When it comes to romance, a hot oven can set the most seductive example.
As Valentine's Day approaches, is that electricity we feel in the air?
Nope, just tension.
Now is when new loves and old marrieds knock themselves silly trying to think of how to show their affection. Results of a national survey may -- or may not -- help: While the top "want," at 57 percent, is dinner in a nice restaurant, 38 percent say they would swoon over a home-cooked meal.
Has home cooking become novel enough to pass for romantic effort?
That sentiment is more likely for single Americans who live alone. At more than 31 million, they make up 27 percent of households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's up from 17 percent of singles who lived alone in 1970.
It's little wonder that sautéing begins to sound sexy when you consider that almost 70 percent of adults who live alone have a home-cooked meal just once a week, according to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
The statistics improve once you fold married and communal households into the mix. Then, almost 80 percent of people eat a home-cooked meal three or more times a week, according to the FMI website.
That sounds pretty good until you get to this disclaimer: "Consumers hold widely different views about what constitutes a home-cooked meal. The responses ranged from a meal 'made from scratch that takes about an hour to two hours [to prepare]' to 'one that involves me turning on the stove, oven or microwave for longer than two minutes.'"
In other words, two minutes is a convenience meal. Three minutes makes it home cooking.
Let's hope such dinners are served by candlelight. Lots of candlelight.
For what it's worth, the survey was sponsored by the Zebra Pen Corp., which notes, with amazing serendipity, that 44 percent of respondents would like a handwritten love note. May we suggest, using your best penmanship, a recipe?