhat mitigated when you have to open it with a nail and a fork. An effective corkscrew shows that your nice wine is not a prop. You’re looking for something easy, effective, and reasonably hefty. Pro tip: if you get a waiter’s corkscrew but then cannot figure out how to use a waiter’s corkscrew, you don’t get any adult-points, so think this through.
4. At Least Two Drinking Vessels That Are Not Mugs or Mason Jars
Mugs are for coffee or tea. Mason jars are for wedding centerpieces. Glasses are for drinking beverages, and you should have at least two of them, unless you are entertaining multiple paramours simultaneously, in which case you should have enough for everyone.
5. Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper suggest that you have, at some point, seasoned a meal, which is a sexy, adult thing to have done, at some point in your life. Also, they make food taste better, and since it is possible you guys will be eating food at some point in your courtship, they are a worthy investment. Shakers aren’t necessary. If you buy shakers now, what will people get you for your wedding? Your thrift is a public service.
6. A Knife Sharp Enough to Actually Cut Things
You don’t need a fancy set of German knives. You don’t even need a non-fancy set of non-German knives. What you need is one knife that could reasonably cut an onion. You can get this from IKEA. You can get this at Target. You can get this on Amazon. You can get this for under $9. And you should, because everyone needs to at least look like they cut things sometimes. This proves that you’re lovable, and also that you don’t bludgeon your onions.
What if you have a sleepover? Eggs are the iconic morning-after food for a reason, and you should have some on hand. They are cheap. They take a while to spoil. If you scramble them, they are virtually unmessupable. Also, everyone likes someone who makes them eggs. Be that person.
8. A Wild Card Ingredient
Maybe it’s artisanal hot sauce. Maybe it’s tahini. Maybe it’s a shaker of za’atar, a bottle of good olive oil, a jar of extremely delicious salsa. The point is, you are not just a blank slate imitation of a person, you are a real person. You have style. You have taste. Having one thing — just one thing! — beyond the bare minimum shows that you are interesting, fun, authentic, and less likely to be a serial killer.