When we both enrolled at the same college, however, we realized quickly how tiny our new town of Durham, New Hampshire was. Suddenly, our options for takeout were a lot more few and far between: a little Mexican place, a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and a steak-and-eggs brunch spot. We had a favorite off-campus bar, Ballard's; it was where we went most Friday nights to drown away the stress of midterm papers and final exams over cheap beers. Sometimes we went with friends, but mostly, we went as a couple.
Naturally, our collegiate wallets couldn't stand all that eating out for too long, so we had to think of something else. Soon we discovered that the simple task of cooking up a homemade meal together could be just as romantic as any candlelit dinner at a swanky restaurant. Not only was it cheaper, it was something fun to do on a cozy night in. While everyone else was hitting the downtown bars and restaurants, Alex and I were borrowing pots and pans from the dorm hall kitchen and scrounging for ingredients. We loved working side by side in the kitchen, trying out new recipes and coming up with our own. He loved my strawberry cream pie, and I thought his buffalo chicken mac n' cheese was to-die-for.
By cooking with him, I was learning a lot about Alex as a partner: It was a great way to see how well the two of us could work together in other ways. After all, if we couldn't work together in the kitchen, how did we expect to do as a couple in real life? I also realized things about him that I hadn't before, even after many years of being together.