One of the pitfalls of dating is finding a first date spot with a good vibe, good drinks, and good food. Plus, you need enough of a rotation to avoid that knowing look from the bartender every time you walk in with a new interest on your arm. So rather than spending a mint dining out on the town with the revolving door of Tinder users I drum up, I finally decided: Why not skip the hassle and invite that special someone over for a home-cooked meal?
Here’s the thing: I’m a much better cook than I am a conversationalist. And there is far more to talk about while standing in my kitchen as I whip up a shallot vinaigrette for the salad than there is in a crowded restaurant over another glass of bad Merlot. For date night inspiration (and guaranteed success), here are five cookbooks that never let me down.