Cooking up love: Homemade meals and pizza top the list of romantic gestures

NEW YORK — Seven in 10 people have pretended to enjoy food or a meal they didn’t like to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that regardless of taste, nearly two-thirds (64%) say food is their love language.

About half (48%) show their loved ones they care by regularly surprising them with their favorite foods. Those looking to express their affection through food can’t go wrong by preparing a homemade meal (64%), creating someone’s favorite snack trays (61%), buying their favorite candy (60%), or baking a homemade dessert (60%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Farm Rich, the survey also reveals people have bought or cooked a meal for someone to say “I Love You” (53%), console them (53%), and express thanks (51%).

The top recipients of these meals? Their partner or spouse (61%), children (58%), grandparents (47%), and friends (47%). Among respondents who are parents, 67 percent bond with their child over a shared love for food.

The most impressive foods to make from scratch

Preparing or cooking a meal is more meaningful than buying one (25% vs. 13%), but which dishes are most effective?

The top meal to cook for a lasting impression is pizza (19%), while cheese/mozzarella sticks and meatballs were tied for the most impressive snacks or appetizers to make (14% each). If you want to indulge someone’s sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with homemade ice cream (14%) or cupcakes (13%).

Going on a date?

Cookies (48%), ice cream/milkshake (47%), pizza (46%), and cake (46%) are the most romantic meals to share with a partner — more so than oysters (24%). We all know how being forgetful can be a relationship deal-breaker, but some things are more important to remember than others.

According to respondents, forgetting their favorite meal (32%) is a bigger taboo than failing to remember their favorite TV show or movie (27%).

“Food remains a timeless love language, transcending differences between people through the shared experience of enjoying a delicious meal or snack, and a fast way to find common ground,” says a spokesperson for Farm Rich in a statement.

More than two-thirds (67%) say sharing is caring when the item in question is their favorite food. And 59 percent are likely to share their favorite meal with others.

While 72 percent say they’re usually honest about their partner’s cooking skills, only half (53%) of those in relationships rate their partner’s cooking skills as “excellent” or “good.”

“No matter who cooks or prepares the meal, our research shows that when it comes to food, it’s the effort that counts and is remembered the most,” adds the spokesperson.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Farm Rich between Aug. 14 and Aug. 16, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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