They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Not for me.
I can’t be coerced into liking someone with food. If you wanted to make an impression on me and cooked me a nice meal, I’m sure I would really enjoy the meal, but it wouldn’t affect my opinion of you one way or another. If that were the case, I’d be best buddies with the chefs at some of my favorite restaurants. It’s not the same thing, I know. You’re not getting paid to make an elaborate meal and are doing it because you want to, but that doesn’t necessarily tell me anything about you as a person. Even master manipulators have good knife skills, I’m sure.
And it does seem manipulative, to try and win someone over by feeding them. I’m more interested in your personality, your attitude, your quirks and humor. If we can click on that level, then we’re all set. If you seem to have a warm personality and a good sense of humor (bad puns make me groan, but my heart secretly flutters…it’s a manly flutter), I will like you. You can certainly reinforce that by cooking me something good or whipping up some exotic dish, but that won’t get you in the door. Once I know what kind of person you are and I like that person, I can appreciate the sincerity behind your cooking. It doesn’t come across as a ploy to gain favor, but rather as a labor of love for someone you care about.
Ultimately it all comes down to personality. If you don’t have one, you can’t cover that shortcoming in gravy and win me over. I might, however, ask you for the gravy recipe.