Sep. 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM ET
Long before Michelle Obama became an outspoken advocate of healthy eating as first lady, she was faced with a different sort of culinary dilemma: What to cook for her date, Barack Obama?
“I was really trying to impress him,” she recalled to Rachael Ray in an episode of the celebrity chef's TV show that aired Monday. “I got my mom’s recipe for gumbo, and I bought all the stuff, and it turned out really well, I think.”
Maybe a little too well: “He thought he was going to eat like that all the time.”
The first lady isn’t the only famous person to woo a date with a home-cooked meal. Howard Stern's wife, Beth Ostrosky, realized the power of her own cooking when she made Glamour magazine's "engagement chicken" with lemon and herbs for Stern.
"He had never been more romantic than the moment he tasted this chicken," Ostrosky told TODAY.com. Stern even mentioned her efforts on his radio show the next morning (and dozens of women have told Glamour that the dish prompted their own engagements).
But women aren't the only ones in the kitchen. Some celebrity men have inverted the old adage that “the way to a man's heart is through his stomach” by impressing their lady love interests with a well-prepared dish.
“I bring Keely breakfast in bed on a tray with a single flower from our garden,” Pierce Brosnan told Redbook, referring to his wife, journalist Keely Shaye Smith. “I did that when we first started dating, and I still do it.”
And the first lady would likely approve of Jake Gyllenhaal’s strategy — woo his lady love with fresh vegetables.
“I would probably try and find a farmer’s market or a place where there was food that was grown nearby,” he said on Moviefone’s Unscripted in March 2011, when asked what he would prepare to impress a girl on the first date. “I don’t have a dish that I would cook. I would just love to be outside… and then cook whatever is there, whatever is fresh, whatever is good.”
Do you use your culinary skills to get a date’s attention? If so, what’s your go-to dish when wooing with food?
Danika Fears is a TODAY.com intern who considers bacon to be her secret weapon when cooking with an amorous agenda.