The Carbonara Effect

“I heard about your carbonara trick, with the egg and everything”, he says with a conspiratorial smile that swiftly spreads across his face, “S. tried it last night and told me that it worked”.

Carbs? Trick? Works? I instantly decide that I need to know more, even though I can only stipulate what they are talking about and it’s not nutrition advice.


To put things into a broader context, it is a chilly Sunday night in Central London and I’m sitting at a crowded bar opposite my childhood friend D. He is talking on the phone with a friend of his who is calling from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve been friends forever so we’re past such niceties; his taking the call gives me the time to return to the witty conversation that I’m having via text messages with the handsome Australian guy that chatted me up earlier that afternoon and asked for my number– apparently people in London do such stuff. Or it is simply Australian guys.

Five minutes later he hangs up and slips his phone in his pocket. “Where did we leave off our conversation?”

“What’s the carbonara trick?”, I ask, eager to get down to the brass tracks.

Apparently ‘the carbonara trick’ is the new (?) ‘Netflix and chill’ which, in turn, is the new ‘wanna come over to my place and watch a movie’, i.e. an implicit invite to tête-à-tête time that covers all the bases, if you get what I mean. The problem with ‘Netflix and chill’ and invitations to cozy film nights at home is that their true meaning has become so well-known that the utterance of the words seems like an explicit statement: to use the words of the famous senior theoretical physicist of the California Institute of Technology, Sheldon Lee Cooper, coitus.

So what’s new after all?

Well, according to my friend D. and his friend … (doesn’t matter), the point of this ‘trick’ is that the guy has to impress his female interest by cooking for her. Coming from a generation that produced men who are almost exclusively capable of making a) sandwiches and b) very educated takeaway choices, the guy who, until recently, had no affiliation for cooking whatsoever needs to master only one relatively easy recipe – we’re aiming for something more challenging than scrambled eggs but which would not lead to a fire brigade intervention. Something that would dazzle the girl (yes, we hold very low expectations of your culinary skills guys) but allow the guy to move around the kitchen with a certain ease and produce something that is palatable.

You don’t need to be able to cook anything else according to this theory, just to have a signature dish. (Then pray that her ex wasn’t a Master Chef contestant.) A signature dish does not necessarily have to be spaghetti carbonara but I think that all pasta dishes with a rich, flavorful sauce constitute a proper midpoint between effortless and scrumptious food.

“Do you think I should learn to do some sort of desert, as well?”, is his only query after he tenderly lays down the basic of this miraculous strategy.

“Well… Firstly, you have a lovely waffle maker at home that has been unused for a long, long time so you could take advantage of that and save yourself the trouble. Secondly, people overall tend to be pickier with dessert so, even if you master the art of chocolate soufflé, she might end be a tiramisu fanatic, aaaand … if the ‘carbonara trick’ goes well you won’t need dessert’.

Seduction through food. Who would have thought that the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach.

Hungry (as always),



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