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The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
Feeding someone, as a gesture of affection or an attempt to win it. (Or both.) The person doing the feeding may not even realize why they feel this desire to feed the other. While they do not have to cook it themselves, that adds to the significance.
Related to Feminine Women Can Cook, and often the these two tropes are run together in the same plot line. If the main Love Interest is a Tomboy and her rival is a Yamato Nadeshiko expect her to struggle very hard to compete while cooking, until some older mother figure takes pity on her and helps.
Girls giving (or sharing) a bento with a male classmate is a common way to invoke this trope. The Japanese Valentine's day chocolate also often falls under this.
Men who try this are seldom entirely comfortable with the fact that they are cooking something, but they do it anyway. (Much more pointed, that way.)
If the cook is spectacularly terrible, then Hilarity Ensues, particularly if she's the type to drop-kick the Love Interest when he refuses to touch her cooking because it just ate a hole through the table.
In addition to the more common romantic version, there is also the occasional mother figure to child version. In this version an older woman (occasionally male but usually a woman) tries to demonstrate maternal love to a younger person by cooking for them. If the child is a Broken Bird, or if the older woman is a Lethal Chef this can result in failure.
Apron Matron and Mama Bear — and Real Men Who Cook — engage in this on a regular basis for their children. The Team Chef may do this to express the Power of Friendship for his True Companions. Indeed, any character who cooks on a regular basis probably does this as well. It acts more as a characterization trope than a particular relationship, though even here it often indicates that a person has been accepted into their True Companions.
Supertrope of Your Favorite. Compare Tastes Like Friendship. Has nothing whatsoever, aside from Rule 34, to do with Right Through His Pants. For something that goes through someone's stomach violently, see Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
Anime & Manga
- Once pictured above: One of the reasons Mikoto is quick to befriend Mai in Mai-HiME is because she loves the food that Mai cooks for her. There are, of course, two other reasons.
- Shiho tries to win points with Yuuichi this way in the Cooking Duel after seeing that he's one of the judges. Unfortunately for her, she trips and plants her face into the completed cake.
- A hilarious version in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer: Sami makes a meal, that turns somewhat lethal. She doesn't finish eating it, and tells Yuuhi that he doesn't have to either, but the man gobbles it up like nectar from the gods (and pays for it later).
- During the finale, it's found that Yayoi cooks (large) lunches for her husband, even hand delivering them.
- Rei from Urusei Yatsura is the king of this trope. A Chick Magnet so potent that even the fangirls of teen trillionaire Handsome Lech Mendou switch to squeeing over him the moment he shows up, he reveres anyone who brings him food... or whatever can even be considered food.
- In Fruits Basket, when Tohru is sick, Kyo cooks her something to eat. Despite Momiji's teasing. And despite that he's making her leek soup... and Kyo hates leeks.
- A common plot in Ranma ½. Ranma really does think with his stomach a lot, and his girlfriend Akane is very determined to cook for him (as a Lethal Chef, Hilarity Ensues). Her love rivals, Ukyo (an expert Chef) and Shampoo (works in a Ramen cafe) often use food as a way to gain an advantage over Akane in their pursuit of Ranma. In particular, the anime Christmas episode has Akane wondering why Ranma is late - and then she imagines Shampoo tempting him with a turkey, and Ranma responding "I always wanted to eat a whole turkey". It was rather amusing Character Development, because it showed that Akane now realized that Ranma would not be tempted by Shampoo's body but rather by the food.
- Speaking of Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku. Kyoko is thoughtfully providing lunches for Godai as he job-hunts. At least, she thinks he's job-hunting. He's really being forced to Work Off the Debt at a nightclub. They're very nice lunches and she's clearly putting a lot of effort into them. Godai feels like dirt for his subterfuge, and his boss keeps telling Godai not to let this one get away.
- In Shakugan no Shana, Shana and Kazumi begin competing over Yuji by each bringing him lunch. Kazumi of course can cook, while Shana... let's just say Yuji's mother was rather overwhelmed trying to teach her. So Shana just gives Yuji a box of Melon Bread in a curious inversion of Your Favorite.
- Inspired by the cooking war going on over Yuji, Whilhelmina tries to do this for Shana. It doesn't turn out very well- apparently Ninja Maid can't cook.
- In a non-romantic version, Aoba in Cross Game fails, while Ko succeeds.
- In Vandread, several girls including Dita compete for Hibiki's affection by cooking meals for him. This works exceptionally well, since Hibiki comes from a dystopian planet where all food are tasteless nutrients that look like hamster pellets.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima, several girls attempt to get points with Negi by making him tea. In addition, Negi's first (and so far only) significant meeting with Satsuki Yotsuba was prefaced by a meal at her meat bun stand.
- In an episode of School Rumble Hanai challenges Harima to a cooking duel during a nature outing to impress a Tsukamoto girl. What Hanai is unaware of is that both he and Harima are each focused on a different sister: Harima wants to impress older sister Tenma, Hanai wants to impress younger sister Yakumo. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.
- One episode of the Ryuusei no Rockman anime featured Luna trying to learn to cook for Rockman in order to win his heart. Unfortunately for her, in addition to being a Lethal Chef, she happened to pick Subaru to taste her failed attempts, without having any idea that Subaru actually is Rockman.
- Hilariously played with in Martian Successor Nadesico. The girls who are after Akito (already a decent cook in his own right, and the reason he joined the crew in the first place) try to compete for his affections through a Cooking Duel... and they're all really bad at it.
- Taiga from Toradora! is at her most content when she eats good food. Her classmate and neighbor Ryuuji is an excellent cook. Do the math.
- This example reverses the gender roles in the trope, because the male (Ryuuji) is good at cooking and housekeeping, while the female (Taiga) is hopeless at both.
- Nodame's crush on Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile could perhaps be largely attributed to Chiaki's outstanding cooking skills, which save her from eating instant ramen for dinner every day.
- Parodied in Fushigi Yuugi. Tamahome is forced by circumstances to break up with Miaka. She, of course, is hurt and confused, and when it's time to prepare lunch, Miaka volunteers to help out. She ends up cooking with Xi Fang, the foster daughter of the Byakko Warriors Tokaki and Subaru, whom circumstances lead Miaka to be jealous of. Miaka gets distracted and burns all that she cooks, while Xi Fang's cooking is perfect, and Hilarity Ensues when everyone takes the first bite and is instantly put off. Bonus points when Tamahome makes a spiteful comment about her cooking, and EXTRA bonus points when, after Miaka leaves upset, he eats everything she cooked at the cost of getting a nasty stomachache.
Tasuki: Hey, man, your face is turning blue...
- Shirayuki from Sister Princess likes to cook for her brother to show her sisterly affection. In the first anime series, she starts out as somewhat of a Lethal Chef, but she quickly becomes a top-notch cook.
- Nagi attempts this repeatedly with Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler. Lethal Chef indeed. Hayate, however, is actually touched by the attempts (despite the terrible taste), because his mother never did anything so nice for him.
- Done in One Piece at the end of the Alabasta saga. So what does a now world famous pirate want for saving an entire country and defeating one of the most dangerous people in world? Luffy only wants to be fed until he explodes. Vivi and Terracota manage to succeed which is a miracle in itself.
- In a gender inversion, amorous chef Sanji prepares special food and beverages for whatever beautiful women he can find, shrugging off even his captain until the needs of the women are met. He clearly implies that he does this to win their affections.
- In Battle Royale, Noriko bakes cookies to give to Shuya, whom she has a huge crush on. Unfortunately for her, it didn't have the effect she really wanted, since Yoshi (who had a huge crush on Noriko) ended up taking the cookies and eating them.
- In XxxHolic, whenever Watanuki wants to "pay back" any favors Doumeki gives him (such as saving his life numerous times), he'll cook Doumeki's favorite food or take requests to cook something Doumeki wants (most often with Doumeki making some ridiculous request that's impossible). Okay, so Doumeki already really really likes Watanuki, but the cooking definitely seems to make him fall for Watanuki even more. In fact, a lot of dere-dere, romantic and cutesy moments between them occur with them bantering and arguing about Watanuki's cooking.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Shion who is actually Mion in disguise inadvertently does this with Keiichi since he hadn't eaten lunch that day. While he wouldn't show much interest in her, it started a friendship.
- In D.Gray-man, apparently this is the way to Allen's heart. It's entirely possible to bribe him into having positive, happy feelings towards the person. In one instance, Miranda, unable to think of any way to cheer him up, gives him her candy, which makes him ridiculously happy. In another instance, Rohfa apparently caught on to the idea, and is implied to be trying to court him by bribing him with huge boxes of Mitarashi Dango (his favorite). Granted, he only seemed to happily notice the food, without the romantic implications... but, well, it's a start, right?
- In Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual, three of the girls compete this way. Each of the girls has a different cooking ethnicity, and Kazuki ends up having to eat every morsel on every plate just to maintain the peace. A fourth girl, D, doesn't know how to cook, so she just adds instant curry sauce to all 3 meals in an attempt to compete. The irony is that Kazuki prefers bachelor food, like instant ramen.
- Fiore in Chrono Crusade is the cook of the Sinners, so she has a tendency to do this to show familial affection. She's always cooking for Joshua (to the point where he raves over her pudding), and she also scolds Shader for eating canned food and gives her a home-cooked meal as soon as she sees her again. The most obvious use of this trope is when she cooks for Azmaria, and is very thrilled when she seems to like it, telling her "This was my sister's favorite. You remind me of her."
- Also, when Rosette first met Chrono, he was very weak--so she offered him some cookies and candies she had in her pocket. Chrono was deeply touched by her kindness and instantly took a liking to her after that--and, when she grows older, they become the series' Official Couple. (However, Rosette tries to actually cook for Chrono later in the series, and the result is less successful.)
- Taken to a hilarious extreme in Clannad where almost the entirety of Tomoya's Harem makes him food, forcing him to force down five bentos in the same sitting. The girl he chooses? The only one who did NOT cook for him.
- in The Wallflower, Sunako appears to be doing this to Kyouhei accidentally. There was one episode where Kyouhei actually started to fall in love with her. But then, because the Status Quo Is God, he realizes that he just has a craving for some fried shrimp. And we're right back where we started.
- Nicely done in Saiunkoku Monogatari, in which Shuurei's cooking wins Ryuuki's heart twice over. In the backstory of the series, Shouka shared the food Shuurei cooked for him with Ryuuki whenever Ryuuki visited the Archives, effectively becoming Ryuuki's Parental Substitute since he was neglected and abused by the rest of his family. Later, when Ryuuki and Shuurei first meet in person, she shares her tea and sweet bean buns with him; he recognizes her cooking, and falls in love with her in very short order.
- In Maburaho Yuna constantly cooks for Kazuki and brings him obento, because "that's whata wife is supposed to do". This is also played with in two episodes, one being where Rin wants to try to cook an obento for a teacher she had a crush on, however as she isn't as feminine as the rest of the female cast, her cooking tastes horrible. In the end, she doesn't give the obento to the teacher, but instead gives it to Kazuki who eats it all, despite its horrible taste. In another episode, when Kazuki's parents are supposed to come over to visit, upon learning eel is their favourite meal, all three girls attempt to prepare eel to impress his parents.
- In Sailor Moon, this is how Makoto tries to impress Motoki. Unfortunately, her meal preparations are interrupted when Zoisite attacks his fiancée.
- Early in the manga Tasogare Otome X Amnesia , Yuuko is shown feeding Teiichi from a bento. On the next page, she pulls him down onto her Lap Pillow. He's a bit weirded out by this, because Yuuko, although very good-looking and built, has been dead for something like fifty years. (She doesn't quite fit the Cute Ghost Girl terms, though, as everyone else in the school either can't see her at all or sees her as a Stringy Haired Ghost Girl.)
- Hikari offers to make Touji a bento in Neon Genesis Evangelion. She says it's because she "makes food for her sisters so she always has leftovers" but it guaranteed that the fandom thought them an item from that point on.
- Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 has a surprisingly detailed and extended focus on cooking. Shinji is a good cook, and proves it during a field trip. Rei, hoping to reunite Shinji and Gendo, invites both of them to a dinner party where she will cook. Seeing Rei practice cooking makes Asuka jealous, and she, too, takes up the ladle and attempts to learn (though she is incredibly embarrassed when this is found out). A later scene proves that Rei is a far more dedicated learner than Asuka, as proven by the bandage count on their fingers.
- Saiyuki: several examples
- Goku in general takes an instant liking to people who give him food, and an instant dislike to those who take food away for that matter
- Hakkai is the team cook, being the only one who can acctually make anything edible this might be more a commen sense arrangement. There's a flashback episode revolveing around snow and the four of them eating sukiyaki together
- There's a filler episode in relaod about a Lethal Chef (litrally) trying to cook for her fiance
- Collin from Thundersub desperately tries to convince the crew to keep Anna on the ship by insisting, "She's a good cook! She's willing to cook!" They finally give in.
- A joint example happens in Seitokai Yakuindomo. When Tsuda compliments the miso soup dinner the three student council girls make for him and his sister, they stare at him expectantly after mentioning which part of the soup they prepared individually.
- In Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, Ryoko attempts to do this to win over Tenchi in episode 7. However, as she has no tastebuds to taste her meal and she's not willing to get Sasami, their resident cook, into the mix, the results are disastrous. She ends up giving up, though.
- Wendy Garret tries this in Gun X Sword, but the plan fails because Van never gets to eat the meal she prepared, at least the first time.
- In The Secret Agreement, the first time Iori meets Yuuichi he is eating mitarashi dango, and Iori asks to try. He nearly eats the entire thing, over which Yuuichi feels resentful at the time. Later in life he views it more optimistically as "it only took three-quarters of a mitarashi dango to make you mine."
- Double Subverted in Rurouni Kenshin, Kaoru can't cook to save her life, but Kenshin likes her cooking because she keeps getting better and better at it. Awwwwwwwwww.
- In Happy Yarou Wedding, Akira steals Yuuhi's bento and then is convinced he must have him as his housekeeper. Eventually they get together.
- Near the end of Tiger and Bunny, Barnaby admits that he's been learning to make fried rice for Kotetsu "...so you have to try it some day!".
- Attempted by Ringo Oginome in episode 3 of Mawaru Penguindrum. She reads in a magazine that a curry plate made in specific circumstances will help her gain her crush Tabuki's attention, and thus she tries making curry for him. Too bad that Tabuki's actual girlfriend, Yuri, beat her to the punch.
- In episode 11, Shouma Takakura is seen cooking stuffed cabbage and his sister Himari notices it's a dish he only cooks when he intends to ask someone for forgiveness. She then speculates that he's had a fight with Ringo and says "I hope Ringo-chan likes cabbage!". In a subversion, Ringo don't get to taste it, as she knocks the dish down because when Shouma and Himari found her, the kid was in the middle of a huge Heroic BSOD.
- Invoked again in episode 17, since Shouma and Kanba's takoyaki is so good that not even the Princess of the Crystal can resist their taste.
- In one chapter of the harem comedy Ai Kora, Maeda tries to get home to enjoy a chocolate sculpture of a girl with all his "ideal parts" that he had commissioned. Unfortunately, it's Valentine's Day, and he keeps getting sidetracked by all the girls in his harem plying him with chocolate (lots of chocolate, in the case of Ayame and Kirino).
- While rare, Brock of Pokémon sometimes employs this tactic when attempting to woo the Girl of the Week.
- In episode 15 of D.N.Angel Mio Hio tries to win Daisuke over by cooking for him. Risa also suggests that Riku should cook for Daisuke to win him over.
- Siesta resorts to this tactic in Zero no Tsukaima at times to try to win Saito.
- In Oniisama e..., when Nanako visits Rei in her apartment, she learns that Rei barely has anything in her fridge. She then decides to cook healthy meals specially for her.
- In Archie Comics, this is an area where Betty always wins over Veronica.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Haruhi starts making lunch to Kyon when isn't given one because he is grounded. She still keeps making them after it's lifted though, as he has become a Big Eater.
- Gender Inverted in Assumptions: After Rainbow Dash wakes up in Caramel's house (under innocent circumstances) after accidentaly drinking spike beer, she starts dropping in regularly for breakfast, and even gets him to start preparing lunch. This is one of the reason she warms up considerably to someone she though of as useless a few days prior.
- Bill Engvall references this in Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again during the "I Believe..." closing act. He says, "The way to a man's heart is not through his stomach... it's a little further south."
- Played with in Miami Blues when a woman intentionally cooks a terrible pie to test her hoodlum boyfriend. He pretends to like it and she takes this as a sign that their relationship is a sham.
- Added, quite unnecessarily, to the film of The Lord of the Rings: Eowyn makes a stew for Aragorn, which is not tasty.
- The Princess and the Frog: In response to Charlotte's wish to marry the visiting prince, Supreme Chef Tiana jokes that the way to a man's heart is this trope, prompting Charlotte to order enough of Tiana's beignets to provide the money she needs for a down payment on a location for her restaurant. Oh, Tiana, you manipulative genius, you...
- Later on, when Naveen wants to propose to Tiana, he prepares her some minced vegetables. Nothing but big piles of minced vegetables. In this case it's really a symbolic gesture, as he actually worked hard for a change (and mincing is the only culinary skill Tiana had taught him).
- In Kung Fu Panda, Po had already earned some respect from the Furious Five for his indefatigable Heroic Resolve, but it was the great meal he whipped up for them that night that really broke the ice for most of them.
- Interestingly enough, Tigress who has the most Ship Tease with Po only stoically eat her tofu and didn't warm up to him until the end of the first movie.
- In the Expanded Universe Doctor Who Eighth Doctor novels, it's noted that the Doctor has an "almost maternal urge" to feed his friends.
- In the Kate Daniels novels, shapechangers ascribe ritual significance to food. Buying someone dinner at a restaurant is a symbol of affection; actually placing food into another's hands is an incredibly intimate gesture. Becomes a plot point when Kate unknowingly accepts food from a shapechanger's hands; she's accepting a sexual proposition and acknowledging his dominion over her.
- Comes up in the young adult novel The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong. When Derek first sees Chloe again, he offers her food and asks about her injury. His romantic rival for Chloe's affections even comments that Derek is "showing him up". Later, Derek acts a bit of a mother hen over Chloe, making her a bed of tarps, offering her his sweatshirt, and giving her his last granola bar. So it came as no surprise when a new character instantly observed that Derek considered Chloe his mate.
- In Terry Pratchett's Maskerade, it is explained that Agnes is fat because in her homeland, men are urged to choose their wives by checking out the plumpness of the family: it shows how good the cooking is.
- "Young men of Lancre were advised that while kisses eventually lost their fire, cooking actually tended to get BETTER over the years."
- Also parodied in another book. Assassins trained by the Assassin's Guild know to carry their knives low: the easiest way to a man's heart actually is through his stomach.
- ... then up through the diaphragm.
- Also mentioned in Vimes and Sybil's marriage—she can't cook worth beans, but luckily, Vimes actually enjoys bacon he can shatter and rubbery bits in his eggs.
- Mat Cauthon of the Wheel of Time believes that if you get a woman to start feeding you, she is halfway won. He happens to be right.
- And this is hilariously inverted when Tylin tries to deprive him of food to get him in her bed.
- In Brian Jacques's Redwall Cornflower's generosity and beneficience are shown by having her perpetually cooking for all the defenders, who all regard her highly. (Even though she is the Love Interest, not so much specifically for Matthias.)
- In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel Summer Knight, a sidhe offers him mortal food, and he jestingly says, "Marry me," before eating.
- And possibly subverted because not only is he starving, she's rather skillfully manipulating him to keep him from asking questions she doesn't want to answer.
- In John C. Wright's The Orphans of Chaos, Vanity offers to cook for Glum, which lets them manipulate him. She's not an objectively very good cook, but Amelia notes that whatever she makes is mysteriously delicious.
- In Titans of Chaos, after Amelia offers Victor some papaya, he says she would make some man a good wife. She spends a long time pondering what exactly he meant. In a slight twist, Victor is normally a better cook than she is.
- Maybe not an exact example of this trope, but In Bryan Davis' The Eye of the Oracle, Mara feeds Elam from her hand through a hole in the wall when they're imprisoned by Morgan. Later in the series, when they eventually meet face to face and fall in love, Elam often recalls this incident, and at one point vows to give his life to defend "the girl who risked her life to feed me." Their "I love you" hand signal, wiggling fingers, is specifically stated to hark back to that, as well.
- Subverted in Betsy Tacy. Betsy claims that Tib's stolid German cooking would be a disillusioning experience for any boy, no matter how good the food is. Further subverted by the fact that Betsy herself only learns how to cook after marriage, with her husband doing most of the cooking before.
- In L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle, Barney is much taken with Valancy's cooking.
- In Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Barkis decides to marry Peggotty without even speaking to her, just by eating a pie she made. He proposes by sending a message via David: "Barkis is willin'."
- In The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss really loves to eat, and she's particularly fond of Peeta's cheese buns, which he brings her all the time in Catching Fire (despite the fact that things are still pretty awkward between them, and she's now rich enough to just buy bread). This trope is almost subverted to begin with, though: when they were younger, Peeta caught a beating from his mother to provide Katniss with two loaves of bread that saved her and her mother and sister from starvation... and she so loathed the debt she felt towards him that she avoided him until the games forced them together.
- Monk: The old lady who becomes something of a mother figure to Monk in one episode wins him over by making cubic muffins.
- Mellie and her incessant pasta-making on Dollhouse. Despite being a single woman who lives alone, she seems to make lasagne in gigantic portions. It's no real surprise that it works on Ballard.
- The early paid program A Young Man's Fancy (first aired in 1952 and later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode # 610 The Violent Years) has a mother give this advice to her daughter Judy who is trying to win the heart of the ergonomics-obsessed Alexander Phipps. Judy's response is, "Oh, mother that's corny!" In the end the power of food and an electric kitchen win the day.
- Firefly: In the episode Safe, River shows her gratitude by gathering some berries for Simon. This has claims to being the best Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the whole series.
- YoSafBridge uses this to get Mal to start warming towards her when they are married. Wash is impressed by the home cooking, referring to with a sort of awed tone as "wife soup", which draws sharp looks from his own wife, Zoe.
- Also averted and not averted both at the same time - Wash wishes that Zoe would cook for him. After he is kidnapped and tortured and she rescues him, she makes him some soup to make him feel better.
- Pointedly averted in NCIS, where Ziva cooks for everyone except Tony. He is stunned that she's holding dinner parties for absolutely everyone else they work with, including the "autopsy gremlin!" Eventually, she promises to cook for him, but we never see any of the scenes.
- In a clip from the Talk Show Maury, a woman accused another woman of luring away her man by cooking him chicken tetrazzini. (It worked. He was cheating on her.) That clip later became a Running Gag on The Soup.
- On Misfits, after Nathan has been basically homeless and living on vending machine snacks for five weeks, Kelly finally takes pity on him and cooks him dinner one evening. And the spectacular banquet she prepares for him? Chicken nuggets and spaghetti hoops.
Nathan: I didn't realise you were a trained chef.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the first episode of the 4th season "The Way of the Warrior" begins with Captain Sisko welcoming his girlfriend Kasidy Yates back to the station with a gift and an extensive romantic dinner that is, unfortunately, interrupted very quickly.
Sisko: My father always said that the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach.
- Averted later on when Kasidy and Ben are married. Sisko is shown throughout to, unusually for Star Trek, prefer cooking real food rather than eating out of a replicator, largely because his father is a chef. Kasidy tries to cook for him and burns the peppers he'd been growing for months, then agrees that she's best off leaving the cooking to him.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of Babylon 5 where Captain Sheridan attempts to cook Minbari food for Delenn. She's absolutely delighted... until she actually tastes it.
- On Fringe, Walter accuses Alt-Livia of "us[ing his] stomach to get through to [his] heart" (by buying him pastries.)
- Eliot on Leverage uses a platonic variant on the team as a whole. And it's adorable.
- On one occasion in Farscape, Crichton secures Jool's help by bribing her with the location of Rygel's stash of wamelon cake.
- In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Makoto is seen cooking rice curry for Motoki, who is sick. Four years later, guess who's hooked up with whom? (Mind you, she also cooked for Rei and Ami...)
- Usagi also tries to win Mamoru's heart with Valentine's Day chocolate.
- Probably the main reason for the continuing marriage of Frank and Maria from Everybody Loves Raymond.
- On an early episode of Boy Meets World, Cory wants to break up with a girl he thinks is moving way too fast in their relationship... until he learns she can make Belgian waffles. Then he's not so sure.
- Monica on Friends (who does works as a chef) is the ultimate platonic example of this trope, cooking up whatever her friends ask simply because it makes them happy. She even made three different types of potatoes (lumpy mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes with peas and onions, and tater tots) for one Thanksgiving meal.
- In the Vocaloid song "Shotarella", Kaito falls in love with Len simply because he gave him "bananaisu"
- Happens again in Kaito's version of Melt when he falls for a girl that offers him her ice cream
- In John Guare's play The House of Blue Leaves, Bunny will sleep with Artie anytime, but won't cook for him till after they're married.
Bunny: Because, Artie, I'm a rotten lay and I know it and you know it and everybody knows it-
- In the musical Of Thee I Sing, the principal qualification of Mary Turner for her successful bid to become the wife of John P. Wintergreen and First Lady of the United States is her ability to "bake the best darned corn muffins you ever ate." Now, Wintergreen may have made a campaign promise to marry the winner of an Atlantic City beauty contest, but the winner's chances of making him honor his promise are doomed when he finds out she can't make corn muffins.
- "Mr. and Mrs. Rorer" from the Bolton, Wodehouse & Kern musical Sitting Pretty.
- Pictured above: Jam Kuradoberi cooks for Ky Kiske in one of her endings in Guilty Gear XX. Granted, she is a professional cook (and a GREAT one) and he helped her out, but her facial expression and body language leave no doubt about her intentions. Though this ends up subverted in that Ky ultimately gets someone else
- In Persona 4, the main character can occasionally cook for his friends. If the food is good, this will cause an increased Relationship Values.
- Parodied in one of the female troll joke emotes in World of Warcraft: "Da way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but I go through da ribcage."
- In the Harvest Moon games, you can raise affection points with many characters by giving them the kind of food they like.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Ilyana is noted in base conversations (as well as her supports with Zihark, Gatrie and Mia's Foot) to deprive soldiers of their food with her cuteness (then forget their names).
- Fire Emblem Awakening has several examples:
- Sumia and Chrom's support chain has her baking him a series of pies (bento in the Japanese version).
- Lissa and Kellam's supports have her baking (badly) for him. She spends the entire chain trying to bake an edible pie for him, and succeeds.
- Stahl gets close to Panne by asking her advice on planning the dinner menus, so she can eat along with the others. (Taguel have different dietary needs than humans.)
- Gaius discovers that Olivia has a massive Sweet Tooth, so he makes her the beta test for his pies. The final one has her experiencing a foodgasm... followed by discovering a wedding ring in the filling.
- Gaius' supports with Sumia feature their mis-adventures at finding honey. She tries to bake him a pie, and it takes her a while but it works.
- Kellam secretly leaves a honey jar for Olivia in her belongings, and when she finds out she uses its contents to make him rock candy.
- Cordelia and Lon'qu cook for each other in their supports, which begin with her guessing his Trademark Favorite Food (cabbage stew) and deciding to make it for him.
- The Avatar is a Lethal Chef, but then they find out that the non-human members of the crew actually like their food. . .
- Some of the Love Tiles talks between couples have either men or women cooking for their significant ones. ie., Sumia makes lunch for all of her husbands (but drops it), Severa bakes for any boyfriend but tells him to not complain, etc.
- Fire Emblem Fates:
- The Nohrian cavalier and local Cute Psycho Peri is said to be the best cook in the army. She and Kaze exchange sweets in their supports and he notes how skilled a cook she is, and in her A support with her partner Laslow she makes him dinner as thanks for his counseling about her Missing Mom.
- Mozu is said to be officially in charge of the army's food, and some of her supports revolve about her great cooking. ie, she makes a specific fish dish for Kaze's brother Saizo.
- Done a few times in Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
- Byleth can invite people for tea to strengthen their bonds, and it has even better results if they correctly guess what kind of tea their guest likes better. It's very useful, ie., to build up supports with Lady Rhea, who does not attend many of the activities that Byleth can normally use to bond with the cast.
- In their final support, the Supreme Chef Bernadetta von Varley makes a meal for Raphael Kirsten.
- Ingrid Brandl Galatea swoons over Yuri Leclerc's GREAT cooking skills, and he starts preparing meals for her regularly.
- Marianne von Edmund cooks for Ferdinand von Aegir in their A support.
- Dorothea Arnault is in Hate at First Sight with Ferdinand but doesn't tell him why, and one of his attempts to get to her includes him baking for her (and even burning his hand) without any external help (which isn't easy since he's a nobleman, but he's that determined). If the support chain is completed and they fall in love, Dorothea tells him that one of the moments that made her start warming up to him was him making her treats.
- Flayn wants to invoke this with Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd, who can only stomach her cooking because he lost his sense of taste years ago. She's not satisfied and wants to be a better cook for the day he can taste food again.
- In the portable version of Persona 3, a female main character can opt to cook Ken Amada's favorite dish for him. However, the context in which this scene takes place is entirely up to the player. Interestingly, the player levels up the rank before getting to the discussion on why she made the meal.
- More generally, during Fuuka's Social Link the female protagonist can also make a number of sweets which can be given as gifts during weekend dates; these always go over famously.
- In The Sims 3, romantic interactions often trigger the wish to cook the lover's favorite meal.
- Kotonoha in School Days tries this. She's a Lethal Chef, but unusually enough actually seems to get better at it as the show progresses. (Everything else...not so much.)
- A recurring theme throughout Shuffle is that all of Rin's potential girlfriends try to win him over by cooking. Despite this, it is a coincidence that the best cook ends up winning him over. When he stops eating Kaede's food, it is a sign that he is neglecting her. And we know where that brings us.
- An inordinate amount of time in Fate Stay Night seems to be spent on cooking. Shirou, Rin and Sakura can cook (different styles, but they can all cook) Taiga can't. Saber mainly just eats
- Sakura is the one actually trying for this trope with Shirou. It's somewhat ironic, considering that he's the one who taught her how to cook. Still, she eagerly learns as much as she can, from him and on her own, and he proudly acknowledges that she's managed to surpass him.
- Kohaku uses this method to get closer to Saber in Battle Moon Wars after Shiro warns her not to over do it because Saber will never forget a meal. She does the exact opposite.
- Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai:
- Mayucchi usually makes, or offers to make food on the days when the dorm mother is off. In her route, she does this all the time for Yamato.
- Miyako also attempts this on a regular basis, but unfortunately for her, her usual choice of fare is not exactly popular with Yamato.
- Episode 5 of the anime also features everyone, including the guys and Cookie, catching on to Mayuuchi's idea, and showers him with whatever food they happen to carry. For added hilarity, Momoyo mentions that she's eaten half her yakisoba-pan, which would mean an indirect kiss. This causes the rest of the girls to take bites out of what they gave him.
- The parental version occurs in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, when Bob finally breaks through Galatea's paranoia by serving her some microwave pizza, the first civilized meal she's ever had.
- At one point, Faye of Questionable Content turns this on it's head, proclaiming that "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. That way, you don't have to chop through that pesky ribcage."
- In Impure Blood, Janna the innkeeper likes keeping her guests fed.
- In Nip and Tuck, explaining the food to a bachelor new to the area.
- In Sinfest, Monique takes it too literally.
- In Erstwhile, the king is much taken with All Fur's soup.
- In Girl Genius, Snaug brings Moloch a snack.
- The song A Girl Worth Fighting For from Mulan references this. One soldier's ideal girl has pale skin and bright, shining eyes; the second's will be wooed by his great strength; the third only cares if she's a good cook.
- In a Mickey Mouse Works short, Minnie becomes tired of eating the same sandwiches at picnics because Mickey can't cook. When Mickey later sees Minnie talking to José Carioca (of all people) about how he's going to prepare her a gourmet meal, he panics (thinking that Minnie wants to date José because of his cooking ability) and tries to learn how to cook. Minnie tells him that's not necessary, because she was just hiring José to cater their picnics. Guess what José prepares...
- Attempted in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends by Berry to Bloo, with snicker-doodles. Fails miserably, it seems Bloo only has eyes for Mac.
- The Kanker Sisters attempted to win over the Eds win three extremely greasy and unhealthy burgers, topped with pure lard. As Lee Kanker said, "The way to a man's heart is through his arteries."
- Jimmy Two-Shoes: Heloise attempts this on a semi-regular basis to win Jimmy's affections, including snacks "whipped up from scratch" and two very complete picnics (Beezy and Cerbee ruined the first). For an independent career woman, Heloise takes a surprising amount of pride in her cooking skills.
- Time Squad: the beginning of "Ex Marks the Spot," with Larry preparing a gravy-smothered turkey for Tuddrussell, which would be fine, barring the rather Freudian subtext of shoving a funnel into the spot where the turkey's head used to be, followed by pouring a canister of gravy into the turkey and a lingering shot of the turkey as it swells and overflows with gravy.
- Hunk pulls a non-romantic version of this in the eighth season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, making an Altean cookie to remind Honerva's zealots of home and open up to the Galaxy Garrison. It works. He's so good at this that he eventually makes a career out of it, founding a culinary empire that catered many a successful peace conference.
Truth In Television
- Cooking a meal for someone is a good way to show you care, and will gain favor with anyone.
- It's also a pretty valid tactic to approach and befriend wild animals.
- Zigzagged in real life by feedees, feeders and foodees who find feeding somebody or being fed by somebody, especially stuffing them as much as possible, to be a kind of foreplay.
- Not so much the stomach as into the abdomen and up through the diaphragm, bypassing the ribcage.
- Bread filled with noodles