Bonding While Braising

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Bonding While Braising

Looking to spark some romance with your valentine? Head to the kitchen and get ready to turn up the heat. "Couple cooking creates unexpected moments of intimacy," say husband-and-wife chef team Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray, coauthors of The 30 Minute Vegan and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw. "Cooking together lets you cocreate a magnificent culinary symphony," Reinfeld adds.

Be spontaneous Designate the kitchen a "lighthearted zone." Remember the point is spending time together, not creating an award-winning soufflé. "Good food is just a bonus," says Murray. Add levity by snapping candid pictures, such as when popping a dish in the oven. Murray keeps things light by telling her husband jokes: "We try to keep each other laughing through the whole process."

Experiment Tackle a big project that requires teamwork. "Make vegetarian bourguignon together," Reinfeld suggests. Pursuing the common goal of mastering an ambitious recipe can be exhilarating for the two of you.

Get chatty Take advantage of busywork, such as chopping veggies or scrubbing pots, to swap fond food memories. Tell stories of favorite foods from childhood or your travels. Kitchen talk can also offer a way to check in with each other. "We use our time in the kitchen together for catching up on the little things," says Murray.

Pump up the romance Light candles and set an attractive table to enjoy your culinary creations. Music also stirs amorousness: "We've been known to break into dance moves while mixing, stirring, or waiting for the food to come out of the oven," Reinfeld says.