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You always hear that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but women have an affinity for good chow too. It doesn’t take much to wow a date using food and you don’t need a 9 ½ Weeks spread in order to worm your way into a girl’s heart. Below we’ve listed 8 simple yet straightforward ways to impress almost any female with food.

1. Bake something

Baking is a win-win situation for a guy. It’s simple: invite a girl over and offer her a baked good. If you tried making brownies but instead ended up with burnt bricks, you can shyly admit that you’re “not much of a baker” but thought you’d try making something for her. You’ll share a good laugh about your lack of baking skills and she’ll think you’re cute for trying. If you whip up a decadent dessert with the greatest of ease, she’ll be all the more impressed that a guy can actually bake. Whatever you decide to make, be sure you do it from scratch–break apart cookies and brownies out of a box are decidedly less impressive than putting in the effort with a homemade recipe.

2. Find out her favorite meal and cook it

Do a little bit of recon and find out what your date’s favorite meal or food is, then invite her over one night for dinner and surprise her by making it. If you’re a terrible cook, call in a take-out order and set everything up at your place. She’ll be impressed by your listening skills and will think you’re sweet for going the extra mile.

3. Garnish the plate before serving

If you’re making dinner for a girl, go above and beyond what she’s expecting and add a little garnish to the plate before serving. Whether you use a picked flower, some parsley, or drizzle oil/sauces into a fancy little pattern, prettying up the plate will definitely impress your date.

4. Research a good alcohol pairing

Show attention to detail by picking an appropriate drink pairing with your meal. Don’t just think “white wine = poultry, red wine = steak”; research tasting notes and tell her that you picked a specific bottle of wine because it’ll complement the meal. Go beyond wine, too: pick up some high quality tequila and sip it with your Mexican food, or craft a light but tasty rum cocktail with your Caribbean fare. Don’t just try to liquor up your date with as much cheap alcohol as possible–impress her with your thoughtfulness and focus on the whole meal from start to finish.

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