Cooking for Love

February 18, 2012 by Odile Faludi
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Are you looking for an ice-breaker, a way to really get to know someone?…writes Odile Faludi.

Picture a rainy day, a warm, nurturing pot of soup, some delicious crusty bread and a good glass of wine. Sounds like the perfect recipe for love, laughter and friendship to bloom. Odile Faludi, recently, was lucky enough to catch up with Lisa Goldberg, co-writer of the highly coveted  Monday Morning Cooking Club cookbook.

Lisa Goldberg

Something very special happens when you speak to Lisa about food. Her blue eyes start to sparkle and you know she is in her element. Lisa explains, “The thing about food is it is a way of showing someone that you care. May it be for your family and friends or someone who is ill. It demonstrates you are willing to give your time by creating something wonderful with your own hands. You get the opportunity to show a caring side of your personality.” For Lisa, it’s all about sharing your soul.

One thing which was apparent throughout the interview is that Lisa hates stereotypes. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but Lisa insists that works for women too! As far as Lisa is concerned, both women and men should cook and the more men who are willing to prepare a meal for their lady the better! It doesn’t have to be complicated but she is adamant no meals should be served in the kitchen and then brought to the table. Steak and vegies is certainly out. Bring the meal to the table, serve it from the same pot  sharing, savouring and enjoying the flavours “together” that is the key.

Lisa suggests Italian meatballs, but any of your favourites which can be served in a pot accompanied with wholesome crusty bread and a simple green salad can work surprisingly well. The pot is the centrepiece of the table and from the moment the lid is removed, the aroma is unleashed. This in turn will not only get the taste buds going but the conversation flowing. Not to mention lots of dipping of bread into a great gutsy sauce. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual. Cooking the meal together can be even more fun and can take away the formality of having someone over for lunch or dinner. Set the table simply but showing that you have made some effort. Have a few simple basics like serviettes, salt and pepper and ensure you share the washing up. When asked what to bring, always say wine. Never go empty handed!

Lastly, there is a real flip side to this one pot wonder meal – your relationship may just take on a whole new meaning. Sharing food can be a way of stimulating another side of one’s personality. Just by being relaxed and comfortable suddenly that person is given a chance to shine. In really taking the time to know someone you may find that they are not half as bad as they may have first appeared. Restaurant dating can be nerve-wracking, noisy, and terribly distracting not to mention especially awkward when the bill arrives. This is a way of giving first impressions a second chance and promoting an atmosphere where romance can naturally grow. So don’t wait too long to have someone around to share a “pot” of food. You may just find it was the best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Lisa’s Recommendations and tips:

  1. Good bread is essential and a definite way to impress: Best bread: Iggy’s Bakery in Bronte, Sonoma Bondi, Brasserie Bread, Banksmeadow.
  2. Best quick dessert: An affogato (Italian, “drowned”) coffee-based beverage. It usually takes the form of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. Don’t forget to put a shot of Frangelico in to give it a hazelnut twist!
  3. Lisa’s favourite Ice cream: Streets Blue Ribbon.
  4. Take shortcuts. Buy prewashed salad leaves from the supermarket. Keep it simple – juicy mangoes and peaches can be luscious for dessert as is indulging in some great ice cream.
  5. Remember to clean the bathroom.
  6. Always taste what you are cooking – if you think it’s delicious, then it is!
  7. Don’t spend all day in the kitchen!


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