I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind you wake up excitedly for on a Sunday morning, despite it being Sunday morning. The kind that wakes you from your deepest slumbers like the smell of bacon can. I don’t even like to eat bacon, but I know for damn sure there is no better alarm clock  than the scent of fatty, crispy, greasy bacon. I want the kind of love that lets me know that there’s someone out there who’s taken the time to get to know me– to learn my likes and dislikes, my preferences and exact specifications– the way my dad’s omelette does. No chef on the planet will ever make an omelette as perfect for me as my dad does.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you spend all day looking forward to. The kind that you spend  hours and hours meticulously planning and preparing for. The kind that requires cheese from the nice part of the store. The kind that you break out the nice china and crystal wine glasses for, even though it’s just an average Tuesday night, because being in each other’s company and being in love is as good as any other reason to celebrate. Or the kind that you eat off of paper plates and ripped sheets of paper towels and frisbees that you hastily rinsed off because the food is what matters and you don’t need to dress it up all fancy to know that it’s amazing. In fact, forget about dressing up in general. I want the kind of love where I can be plopped in my chair wearing gym clothes with bits flour dusting my hair and oversized glasses planted on my face and still know you think I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen. Not everything needs to be perfect for it to be perfect.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’re proud to share with your friends. The kind that your friends push into natural light to Instagram and brag all over Facebook with photos that are captioned “Alexha just made me the best meal ever! Am I in heaven? Can I marry her?” The kind that make starving people studying for their final exams shut their laptops. The kind so gorgeous, you don’t even use those tacky filters.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that fosters non-stop laughter that makes you cry and dab your eyes with your shirt sleeve, and incites loud, passionate conversation where people are yelling over each other– about mortgage rates and settling down and having babies and which *NSYNC member you would’ve dated (JC, obviously) and that one Monday night we all went to the Giant’s game and got drunk– the way dinner parties tend to do. It doesn’t matter what we talk about; there will be ab-strengthening laughter and witty banter, and (most likely) 3 glasses of wine involved, and at the end of the night, we’ll feel like we’re that much closer.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that brings silence to a table when the food comes out because it is freakin’ spectacular and we were all starving and engulfing the meal takes precedence over maintaining small talk. In a world overrun with noise– may it be elevator music or the incessant honking during rush hour or the non-stop clamor of Twitter– I just want to the enjoy the silence with someone and not worry about it being awkward. I just want to look up at you between bites of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and see you smiling back at me like we’re sharing a devious secret, and without having to say a single word, know that we are both incandescently content.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’ll pack up in neat, plastic containers and continue to enjoy the rest of the week. The kind you don’t get tired or bored of, because you know what? Spaghetti tastes better as leftovers.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that’s like trying a new recipe. No recipe is ever going to come with a guarantee. The author may have different tastes than yours, or you might have accidentally bought regular paprika instead of the Hungarian smoked paprika, or your oven just cooks at a significantly different rate. The recipe might just suck in general. Likewise, you and your love might not love bouldering as much as you thought you would, or you both might really suck at surfing and never stand up on the board (though not likely, because I stood up on my first attempt, nbd), or underwater basket weaving is a lot easier than you anticipated and you got bored 15 minutes into it. Who cares? At least you tried it, and now you have a funny story to tell our friends next time we throw a dinner party. I want the kind of love where we can laugh at our misfortunes and mistakes; where we can toss our catastrophic attempt at making butter chicken and naan in the trash and just order a pizza instead, happy to have spent a few hours together in the kitchen.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel like I’m part of a team. That I’m making a difference. Like I’m part of some higher power’s plan. Every Thanksgiving, my brother and sister and I spend months trying to “top” the dinner we made the previous year. This takes countless phone conversations and recipe-laden email chains and hand-cramping shopping lists, and sure, it can get really stressful. But come the morning of, we morph together into one, spinning and twirling around the kitchen like a culinary dance… or a well oiled machine. I don’t know how you and your siblings are, but in our family, we compliment each other perfectly. I love that feeling. I want to be someone’s “other half.” I want someone to blast Spice Girls and dance around the kitchen with. Sure, it’s pretty fun doing that with my sister and having our brother exasperatedly ask my parents for two new sisters, but frankly, I’m tired of being sighed at, and moreso, I’m tired of sighing at my sister’s dance moves. And I know my siblings and I are not always going to be able to do this, what with life and growing up and jobs and all those superfluous things getting in the way. I need someone I can be that comfortable with. Zig-a-zig-a-zig-ahh. 

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you can just feel when you walk into the room, like when I would come home from school and the whole house would smell like my mom’s pho. I want the kind of love that makes me nostalgic and crazy and giddy like my mom’s pho. The kind that can never be replicated by restaurants people like to eat at just because they have punny names like “What the Pho” and “Pho King.” If the love that I end up loving turns out to be half as ineffably amazing as my mom’s pho, I will never, ever complain about anything again. This includes: having a case of the Mondays, Twilight, feeling fat after eating 3 donuts, and not dating Joseph Gordon-Levitt even though we’re perfect for each other.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes you take small bites and shuffle your ravioli around on your plate because you don’t want the night to end. The kind that, before you know it, it’s already 11pm and you missed that finale of the Bachelorette that you meant to watch, but it’s ok because the evening was perfect, and everything else can wait until tomorrow. I want a hug or a kiss that lingers the way my family used to linger around the dinner table well after we finished having tea and dessert because we’re too enraptured in discussing things like how my grandparents fell in love at the age of 15 or how my sister did on her AP Chem exam or the places we want to visit on our intracontinental road trip next month. I want the kind of love where family dinners together are the highlight of the day; where TV’s get turned off and cell phones get put away; where we genuinely care to hear about each other’s day.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel the way cooking makes me feel. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for people I care about. Nothing. I feel like a goddess, creating something from nothing. I feel like I can disregard rules and recipes and just trust my gut instinct and improvise. I feel confident in myself and passionate for the first time, every time. I feel tested and successful and squeamish with ideas flooding my mind. An extra pinch here, omit that dash there, and minor substitution here and there. There are no games here: I don’t have to wait 3 days for him to call me back, or pretend I haven’t already stalked his Facebook profile before our first date, or lie and say I’ve only read Harry Potter once in my life because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m lame. No, there are no games here (and to be honest, if you’ve only read Harry Potter once in your life, there’s a 99% chance we’re not going to work out anyway)– it’s just me being me and you being you. I want a love that makes me feel these things. I want a love that makes me unequivocally happy just being me.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind I can pour my heart and soul into (sorry for the cliche; I guess I want a love that makes me write in cliches). The kind of love I can share my family recipes with.

Honestly, I just want a love I can cook for. And when I do, I want you to tell me that that is the best goddamn baked ziti you’ve ever had. Because it will be.

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