There are few things more attractive than a man who knows his way around a kitchen. Whether he’s whipping up a quick breakfast or slowly simmering some stock to make soup for a sick love interest, a guy who knows which knife to use is all the more likely to get to demonstrate his skills in certain other rooms in the house. Hint: the one with the bed in it.
In no particular order, here are 10 essential kitchen skills all dateable men should have.
To move through a kitchen as if you know what you’re doing, you definitely need to know which knife to use for different tasks, and how to hold it properly. A filet knife is not a bread knife is not a steak knife. And a man who knows the difference is going to look all the more impressive, and be much less likely to cut himself. Emergency rooms are not sexy places.
Brew some kind of respectable coffee
No matter where you wake up, you ought to be able to put a pot of coffee on without having to ask your date from the night before where to put the water. This obviously doesn’t count as actually cooking, but it is probably the most common, universally helpful kitchen skill; even if all that coffee’s good for is giving you the strength to embark on yet another walk of shame.
Prepare a proper omelet, because scrambled eggs are for rookies
Almost anyone can pull off scrambled eggs. But you like this person! And you want to stand out among all the other guys vying for their attention. So you’re not going to pour a bowl of cereal, and you’re not going to push some eggs around mindlessly in the pan. No, no, you’ve got to dazzle. So take the time to deliver a perfect omelet with that coffee.
Make some next-level soup
At some point, the one you adore is going to fall ill. And when that happens, there is no greater gift than homemade soup. Whether it’s chicken noodle, classed-up Ramen, slow-cooker stew or a hearty vegetable, know how to make at least one kind of soup that will put your partner on the path to recovery. Just wait until they're no longer contagious (and feeling better) before that thank-you kiss.
Grill, frying pan, oven, or open fire: you should be able to cook meat under any circumstances. Julia Child’s The Way to Cook is the bible for this type of skill. If you want to be ready for anything, also learn how to cook the perfect piece of tofu.
Make pancakes (or waffles) from scratch
Nothing spells comfort food like pancakes or waffles on a weekend morning -- and nothing earns you bonus points faster than spelling her name out in the pan with the batter. Especially if you do it in the course of preparing the best blueberry pancakes, ever.
Carve a turkey without destroying it
This skill harkens back to the time of primitive hunters, who cut up a fresh kill on-site in order to make it easier for the hunting party to carry the meat home. A turkey’s no wooly mammoth, but there’s still something to the art of carving up a carcass, whether bird or beast. You don’t want to be at your SO's parents’ house next Thanksgiving and have their father offer to let you carve only to embarrass yourself and everyone else by not having a clue what you’re doing. Don’t be that guy. Learn to carve a bird.
Make pasta sauce from scratch like you’re in Goodfellas
Few dishes are more delicious -- or simple -- than making pasta sauce from scratch. You just get the five or six ingredients together, cook them down, stir ‘em around, and dump it all over pasta. Few kitchen moves are simultaneously so impressive and so simple.
Every man should have a dish in his back pocket that he can execute perfectly that’s sufficiently classy to make for a date night. You have enough to worry about if you just landed the opportunity to cook dinner for someone just a bit out of your league -- this is not the time for a trial run on something you’ve never made before. And it doesn’t have to be some kind of Top Chef stuff. You’d be surprised how impressive some simple chicken parm can be. But maybe save the nuggets for a more casual future occasion.
Do the damn dishes
This last skill is probably the most important part of any home-cooked meal: you doing the dishes so your bae doesn’t have to.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Nicole Caldwell is Thrillist’s Sex & Dating editor and loves men who do dishes.