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Through His Stomach
aka: Through Her Stomach

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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 these two tropes are run together in the same plot line. If the main Love Interest is a Tomboy expect her to (often comically) struggle until some older mother figure takes pity on her and helps.

Tsundere are prone to it, because it has Plausible Deniability — and can even express unconscious emotions.

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.

The Earth Mother, Granny Classic, and Mama Bear engage in this on a regular basis for their children, but it's not limited to women. The Team Chef may do this to express the Power of Friendship for their True Companions. It may also have something to do with the tendency of characters to fall in love with waitresses. Indeed, any character who cooks on a regular basis probably does this as well. It acts more as a characterization trope, indicating a generalized benevolence toward a large group or even all of humanity (or more), 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 and Food as Bribe. Has nothing whatsoever, aside from Rule 34, to do with Right Through His Pants. For something that goes through someone's stomach violently, see Kill It Through Its Stomach and Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. May overlap with Chocolate of Romance. Sweet Baker is a related trope in which a baker has a sweet personality to complement the sweets they regularly prepare.


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  • 7 Seeds has Ryo admit to falling in love with Koruri because, when they were growing up in the institution, she'd always give him large portions and extra helpings when it was her turn to cook. Played with on her side, as she was actually nursing a crush on Ango and chose to tease him, and giving Ryo larger portions was a way to annoy Ango.
  • Parodied in Aho Girl, where it's revealed in flashbacks that protagonist Yoshiko's crush on her childhood "friend" Akuru was initiated by an unintentional case of this; Yoshiko had just broken into Akuru's room while he was studying, and, feeling hungry, was begging him for food. Akuru, who just wanted to study in peace, fed her a banana so she would leave him alone already. Unfortunately for him, she turned out to find the banana absolutely delicious, and became convinced he was using this trope on her. She has been madly in love with him ever since -- much to his chagrin.
  • 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).
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Suzu tries to get Shirogane to be her friend, and give up on eating her, by making him food. It works pretty well, mostly because Suzu herself being Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious also makes her food taste good to ayakashi.
  • In Battle Royale, Noriko bakes cookies to give to Shuya, who she has a huge crush on. Unfortunately for her, it doesn't have the effect she really wants, since Yoshi (who has a huge crush on Noriko) ends up taking the cookies and eating them.
  • In Brave10, Isanami basically gets a bodyguard in Saizo for a soba bowl although technically it's more about the repayment than the food itself.
  • Parodied in the Captain Tsubasa original anime. Sanae is trying to gather her courage to ask Tsubasa out and decides to bring him sandwiches... but while he does like her food, he totally misses her advances. Being a tsundere, she finally gets fed up and goes away, with Tsubasa being all "... WTF?!"
    • Played straight in the re-introduction of the Furano team. The two managers, Yoshiko and Machiko, bring home-made drinks for the guys; Machiko immediately tells Yoshiko to go to the team captain, Matsuyama, and give him his drink first while she handles the rest, clearly thinking of the present trope since Yoshiko and Matsuyama are Twice Shy.
  • In Case Closed, after Shiratori and Kobayashi have a Relationship Upgrade, she begins to make him bentos for lunch. His co-worker Takagi tries to ask his girlfriend Sato to make him a bento too, but she mistakenly believes he's buying lunch for the two of them.
  • 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 Unwanted Harem makes him food, forcing him to force down five bentos in the same sitting. And massively subverted: he got together with the only girl who did not bring him a bento.
  • In Colorful (2010), Makoto's mother spends most of the film making homemade meals, much of which the main character refuses to eat because of his resentment towards her. Mitsuru yells at him about this toward the end of the film, as before Makoto had tried to commit suicide, she always bought prepackaged meals, and is now putting in far more effort that he is cruelly refusing.
  • In a non-romantic version, Aoba in Cross Game fails, while Ko succeeds.
  • Darker than Black interquel manga had one of bonus chapters built upon two outstanding traits of the protagonist: being a Big Eater and Chick Magnet at the same time. It was one glorious Cooking Duel involving just about every female character from both seasons of anime.
  • In Dear Brother, when Nanako visits Rei in her apartment, she learns that Rei barely has anything in her fridge. She then decides to cook healthy meals especially for her, and leaves at least one basket full of handmade food in her doorstep.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Zenitsu comically asked Nezuko to marry him on the prospect of feeding her Sushi and Eel every day, that resulted in a failed attempt due Nezuko’s mind as a demon still not being able to understand what Zenitsu was proposing on that event.
  • 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 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.
  • In Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, 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.
  • Early in the manga Dusk Maiden of 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.)
  • Siesta resorts to this tactic in The Familiar of Zero at times to try to win Saito.
  • 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.
  • Full Metal Panic!. As Kaname is a Tsundere she naturally fulfills this trope. She's shown to have prepared a special meal for Sousuke on several occasions, either as reconciliation after losing her temper, or as Ship Tease promptly followed by Sousuke doing something to make Kaname lose her temper.
  • 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...
    Tamahome: So what, I said I'm gonna eat it!
  • Futakoi had Ojou twins infatuated with Nozomu, who tried this. They had to improve their cooking skills all the way from Lethal Chef level first.
  • Girl Friends (2006): After realizing that Akko is trapped in an unhealthy pattern of eating out a lot and ferociously dieting to make up for it, Mari starts making bentos for her.
  • Gunslinger Girl
    • In a scene where the girls are discussing Elsa, an aloof cyborg who refuses to socialize with the other girls, the equally aloof Claes brings some cake she's made to the table to share with them, showing the difference between the two.
    • While on holiday in Sicily, Henrietta prepares a meal but has no idea that what she's preparing is barely adequate until the adult Section One agent Elenora convinces her to add more ingredients. It shows Henrietta is playing at being an adult but has no idea what to do, as she's never learned to cook for her own enjoyment.
    • Petra complains to her handler Sandro that she doesn't know what food he likes or hates, because when you like someone you know that kind of thing about them. Sandro shuts down the subject by admitting that he hates...redheads (whereupon Petra pointblank refuses to dye her hair).
    • Jean Croce's backstory shows him being presented with a Sicilian orange by Sophia Durante, a female soldier who's fallen in Love at First Sight with the handsome aloof officer. He responds by throwing it in her face. Then after winning Jean over, Sophia cooks pizza for his little sister Enrica who starts acting like a jerkass to her as well.
  • Wendy Garret tries this in GUN×SWORD, but the plan fails because Van never gets to eat the meal she prepared, at least the first time.
  • Handsome Girl and Crossdressing Boy: Iori's skill at cooking impresses Hazuki, and she vows to get better at cooking so she can return the favor.
  • In Happy Yarou Wedding, Akira steals Yuuhi's bento and then is convinced he must have him as his housekeeper. Eventually they get together.
  • 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.
    • Hayate also manages to recruit people for Nagi's apartment complex and pick up Unwanted Haremettes through his cooking skills.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: 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.
  • I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying: Haijme absolutely loves his wife Kaoru's cooking, despite the fact that what isn't burned is undercooked. And her father is a restaurant chef.
  • I Want Your Mother To Be With Me!: When she finds out he's been eating nothing but snacks, Yuzuki starts inviting Ryo to eat at her family's Chinese restaurant or her house, and sometimes even brings him food when he's studying for the accountant exam. She has no romantic intentions when she first does this, though by the later chapters it's pretty clear she's falling in love with him.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: On multiple occasions, Kaguya has attempted to give Shirogane food, but — with the exception of a single slice of birthday cake — something always happens to prevent him from eating it until after they've already been dating for several months. However, she is able to brew and serve tea to him just about every day, and a third party notes after drinking it that she seems to have refined it for his specific tastes.
  • The title character of Karin does this to Usui Kenta... and almost always tries to justify the meal as being a different trope.
  • In the last volume of The King of Fighters: KYO manga, Athena wants Kyo, Yuki and Kensou to join her in her School Festival performance. She invokes the trope via making a good Chinese mushroom recipe and inviting them over for dinner, then telling them her plans when they're at the table — and it works. Too bad the Festival is crashed by Goenitz.
  • Subverted in Kurosagi because although Kurosaki takes the food that Tsurara gives him, he immediately dumps it into the trash without tasting it.
  • 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.
  • This is basically the whole premise of the Boys' Love Office Romance manga Manly Appetites: Minegishi Loves Otsu. Minegishi frequently buys food to share with all his coworkers but he's especially keen on getting the grouchy and cynical Otsu to eat his gifts, for some reason Otsu can't figure out. It also turns out Minegishi is a great cook, and he winds up cooking for Otsu a couple of times.
  • In March Comes in Like a Lion, Hina's attempts to get closer to Takahashi involve winning him over with meals that she cooked. Her first attempt ends in failure due to her shyness hindering her ability to give it after his game...which is probably for the best. The second attempt, with the advice from Akari, is a curry rice meal topped with kaarage and onsen egg. She fares much better.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elma from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is Obsessed with Food, but it's Tohru's cooking that she loves most of all. In fact, remembering the scent of a bento that Tohru had made for her is what finally gets her to speak out against her Arranged Marriage. She also stated during their reconciliation that food in general just tastes better to her when they're together.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun: Kashima attempts to appeal to her beloved senpai Hori by secretly making a cake for him (he doesn't like being given homemade food so she pretends she bought it). The approach she uses for this plan is hilariously unromantic (for example her asking a coworker to keep it a secret makes it sound like she's whipping up drugs). She makes brandy cake, and Hori ends up eating most of it. The problem? Hori turns out to have really bad alcohol tolerance and so ends up drunk.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: Marin tries to invoke this trope when Gojo comes to visit her apartment for the first time, cooking an omurice with a loving message for him. She gets distracted and it ends up a mess, although when he tries it later turns out it tastes pretty good. On the flip side, this is another of the reasons she's attracted to Gojo, as he's an amazing cook to the point she ends up eating a ration that was supposed to last her several days in a single go.
  • Mikoto from My-HiME gets all starry-eyed the first time she tastes a bowl of Mai's ramen. The two become good friends afterwards, and it helps that Mai is very good at it, having learned how to cook at a young age.
    • 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.
  • Naruto:
    • In Episode 159 of the original anime, Naruto eats one of Hinata's rice balls and compliments her by telling her that she would make a great wife. In Episode 12 of the Boruto anime, where Naruto and Hinata have been Happily Married for over a decade, he makes it clear that he prefers her home cooking rather than the cup noodles he's been eating at work lately. In Chapter 26 of the Boruto manga, Naruto boasts to Kawaki that Hinata's cooking is delicious, and tells him to look forward to it.
    • Naruto's own parents were similar in this regard. According to the databooks, Minato's favorite food was Kushina's home cooking.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. But at the same time, Sanji will never refuse anyone a meal if they're starving, even if that person could be a potential threat to him such as Gin.
  • Attempted by Ringo Oginome in Episode 3 of 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;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 The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Misaki makes a lunch for Jin in episode 13, although writing "I love you" in it turns him off. This gives Mashiro the idea to learn cooking from Sorata.
  • While rare, Brock of Pokémon: The Series sometimes employs this tactic when attempting to woo the Girl of the Week.
    • In her first night as a member of the twerps, Serena in the XY saga baked some cookies for the gang, but gave them to Ash first. This being Ash, he completely overlooks Serena's intention of impressing him.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets uses the trope in a roundabout way with two of the titular quintuplets. Nino is a Supreme Chef, but given that she started out on the wrong foot with Fuutarou, she tends to use her cooking in order to distract him or otherwise get away from studying. Miku, on the other hand, quickly takes to like Fuutarou and despite being a Lethal Chef decides to try and learn to cook well in order to gain his affection. Character Development leads to Nino falling for Fuutarou and begin to use the trope for real, while Miku manages to make pretty good dishes, and is almost as good as Nino by the series' end.
  • Rebuild World: Played with. Sheryl's first progress with Akira after falling for him, with him having been extremely cold to her thanks to his Sugar-and-Ice Personality, is when she sets up a hot sandwich stand and feeds him, with Akira suddenly becoming warm and filled with praise for her, as much for it being a Snacksploitation scheme, which actually sets up the theme in their interactions of her cunning being what impresses him. This scene also starts a Running Gag with good food being The Paranoiac Akira’s Mundane Luxury weakness that makes him let his guard down out of happiness, which eventually prompts his Eccentric Mentor Kibayashi to warn him about Tampering with Food and Drink.
  • In The Royal Tutor, Kai's fiancee/cousin Beatrix is determined to show her more feminine side to him so she asks him out for a picnic and prepared a meal for him. Unfortunately for her, Kai invited the rest of his family (and his teacher Heine) to the picnic and his grandmother already made a large lunch for them.
  • 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. Awww.
  • In Sailor Moon:
    • This is how Makoto tries to impress Motoki. Unfortunately, her meal preparations are interrupted when Zoisite attacks his fiancée, Reika.
    • In the R season she also attempts it with Seijuuro/Ail, who is actually an alien in disguise and feeds off Life Energy instead, leaving him confused by her gesture. And then his Clingy Jealous Girlfriend/Sister Natsumi/Ann shows up...
  • Saiyuki: several examples
    • Goku in general takes an instant liking to people who give him food, and for that matter, an instant dislike to those who take food away.
    • Hakkai is the team cook, being the only one who can actually make anything edible this might be more a common sense arrangement. There's a flashback episode revolving around snow and the four of them eating sukiyaki together
    • There's a filler episode in reload about a Lethal Chef (literally) trying to cook for her fiance.
  • Cooking for your crush (or eating the food from your crush) is a frequent focus in 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.
    • Tenma wants to make food for her crush Karasuma and decides on curry which is his favorite food. Since she's a Lethal Chef, she has to get Yakumo to help make it. They make two bento boxes containing curry and two containing rice so that each sister can bring the lunches to school to share (Tenma with Karasuma, Yakumo with her friend Sarah). Unfortunately the plan goes downhill when the bentos get mixed up and Tenma ends up with both boxes of rice while Yakumo is stuck with the two boxes of curry. Fortunately for Tenma, Karasuma is content with turning the rice into onigiri and sharing them with her.
    • The girls of 2C making onigiri to share with the class while they're preparing for the school festival. Harima, who is perfectly aware that his crush Tenma is a Lethal Chef, attempts to eat her ongiri by finding the ones that taste the most disgusting. He thinks he's succeeded... only to then find out he ate the onigiri made by Eri (another Lethal Chef crushing on him) instead, much to her delight. Tenma then gives Harima the ongiri she actually made — to his horror, they're even worse than Eri's.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Sengoku Komachi Kurou Tan: Tadakatsu Honda first falls in love with the heroine, Shizuko, after she gives him some new onigiri samples while he's being detained for trespassing in her territory.
  • In Sgt. Frog when Giroro meets Natsumi for the second time, he gives her a baked sweet potato he just cooked up. It's apparently so delicious Natsumi decides not to kick him out of the Hinata's Back yard.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Shana and Kazumi begin competing over Yuji by each bringing him lunch. Kazumi can cook, while Shana... let's just say Yuji's mother was 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 well- apparently Ninja Maid can't cook. So much for "Specialist of Everything".
  • A big theme in Sing "Yesterday" for Me:
    • Shinako spends all her time making food for Rou and his father. Rou takes this as a sign of her interest in him, and proudly shows off her homemade bentos to his friends at school, only to be chastened when a friend also has a homemade bento, made by his mom. In one scene, Rou demands she keeps cooking for him after he goes to college, drawing parallels with how he demands her love. This contrasts him with Rikuo, who is grateful and determined to repay Shinako for her food (and love).
    • Similarly, Haru shows her love for Rikuo by spontaneously bringing him food from her workplace. She finally becomes convinced that he's not into her first when he is underwhelmed by the breakfast she makes him, and then when she finds him with Shinako after rushing to bring him a cake she made at work.
  • 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.
  • Sylphiel in Slayers was quite happy to hear "Gourry dear" really likes her cooking. Gourry being an Idiot Hero, he still failed to notice her obvious advances, though.
  • Collin from Space Carrier Blue Noah 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.
  • Squid Girl: In a couple of chapters/episodes, Sanae tries to win the titular girl's heart by preparing her food, often involving shrimp. Unfortunately for Sanae, she's a Lethal Chef.
  • Nicely done in The Story of Saiunkoku, 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.
  • Sword Art Online: Before attempting to get her crush, the notoriously-solo player Kirito, to join her party, Asuna cooks him a meal with an S-class ingredient. Sure enough, he is exploring the latest dungeon with her, and only her, and Klein even congratulates him for being "ensnared by feminine wiles". Later volumes continue this trend with him loving every food she makes for him.
  • Rumiko Takahashi:
    • Rei from Urusei Yatsura is a frequent target 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.
    • A common plot in Ranma ½. Ranma really does think with his stomach a lot, and Akane is very determined to cook for him (as a Lethal Chef, Hilarity Ensues). Her 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.
    • From 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 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,note  the results are disastrous. She ends up giving up, though.
  • Near the end of Tiger & Bunny, Barnaby admits that he's been learning to make fried rice for Kotetsu " you have to try it some day!".
  • Repeatedly used for comedy in Tokyo Ghoul.
    • Touka's Muggle Best Friend, Yoriko, is a firm believer in this. When she brings Touka a stew as a get-well present and sees Kaneki there, she mistakenly believes him to be Touka's boyfriend. She immediately tells Touka to eat the stew with him, and departs with a thumbs-up — ignoring Touka's attempts to protest that it isn't like that.
    • In the light novels, a mysterious woman named Koharu repeatedly brings Amon homemade cupcakes as a present. Unfortunately, he's Oblivious to Love and she's the Ghoul he was sent to exterminate.
    • In the same light novel, a story centers around Misato's efforts to express her feelings to Amon by cooking him donuts. Too bad she's an oblivious Lethal Chef, and ends up giving the employees of several Branches food poisoning when she gives them her test batches. When she finally manages to give Amon the gift, he mistakes it for a character-building exercise from a superior.
    • In another of the light novels, Kaneki (a former human and thus the only one with any idea how to cook human food) invokes it himself, making a picnic lunch for Touka and Yoriko to help them through an argument.
    • In a strange way, Touka and Kaneki's mutual attraction is hinted at very early on — Kaneki's first taste of human flesh is a chunk forced on him by Touka. She also later knocks him out to stop him killing and eating his best friend, then feeds him while he's unconscious to keep it from happening again when he wakes up.
  • 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. Though Character Development has her improve somewhat by the end, moving her from "utterly hopeless" to "moderately good" at caring for herself.
  • Mizore Yukihiro from UQ Holder! made Touta a feast for lunch in an attempt to win his affections (this was after he had already turned down her marriage demands).
  • 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 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.
  • ×××HOLiC: Because Watanuki's such a Tsundere that he can't bring himself to properly give a verbal "thank-you", whenever he wants to "pay back" any favors Doumeki gives him (such as saving his life numerous times), he'll usually cook Doumeki's favorite foods or take requests to cook something Doumeki wants (most often with Doumeki making some ridiculous request that's impossible). Okay, so despite the fact he's Mr. Stoic, it's pretty obvious Doumeki already really really likes Watanuki, but the cooking definitely seems to make him want to stick around Watanuki even more. In fact, a lot of shipping fodder moments between them occur with them bantering and arguing about Watanuki's cooking.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics:
    • This is an area where Betty always wins over Veronica.
    • Big Ethel tries this all the time on Jughead. He's certainly willing to tolerate her presence when food is forthcoming, but it never gets her any closer to a date (unless you count the time it takes him to eat, and considering it's Jughead that can't be very long).
  • The great chef Gribaldi was captured by the cannibal tribe in Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire. It's implied this is how he persuaded them to enslave him rather than eat him.
  • Robin: Tim asks for Dana's help making food from scratch so that he can bring it to his girlfriend Stephanie.
  • In the Superman story arc Krypton No More, Lois Lane decides to "get" Clark Kent by cooking his favorite dinner.

    Comic Strips 
  • Blondie (1930): Blondie Bumstead is a good enough cook to eventually become a professional caterer. Husband Dagwood is a Big Eater. It's kismet.
  • In Frazz, a teacher has her kids cook tamales. She and Frazz discuss the kids vs. men application.
  • Miz Beaver from Pogo frequently tried to get Pogo hooked up with Miz Ma'm'selle Hephzibah, and at one point packed a picnic lunch to send her off with. As she put it, "The way to a man's heart is thru the soft underbelly."

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Russian fairy tale "Morozko", the old woman feeds the dog pancakes so it stops saying her daughter will die that night. The dog happily eats up her pancakes and then it goes on predicting her daughter's impeding death.

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Germany prepared pizza, pasta, and gelato for Italy with this specific motive in mind.
  • 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 spiked 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.
  • Sonata Dusk offers the caprataurs dinner in When It Rains as a diversion from the other's attempts to rescue Aria. It's very effective, as the weaker 'taurs are borderline starving.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics, it's common to pair up Applejack with Soarin' the Wonderbolt based mostly on the fact that he bought (and really enjoyed) an apple pie from AJ in the episode "The Best Night Ever".
    • Similarly, it's not uncommon to portray Equestria as having great food, seen in Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate wherein Pinkie gains Dominic's friendship after cooking him food.
  • In the wrestling story Baking For Dummies, Michelle McCool tries to bake a cake for Layla's birthday. As the title implies, Michelle is inept in the kitchen and winds up making several trips to the store each time she has to start over again.
  • A clever variation shows up in the Persona 4 fanfic Simulacrum. In the game itself, the girls are notoriously bad cooks, so in this fic, one of them gets wise and instead has the main character teach her how to cook. This gets a "I wish I had thought of that!" from another heroine later on.
  • In If Them's the Rules, Harry employs this technique to slowly win Tom over, to the point that he prefers Harry's cooking to the Hogwarts feast.
  • Greenfire (Alternate Universe!Spike) initially shows nothing but apprehension when Rarity insists on visiting his cave to have a tea party with him regularly, but eventually warms up to the idea. Although he enjoys the tea and cupcakes Rarity brings, Rarity wins Greenfire over more for providing an excellent conversation partner and help alleviating his solitude.
  • Parodied in the fic Ruby on a mission, the eponymous character tries to woo her crush by giving her a raw fish.
  • Lya's first attempt at getting Armani to fall in love with her in the Broken Bow series. Unfortunately, she doesn't quite get the differences between human and tree physiologies enough for it to be successful.
  • In the Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal, the Assassins' Guild School, after going co-educational, now has a Domestic Science department aimed at rounding out its young ladies. DomSci is taught the Assassin way by its principal teacher, Miss Joan Sanderson-Reeves, who has inhumed eighteen men via her excitingly original visualisation of culinary skills. She does indeed teach that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But if you can't push the blade in that far, you can get him to inhume himself via what he puts in through his mouth, thanks to some novel and original seasonings and additives. "And if all else fails, girls, you will also learn how to feed yourselves and others properly and safely in my classes."
  • In Overwatch fanfic Bless Your Heart, McCree tries to get Hanzo to open to him and the others by making a nice Southwest dinner for everyone...only for Hanzo to criticize him for making fattening foods when McCree is starting gain a couple of pounds.
  • In Neon Metathesis Evangelion, Shinji starts making bentos for both Rei and Asuka, which is one way the three begin to come closer. Later, he even regularly makes their dinner, basically becoming the Team Chef.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines features a gender-flipped example with Betty Snyder, an Electric-type Unovan trainer, and her boyfriend, Jamie Oliver, who studies to become a chef. According to Betty, her mom always told her to "find a man who can cook well".
  • Gender inverted in The Hunger Games' fanfic When The Moon Fell In Love With The Sun: Katniss, who has spent a good part of her life eating just enough to survive, adores pretty much everything Peeta creates in his kitchen.
  • Wings of Rebellion: Gender inverted when Ryuji suggests Akechi to cook for the girl he likes. When Akechi does end up cooking for Akira, Morgana thinks he's doing it for that very reason (when it was mostly an accident for lack of a better word).
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Penny takes Bolt with her to Dinny's Diner for apple pie as a treat in "The Car," lampshading the trope in the process:
    Penny: [giggling] You’re like every other guy I know — your pathway to happiness runs directly by way of your tum-tum!
  • In A Glass of Wine, Shinji starts cooking German foodstuff to make Asuka happy and friendlier.
  • Played With in The Homestanding. While it's never confirmed if Applejack wooed Twilight with her cooking skills, Twilight Velvet does warmly praise her daughter-in-law's culinary inclinations and comments that she's glad at least one of her children (who both can't cook worth beans) had the sense to fall in love with someone who could cook.
  • In Mistake Sherlock Holmes, Watson ends up in a coma for six weeks thanks to a criminal scoring a lucky shot. Upon hearing the good news that Watson is awake, Mrs. Hudson immediately hands Inspector Lestrade (the messenger) a bowl to hold. She tells the confused policeman that Watson has been eating through a tube and she doesn't know how good the food is at the sanitorium, so she's baking him something.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: Hinata asks Sakura and Ino some advice on how to make Naruto say that he loves her. Sakura says this trope word-for-word and tells Hinata to make instant ramen for Naruto, specifically the rare kinds.
  • In Harry and the Shipgirls, Akizuki, Teruzuki, and Hatsuzuki, as per their lines in the game, will insist on letting capital ships get the majority of their food, and they'll just have whatever's left. This spawned a Running Gag dubbed "Ducky Stuffing", where Harry would insist on having the trio eat large meals until they were well and truly full. To absolutely no one's surprise, the Duckies are confirmed to be part of Harry's future Battle Harem.

    Films — Animation 
  • Combined with the Florence Nightingale Effect in Encanto. Mirabel's father is extremely accident-prone, while her mother heals people though her food. Needless to say, they saw a lot of each other.
  • Averted in How to Train Your Dragon 2 when Stoick lovingly mentions that he didn't marry Valka for her cooking, to which Gobber basically replies that she was and is a terrible cook (then after tasting the fish she prepared, Gobber feeds his share to his dragon instead of finishing it himself).
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Po has already earned some respect from the Furious Five for being an indefatigable Determinator, but it's the great meal he whips up for them that night that really breaks the ice. Interestingly enough, Tigress, who has the most Ship Tease with Po, refuses to eat his food and instead stoically eats her tofu. She doesn't warm up to him until the end of the first movie.
  • The song A Girl Worth Fighting For from Mulan references this with the title character's three soldier friends. Ling's ideal girl has pale skin and bright, shining eyes; Yao's will be wooed by his great strength; Chien-Po only cares if she's a good cook.
  • The Princess and the Frog:
    • James, Tiana's father, explicitly talks about the good feelings that good cooking brings.
    • Tiana name-drops this to Charlotte, and Charlotte commissions food from her for this purpose.
    • 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 worked hard for a change (and mincing is the only culinary skill Tiana had taught him).
  • In Shrek, when Shrek and Fiona are falling in love, Shrek impresses Fiona with his rotisserie style weed rats, extending an open invitation to his swamp for him to cook more for her, leading to an Almost Kiss that is interrupted by Donkey.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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."
  • Added to the film of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Éowyn makes a stew for Aragorn... which is not tasty.
  • A villainous version in Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, Stone The Antichrist assumes power by feeding the world population, which he uses to create his one world order. He even states, "The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
  • Miami Blues: Susie has a relationship with Junior, who is secretly a criminal psychopath. As a Secret Test of Character, she cooks a vinegar pie with way too much vinegar. When he tells her that it's delicious, she stops trusting him. In the end, when asked why she stayed with him for so long, one of her reasons is that he ate everything she cooked for him.
  • In Silent Fall, Jake cooks Tim a meal as part of his effort to bond with him.
  • The Transporter. After reluctantly rescuing Lai, Frank unties her, leaves her a microwave meal of noodles, then goes to sleep, making it clear she's free to leave. He's surprised when she's still there to cook breakfast for him the next day, and later accuses of her deliberately invoking this trope to get him on her side. In the second film, Inspector Tarconi befriends an entire police precinct by showing off his cooking skill.
  • Discussed in When a Man Loves a Woman; Alice mentions that one of the first things that turned her on to Michael was a carrot cake he made for her, which was her favorite food.

  • 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.
  • Beware of Chicken: Among the first things Jin notices about Meiling are her cute freckles, her fiery temper, and that she makes the best dumplings.
    Let me tell you, angry cat Meimei was cute as hell. Meimei, in an apron, smiling and serving me a home-cooked meal, did things for me.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle, Barney is much taken with Valancy's cooking.
    • In Anne's House of Dreams, Gilbert gives the newly engaged Miss Cornelia the rules his mother was told to manage a man. The second is "Feed him well." She immediately responds "With enough pie."
  • In A Brother's Price, when Trini who didn't seem to like Jerin much beforehand, brings him a tray of food. Probably she didn't prepare the food herself, but it's the thought that counts.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's novel Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Tej defends watching for Ivan on the ground he's bringing dinner, and Rish says her suitors should have brought provisions rather than high connections.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos novel 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.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Cloak has the Beta team make snow cones for the Gammas (children who have not yet developed powers) in order to encourage them to look forward to becoming Betas.
  • In Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics, Mrs. Ph(i)Nko's desire to feed them all noodles caused the Big Bang.
  • Comes up in the young adult novel Darkest Powers 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 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 Expanded Universe Doctor Who Eighth Doctor novels, it's noted that the Doctor has an "almost maternal urge" to feed his friends.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Summer Knight, a sidhe offers him mortal food, and he jestingly says, "Marry me," before eating. She exploits the trope to keep him from asking questions she doesn't want to answer.
    • In the DF short story Day Off, Harry only lets Molly into his apartment after she bribes him with coffee.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. It's played straight as a manifestation of his character, though.
    • In the movie, Peeta felt immense guilt over tossing her the bread (as opposed to taking it to her) way back when Katniss and her family were starving, because he later felt like he was treating her like a starving dog (Katniss herself couldn't care less about that and is rather oblivious to his feelings regarding the matter.)
  • Iron Druid Chronicles features a rather interesting example. Iron elementals eat magic. Fey are magical beings. Atticus befriends an iron elemental called Ferris by feeding it the Fey scouts Aenghus Og sends to find him. Then he kicks Aenghus Og's butt using, among other things, a magical talisman that he made with Ferris's help.
  • In The Irregular at Magic High School, Tatsuya often buys Miyuki chocolate cake before he tells her bad news and she makes him a cake for Valentine's Day. In contrast, Mayumi's prank gift of bitter chocolates does not go over well — Tatsuya doesn't take it in the lighthearted spirit she hoped he would.
  • 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.
  • In Maburaho Yuna constantly cooks for Kazuki and brings him bento boxes, because "that's what a wife is supposed to do". This is also played with in two instances, one being where Rin wants to try to cook a bento 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 bento to the teacher, but instead gives it to Kazuki who eats it all, despite its horrible taste. Also, 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 Devon Monk's Magic in the Shadows, Maeve brings Allie food and tells her to eat it — without magical Influence, but so maternally that she obeys.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Maskerade, the narrator discusses this trope, in relation to Agnes Nitt. She's a very fat young lady, but in the countryside, this isn't a drawback. Indeed, in Lancre, 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."
      • This fact is referenced by Nanny Ogg... hasn't stopped her from building up an array of dishes that can super-charge the consumer's libido, though.
    • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Andine does this to Eliar in David Edding's The Redemption of Althalus. Particularly ironic since the former initially wanted to subject the latter to a slow and horrible death for killing her father. Of course, they had divine interference.
  • In The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, when Luo Binghe begins cooking meals for Shen Qingqiu, Shen Qingqiu is surprised by this as the Luo Binghe from the original Proud Immortal Demon Way webnovel (which Qingqiu got transmigrated into) only cooked for women to entice them into joining his harem. He fails to consider that this Luo Binghe might not be interested in cooking for women.
  • Steel Crow Saga: Jimuro scores major points with Tala by cooking adobo, her favourite food, after her Badass in Distress moment. She's doubly surprised because he's a prince of an enemy state but still does a good job of her national dish.
  • The Stormlight Archive has a platonic version, where the Supreme Chef Rock's delicious stews help the Bridge Four Ragtag Bunch of Misfits build group cohesion at mealtimes and ultimately become True Companions.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, Sunshine herself, and many others in her immediate family, have the impulse to feed people in general. At the end, she is deeply distressed when she realizes she can't feed a house-guest merely because he's a vampire. This is settled when he can drink orange juice.
  • In Unique, Sajan often shared his meal with Emma after she quickly finished her own food. He generally enjoyed watching her enjoy the food as much as he would have enjoyed eating it.
  • Parodied in the Whateley Universe story "Wine, Women and Ayla", in which two teen girls try to gain the affections of notorious foodie Phase by each trying to cook the best meal for him.
  • 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 inverted when Tylin tries to deprive him of food to get him in her bed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Is a Running Gag for an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where Fitz is called away for his first major field mission without Simmons, who expresses her anxiety over the situation by painstakingly making him his incredibly specific favorite sandwich to take with him. Tragically, the sandwich does not survive to get eaten, but Fitz is obviously touched by the gesture and, when she asks, simply tells her it was delicious. The same sandwich makes a dramatic return in the second season. In "Afterlife," Fitz and Simmons appear to end their friendship entirely, with Simmons pushing him away so forcefully that Fitz leaves SHIELD. Only to have The Stinger reveal it was a ruse all along when Fitz finds the aforementioned specific sandwich that she made for him in his backpack. This time he gets to eat it.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Played for Laughs in "Sic Transit Vir," where Captain Sheridan attempts to cook Minbari food for Delenn. She's absolutely delighted... until she actually tastes it.
    • Garibaldi relates to Doctor Franklin a story about Garibaldi's father, a gourmet chef, who would make his specialty of bagna cauda for Garibaldi's birthday day every year as a special nonverbal "I love you" from father to son. Garibaldi now cooks the dish himself for his birthday to remember his father. Franklin is moved enough to suspend Garibaldi's food plan and authorize the meal, and invite himself. Later episodes imply this started a trend of Garibaldi and Franklin having dinner with Garibaldi cooking.
  • On The Big Bang Theory:
    • As part of an experiment to increase Sheldon's feelings for her, Amy served him his favorite meal from when he was a kid: spaghetti with cut-up pieces of hot dog in it. It worked.
    • Penny asks Raj for ideas as she wants to be more romantic with her boyfriend Leonard. Raj advises her to cook for him and she does, but unfortunately, she is a bit of a Lethal Chef.
  • CSI: NY.
    • Soon after Mac and Christine start seeing each other in Season 8, they decide to meet at her restaurant for dinner one night, but he ends up calling to cancel because of work...again.
    Mac: I really hope I haven't put you out.
    Christine: Oh don't be silly, I was just going to whip something up when you got here.
    As he promises to make it up to her, the camera pulls back to reveal that she has indeed prepared an elaborate meal which is spread all over the counter where she's standing.
    • Flack's grandmother invokes the maternal version with him and his sister, Sam. She lures them to her place with pleas for help with a (non-existent) leak under her sink, then plies them with homemade Italian food until they can't eat any more...yet continues to offer them more servings.
  • Dexter: Special Agent Frank Lundy cooks dinner for Debra, a much younger detective who is part of their joint task force. Adorably, he asks her brother Dexter about her food preferences. He barely starts though because they find each other too irresistible and initiate sex. Later, he's seen offering her a piece of lox in the office, to which she replies, "Gross."
  • 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.
  • Played for drama in Downton Abbey, where the house cook discovers that her prospective husband is only interested in her excellent cooking. When she's not around, he flirts with every woman in sight.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Twisted into knots in "Cool Hands, Luke and Bo." There's no benevolent (and definitely no loving) affection between Col. Cassius Claybourne and his longtime rival, Boss Hogg, only Claybourne's desire to gain revenge on his longtime enemy and wipe him out financially and in many other ways ... by exploiting his appetite. Before it's done, Boss has eaten chicken, mashed potatoes, blueberry pie, chocolate cake and other high-calorie dishes, and Claybourne has gotten the mortgages to the Boar's Nest, Hazzard Bank, Cooter's Garage, the Boar's Nest, Hogg's used car lot and every other property in Hazzard County.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Doña Cleotilde, aka "La Bruja del 71", sometimes tries to employ this trope to gain Don Ramón's affection, albeit with limited success because Don Ramón is uninterested in her (though he does accept the food), or sometimes el Chavo and la Chilindrina end up ruining the food (if they don't eat it themselves).
  • Probably the main reason for the continuing marriage of Frank and Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond.
    • The lemon chicken that won Ray's heart — only for him to discover later that this is practically the only thing Debra can cook well — is in all probability a reference to "Engagement Chicken" as described below in Real Life.
  • On one occasion in Farscape, Crichton secures Jool's help by bribing her with the location of Rygel's stash of wamelon cake.
  • Firefly:
  • In Flashpoint, a woman rescued by Parker baked some cupcakes to thank the entire team. But Jules pointed out later, that those cupcakes were specifically made for Parker (to hint at her interest/affection for him).
  • Friends:
    • It's pretty clear through the course of the show that cooking is the way Monica shows her love for all her friends, making it a platonic version of the trope. She absolutely loves being "the perfect hostess". One of the flashbacks in the series reveals that an infatuated Monica was convinced to become a chef after she made some macaroni and cheese for Chandler and he told her that she should become one.
    • Phoebe once imagines a possible future where Monica is married to a very visibly overweight Joey instead of Chandler. She cooks for him and feeds him with delight.
  • On Fringe, Walter accuses Alt-Livia of "us[ing his] stomach to get through to [his] heart" (by buying him pastries.)
  • Gilligan's Island: In "X Marks the Spot", the Castaways hear an announcement on the radio that a warhead is going to be test-launched at the island. When Mary Ann is reconsidering her life after the news, she makes Gilligan and the Skipper each two pies to make up for not being as nice as she feels she should have. Both of them insist she has nothing to worry about, but they're happy to have the pies. Then the Skipper insists Gilligan take one of his to make up for his constant yelling at him...after Gilligan has already eaten two.
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • Sookie is a great chef and she's seen preparing food for her boyfriend (later husband) Jackson or her best friend Lorelai (who can't cook to save her life).
    • Lorelai and her daughter Rory often eat at Luke's diner. He's their close friend and their dinners, lunches or dinners there look like friends or family eating together. They often show their appreciation and say multiple times that Luke is the one who feeds them and that they owe him for their survival. Later, Lorelai and Luke get together romantically.
    • Lane's boyfriend Zach who was for a long time her friend, band-mate and room-mate prepares romantic dinner for her when he plans sleeping with her for the first time. Lane was completely oblivious and then shocked when she got it.
  • In the first episode of Here Come the Brides, one of the women woos a lumberjack by describing all the dishes she knows how to make.
  • The Last of Us (2023): In "Long, Long Time", the Crazy Survivalist Bill grudgingly allows Frank to stay for lunch, then amazes him with an exquisitely cooked meal of rabbit with a wine pairing. They're in a relationship by the end of the day.
  • On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Italian-American detective Sonny Carisi often shows his affection or appreciation through food, particularly with his partner, Amanda Rollins. His compulsive desire to feed her (claiming she doesn't eat enough) is bordering on Running Gag, and he is often at her home cooking for her and her daughters, or teaching her oldest to cook. When he brings her home to meet his parents, his Ma proves this is an inherited trait, as she takes one look at Amanda and declares "she needs to eat."
  • Eliot on Leverage uses a platonic variant on the team as a whole. And it's adorable.
  • 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.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: Prima tries to get close to Ada Azab Dalam Cerita star Clarabel by doing this twice. It doesn't work and Clarabel doesn't even remember him when they meet again post-AADC.
    • In Episode 4, Prima tries to get close to Clarabel by giving her a bottle of coffee like the one she gave to him the previous day. Too bad the reason Clarabel gave it was because she doesn't like it, so she gives Prima's coffee to Akbar.
    • In Episode 6, Prima buy Clarabel some gado-gado from Pipin's shop because he overhears that she wants some. It backfires badly since Prima gets demoted for leaving Ada Azab Dalam Cerita filming location and Clarabel no longer wants gado-gado by the time Prima gives it to her.
  • 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 realize you were a trained chef.
  • Monk: The old lady who becomes something of a mother figure to Monk in one episode wins him over by making cubic muffins.
  • Murdoch Mysteries
    • Mrs Brackenreid is acknowledged as a very good cook. She's sometimes seen cooking and bringing food for her husband, trying to appease him or indulge him. In "Kung Fu Crabtree", she cooks Chinese dinner for her family. Inspector stays at work because he prefers English food (beef or pudding) but she brings him his dinner in a basket to the office. He happens to love it and some of the spices happened to be aphrodisiac... In one episode, she cooks a special feast with all her husband's favorites for their anniversary.
    • Enid Jones, a young widow courted by Detective Murdoch, bakes cake for Detective Murdoch as a thank you gift for helping to find her son, and she later brings him some food when he's sick and she even spoonfeeds him.
  • The early paid program ''A Young Man's Fancy'' (first aired in 1952 and later featured on MST3K 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.
  • Pointedly played with 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. For more information, see "Boxed In" from Season 3; Ziva's decision to cook for Tony is a result of them spending the episode Locked in a Room.
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • This was attempted by Miss Brooks in "Home Cooked Meal", in the hopes of getting Mr. Boynton to propose. Mrs. Davis cooks a turkey, brings it over to Mr. Boynton's, while Miss Brooks attempts to warm it up in Mr. Boynton's new oven. Unfortunately, the automatic burner-lighters hadn't yet been installed . . . Hilarity Ensues.
    • An earlier attempt to get Mr. Boynton to propose was in the radio episode "Weekend at Crystal Lake". Mrs. Conklin suggests that Miss Brooks barbeque ribs for dinner. Alas, Miss Brooks doesn't know a thing about barbequing and cooks (burns, that is) the ribs by placing them under the charcoal.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon:
    • Makoto is seen cooking rice curry for Motoki, who is sick. Four years later, they hooked up together.
    • Usagi tries to win Mamoru's heart with Valentine's Day chocolate, overlapping with Chocolate of Romance.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time", Christine Chapel shows her concern (and feelings) for Spock by bringing him Vulcan food.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "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.
      Kasidy: So it's my heart you're after?
    • 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.
      Sisko: No one touches my peppers.
  • Played for horror in Supernatural with the Leviathans' plans: Leviathan Dick Roman takes over several food conglomerates and states that he's going to reform how they produce in order to make food tastier and healthier. He is in fact pumping the food with drugs that make whoever eats it fat, lazy, and stupid so that they can't fight back when the Leviathans turn America into their own personal long pork farm.
  • Ted Lasso: In the episode "Biscuits", Ted invokes a more platonic version of this trope with "Biscuits with the Boss", a new tradition where he takes a box of shortbread biscuits to his new boss Rebecca every morning so they can get to know each other better. Rebecca initially tries to refuse the biscuits, but then she tries one and is shocked by how delicious they are. She later has Higgins search every bakery in the area to find out where Ted got the biscuits, but it's revealed at the end of the episode that Ted makes them himself. "Biscuits with the Boss" continues throughout the series, and Rebecca becomes more openly appreciative of them as she warms up to Ted.
  • Unsolved Mysteries: Fritz and the Soldiers featured a story about a young boy whose mother sheltered a few German and American soldiers under her roof, convincing them to leave their weapons aside and have the soup she was cooking. They entertained her son and one of the Germans even looked at a wound on a American's soldier and offered his recommendations and later all looked up at the stars before retiring to bed. 50 some years later, the grown-up Fritz reunited with one of them on the GI's own Golden Anniversary, where they had the soup they shared long ago.
  • The Wire: After Cutty quits being a gangster for good and opens up a gym to train young boys how to fight, he suddenly becomes very popular with all the single mothers in the area. More than a few try to grab his attention by bringing him food they made.
  • You: Love Quinn is a trained pastry chef, so her go-to move when trying to connect romantically with series protagonist Joe is to bake him something tasty.
  • Lola and Kyle's first meeting in The Young and the Restless is a variation on this. Kyle is at Lola's food truck, and keeps adding special requests to his order, prompting her to snap that if she does it his way, it'll wreck the meal. After arguing over it for a bit, Lola offers him a deal: he tries the sandwich her way, and if he doesn't like it, she'll make it his way for free. Kyle agrees, so Lola fixes the sandwich for him — and after two bites, Kyle concedes defeat. She then tells him to scram, since she has other customers, but he's clearly already got a crush on her, and the two start dating shortly thereafter.

  • In I Wish, this trope gets coupled with Love Epiphany. K tells Wye that the master never taught him anything about love, until he recalls a time he ran away from his home. The master found him and asked if K wasn't hungry, which moved K to tears. This leads to him asking Lyu-Jin if she's hungry, pointing to a table full of food that he has cooked — and Lyu-Jin is moved to tears, realizing that he loved her, and she was in love with him.

  • In the Vocaloid song "Shotarella", Kaito falls in love with Len simply because he gave him "bananaisu" (banana flavored ice cream).
  • Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy" (which claims the secret to lifelong happiness is marrying an ugly woman, not a pretty one) features this exchange:
    Man 1: I saw your wife the other day.
    Man 2: Yeah?
    Man 1: Yeah, and she's ugleeeee!
    Man 2: Yeah, she's ugly, but she sure can cook, baby!
  • In "Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, he claims that girls just wanna have lunch. Dine and wine is a good dating strategy.
    There's only one thing that they all like a bunch:
    Oh, girls just wanna have lunch...

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Sumerian myth, Inanna wanted to marry the farmer Enkimdu, but her brother Utu wanted her to marry the shepherd Dumuzi. Dumuzi confronts her and argues, scornfully comparing the dates and other foods the farmer could give her to the cheeses, yogurts, and other dairy products he could. This won the day. As a consequence, her temples maintain massive herds of sheep for the offering of butter and cheese necessary for her worship.
  • In the Book of Esther from The Bible, Esther as queen prepares two banquets for King Xerxes in order to win his heart and get him to listen to her petition to protect her people from the king's wicked adviser Haman.

  • 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—
    Artie: What do you mean, everybody knows it?
    Bunny: (...) So if I cooked for you now and said I won't sleep with you till we're married, you'd look forward to sleeping with me so much that by the time we got to that motel near Hollywood, I'd be such a disappointment, you'd never forgive me. My cooking is the only thing I got to lure on you with and hold you with. Artie, we got to keep some magic for the honeymoon.
  • In The Moon is Blue, Patty jumps at the chance to cook dinner for Don in his apartment (though he has to buy the groceries first), and David tells him after dinner that she has been trying to invoke this trope:
    "The dinner was excellent. Now having established a beach-head in your heart, she's landing in full force on your whole bosom with this dish-washing, see-what-a-superb-housekeeper-I-am routine."
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • In Aquapazza, Tamaki tries this with her romantic interest in her ending... by adding Aquapazza to the dish.
  • Many leaders in Civilization VI will send food from their lands as part of a delegation to establish ties with you — apple pie from Teddy Roosevelt of America, maple syrup from Wilfrid Laurier of Canada, cheeses and baguettes from Catherine de Medici of France, caviar from Peter the Great of Russia, fufu from Mvemba a Nzinga of Kongo, spiced buttermilk from Chandragupta of India, a-pingnote  from Jayavarman VII of the Khmer, etc.
  • Detective Pikachu Returns: This is the case of one Darmanitan who was just hangry, but thanks to Tim and Pikachu, they fed it a Slowpoke tail, which are said to be edible, thus causing the hungry Darmanitan to calm down.
  • The current video example is a familial variant from Don't Starve Together: Warly briefly jogs his mother's failing memory by feeding her a meal she used to prepare for him.
  • Ensemble Stars! has quite a few (generally) platonic examples:
    • Souma is a very skilled cook who often prepares food for his friends — his management conversation with Keito features him talking about how happy it makes him to know that he can please other people with his cooking. In particular, Kanata often asks him to cook fish for him, which works out very well given that Souma is always looking for things he can do to help him out. And in Greek Legends he offers to make bento boxes for his friend Adonis given that the latter often only eats anpan for lunch.
    • Kuro also often cooks, particularly for his beloved younger sister and his karate club junior Tetora. On the other hand, Tetora would like to cook for Kuro, but he's a Lethal Chef so he has a lot of practicing to do before he can.
    • Ritsu likes to bake, but while his creations are inevitably delicious, they always look awful, so people are usually very reluctant at first to try anything he makes.
    • Hajime, on top of knowing a great deal about making tea, also bakes, particularly for his Tea Club seniors to eat during together club meetings; they are always very happy to enjoy the efforts of their cute and hard-working junior.
  • In Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, in the Vile God timeline, Dorfa gets Fang to be a figurehead president by giving him food.
    Fang: Honestly, I'd kinda lost all my memories at the time. I was starving, but I didn't have any money. They offered to buy me lunch...
    Eryn: So they bribed you with food. I should've guessed...
  • In Final Fantasy IX, Eiko develops a Precocious Crush on Zidane, and attempts to woo him by making him dinner. While the dinner can be good or awful depending on how well the player does at a mini-game, it still goes nowhere. (Because Eiko is 6.)
  • Used throughout the Fire Emblem series:
    • A non-romantic version occurs in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade with Child Mage Lugh. Half of his supports start with or involve him bringing leftover baked goods to the other person and them getting flustered over it (his friend Chad acts like a classic Tsundere over it). In one case he does this with the wyvern belonging to Miledy.
    • 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 (and then forget their names).
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, this seems to be a sort-of theme for several characters:
      • In Sumia and Chrom's supports, she bakes him a series of savory pies (a bento in the Japanese version) in hopes of both winning his heart and help him outside the battlefield. If she's married, her "gift" reply to her husband on an event tile is her showing him that she has made lunch for him... even if she dropped it twice — this event shows up regardless of who said husband is note , so it shows that she cooks for all of her love interests.
      • Kellam can have two girls cooking for him... not bad or a guy who's often forgotten. On one hand, Lissa bakes him a "rainbow-filled" pie but it doesn't go that well. On the other, Olivia makes rock candy for him with some honey that he brought her before and it works much better.
      • Gaius invokes the trope several times too. He tries to win the aforementioned Olivia's heart with pies and proposes to her via hiding a ring inside a tart he baked for her, helps Lissa improve her cooking, and a good part of his supports with Sumia include their Epic Fail at finding honey for pies. (She manages to bake him a cake in the end.) In his own "gift" dialogue with a girlfriend has him saying he's baked a treat for her.
      • Stahl wins Panne's trust and affection over by trying to come up with meals she can enjoy with the others. This one's quite justified: being a Taguel instead of a human (meaning she has the dietary needs of a rabbit, the animal that the Taguel are based from), there are several things that Panne simply cannot eat, lest she'll get sick or even die.
      • As a Ninja Maid, Cherche is said to be a pretty good cook too. Her ending with Stahl has him actually gaining weight from eating all of her delicious food.
      • Mixed gender example: the Avatar (whether male or female) makes a carrot stew for the aforementioned Panne. S/he is a Lethal Chef. Panne loves it anyway.
      • The male Avatar starts cooking for Nah in their A Support after seeing that her diet consists of little more than berries, leaves, and roots. She greatly appreciates the gesture because in the Bad Future, where Nah was raised by scornful foster parents, food was scarce, which was especially a problem for a half-dragon like Nah, as manaketes require far more food than humans to survive.
      • Tharja, in her attempts to get closer to the Avatar (regardless of gender), tries her hand at "acting normal" and cooks their favorite meal: liver-and-eel pie. The Avatar is taken aback by Tharja's drastic change in personality (even saying that they preferred her old habits), but they DO find the pie in itself to be delicious.
      • Tharja's daughter Noire is an excellent baker. Her supports with Owain show her baking for him, and if she supports with a Male Avatar who's not her dad he agrees to go out in a date with her to taste her cakes.
      • The "gift" reply from event tiles involving Cordelia's daughter Severa have her giving her lover something she baked for him. Being a tsundere, she immediately tells him "don't you DARE complain about the taste!"
      • Sully and Cynthia mention in some of their supports that the village girls often give them savory pies with cream (Sully) and sweet cakes (Cynthia) to show their admiration for them.
      • In Lon'qu and Cordelia's supports, it's revealed that Cordelia often cooks dinner for the army with this trope in mind.
      Cordelia: Right then! To the sound of thunderous gratitude, I'll go and prepare supper. You like cabbage stew, don't you?
      Lon'qu: It is my favorite dish. Are you the one who keeps preparing it every meal?
      Cordelia: Oh, so you DID notice! Yes, that's me. I like to keep morale up by serving little treats now and then. Anyways, see you at supper!
    • Fire Emblem Fates also has this trope as a sort-of theme for some characters:
      • Peri is said to be "the best cook of the army", and she cooks for her partner Laslow in their S support as thanks for helping her deal with her mother's death. She also shares her homemade sweets with Kaze and he notes how good of a cook she is.
      • Charlotte, as a mix of The Fake Cutie and Gold Digger, uses her cooking skills as one of her "tactics" to attract men. It backfires hilariously in her Invisible Kingdom B and A supports with Saizo: he trolls her several times via Stealth Hi Byes, and in one of them he drinks the soup she was preparing before Charlotte can even blink, which pisses the HELL out of her. (He does acknowledge the good taste, however.)
      • Hana and the aforementioned Saizo's support chain begins when a very hungry Hana asks him to give her some food. He hands her one of the basic food rations that the Hoshidan ninjas carry when in missions; she loves it so much that, in the B support, she asks him for the recipe so she can make it later. If they reach a S support and Saizo proposes to Hana, they explicitly say that this food deal helped them grow closer.
      • More than one support chain including Mozu is about this trope, since she's the closest to a Team Chef in the troops. Again, Saizo is among the prospect 'candidates', and his Mozu supports shed quite the light about his past as the two bond over food.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses plays with this in two ways: You can raise your Support Points with other characters by eating meals with them in the mess hall, with greater gains earned if you choose one of their favorite foods. You can also have other characters help out in the kitchen once a month to cook a meal to provide your army with a temporary stat boost. Selecting someone who's good at cooking (such as Mercedes, Dedue, or Ashe) will also increase their Support Points significantly, while choosing a Lethal Chef (or someone who hates to cook, like Hanneman) won't give you any additional benefit.
  • Jam cooks for Ky Kiske in one of her endings in Guilty Gear XX. Granted, she is a professional cook and he helped her to find who had nearly destroyed her beloved restaurant, but her facial expression and body language leave no doubt about her intentions. Though this ends up subverted in that Ky ultimately falls for someone else — Dizzy.
  • In the Harvest Moon games, you can raise affection points with many characters by giving them the kind of food they like.
  • Innocent Until Caught 2: Presumed Guilty starts with Lovable Rogue Jack T. Ladd being arrested by Cowboy Cop Ysanne Andropath. She refuses to feed him until she drops him in jail, he reminds her that "the path to a man's heart is through his stomach", but she replies that she prefers more direct ways. Like disembowelment with a blaster ray.
  • Marx's description in Kirby Star Allies states that he'll be on good terms with you if he's well-fed, assuming that was why he tricked the sun and moon into fighting and tricked Kirby into giving him power. That said, the Japanese descriptions reveal that he's pulling an Enemy Mine because the looming threat of the Jambastion cult is making him worried of his own safety.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    • Although Link is as much of a Heroic Mime as ever, Zelda's diary reveals he finally opened up to her in the backstory (offscreen) when she cooked him a meal as thanks for saving her from the Yiga Clan.
    • There's a class in Gerudo Town that teaches Gerudo planning to go look for a mate how to interact with men; they also teach cooking lessons so that the students can invoke this trope.
  • Octopath Traveler II uses this as a twist on a pre-existing mechanic. Certain members of the Player Party can recruit NPCs as temporary Guest Star Party Members; these NPCs will follow the team around, can be used as an Assist Character a set number of times, and will sometimes contribute passive support abilities. Ochette, the Hunter, is The Beastmaster who can capture Random Encounters monsters and either use them as Assist Characters... or cook them into food, which then serves as the consumable reagents for her recruitment ability. (The prepared dishes can also be used on the party for standard "Restore Hit Points and/or Magic Points" purposes.)
  • In Persona 4, the main character can occasionally cook for his friends. If the food is good, this will cause an increase in Relationship Values.
  • 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, you level up the rank before you get 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.
  • Potin Permit:
    • Xiao cooks his favorite childhood dish, which was passed down from his grandma, for you if you start dating him.
    • This is how Cassandra and Osman first met. Cassandra used to deliver her cooking to her father at the police station and saw Osman on duty every workday. She then decided to cook for everyone in Moonbury as an excuse to feed Osman, which she admitted to him after he asked her out.
  • In The Sims 3, romantic interactions often trigger the wish to cook the lover's favorite meal.
  • Akito feeds Girard some of his home cooking in Super Robot Wars BX, and she loves it. If you want to unlock Girard, Akito needs to be one of the people to convince her.
  • 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 Cataclysm, a part of the starting quest for a Female Goblin where you do just that to your cheating ex-boyfriend was titled "The Best Way to a Man's Heart".
  • One of the proposed ways of sabotaging Osana's attempts at winning Senpai's affections (not programmed into the game yet, but planned) in Yandere Simulator involves this trope. Osana's made an extra lunch for Senpai to have with her to invoke this trope. Yandere-chan can, if she so chooses, poison Senpai's meal with an emetic to make him sick and less likely to accept her love confession. Or she could poison Osana's meal in an attempt to get her alone and kill her quietly. Of course, she could just straight up poison Osana's meal with a lethal poison, but having Senpai witness his childhood friend die in front of him may have...unintended consequences.

    Visual Novels 
  • C14 Dating: Several romance routes and some friendship routes involve one of the love interests at the very least buying a meal for Melissa. Melissa sometimes makes something simple for the other person, while Deandre and Hendrik use their cooking skills for something more elaborate. The trope name is even dropped in the late-game choice that puts the player on Deandre's romantic route.
  • Cafe Enchante:
    • Misyr is quite fond of the coffee Kotone makes for him. Doubly so as he mentioned that out of all the foods he has tried in his lifetime, coffee is his favorite thing.
    • Despite never outwardly praising Kotone's food, Ignis is noted to enjoy her cooking and always cleans up every plate she serves to him.
    • Rindo's route reveals he is an excellent cook and Kotone thoroughly enjoys the meal he prepared for her.
  • Collar × Malice:
    • Okazaki enjoys Ichika's baking, especially since he doesn't know how to cook, let alone know how to properly prepare tea.
    • Enomoto was in pure bliss when Ichika invited him to breakfast at her house. He soon started fantasying to himself that they were married as he was repeatedly praising her food and asking for seconds.
    • A variation where Sasazuka offers food to people he likes despite vocally claiming they are annoyances to him. It's most noticeable in his route where he offers donuts, chocolates and appetizers to Ichika whether to praise her for doing a good job or a means to cheer her up.
    • Yanagi is noted by many characters to be an excellent cook. Ichika cannot help but thoroughly gush over the simple meal he prepared for her.
  • Double Homework:
    • Johanna often offers to make pancakes for the protagonist.
    • Lauren makes her home-cooked meals a staple of her relationship with the protagonist.
  • An inordinate amount of time in Fate/stay night seems to be spent on cooking, so much so that there is actually a cooking themed spin off (Today's Menu for the Emiya Family). 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.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, in Rin's route Hisao learns that her Trademark Favorite Food is oranges. A later scene shows him bringing oranges, peeling them and feeding them to her.
  • In Little Busters!, this comes up a few times: Haruka cooks for Riki multiple times in her route, partially to earn his affection and is really distressed when she realises that he's been unknowingly eating Kanata's food as well, and even preferred hers. Kurugaya also offers to make bento for Riki, though after they've started going out. Masato turns it around — his idea for how a guy should confess to a girl is to just go up to her and declare 'from tomorrow, you're going to be making me bento every day!' All of his demonstrations of this line fail, however.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!:
    • 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 (bread filled with noodles), which would mean an indirect kiss. This causes the rest of the girls to take bites out of what they gave him.
  • When she officially moves into the protagonist's apartment (on her romantic path), the title character of Melody cooks him a candlelit dinner, and serves it on the building's rooftop.
  • In flashback case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations Phoenix claims that his girlfriend makes "magically delicious" mini-omlettes and they always eat together. Subverted as Dahlia couldn't care less about Phoenix himself and only wanted certain necklace he had. Double subverted as the girl he was actually dating at the time was not Dahlia but her twin sister Iris who did love Phoenix, although Phoenix himself didn't learn about that until much later.
  • One of Marika's methods of "making her move" on Masaya in her route in Princess Evangile is cooking him a set of dishes she made herself, and then going to his room for lunch and spoonfeeding him.
  • 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... sort of, at least in the anime and manga. (The Visual Novel is something else)
  • 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. In the anime, when he stops eating Kaede's food, it is a sign that he is neglecting her. And we know where that brings us.
  • In True Love Junai Monogatari, if you go into a date with Remi Himekawa, she'll arrive late. It turns out she was making a bento for him, with this trope on mind, and it turns out to be really tasty.
  • Discussed in Zero Time Dilemma when Akane and Carlos are locked in the pantry. When Akane mentions baking cookies as a child, Carlos asks if she made heart-shaped cookies for Junpei filled with love. She asks him to stop teasing her, but doesn't deny it. At another point when they're making gelatin as part of a puzzle, Carlos suggests that making some for Junpei and giving it to him with the words "I made it just for you" would instantly win his heart.


    Web Novel 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: The street child Jamie has had mixed experiences with men offering him food. Sometimes it's merely the prelude to sex, but he takes from Graham's efforts at buying and preparing him food that the man cares ar least a little about him.

    Western Animation 
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter's dad claims that his wife's muffins are the reason he married her.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Kanker Sisters attempted to win over the Eds with 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."
  • Parodied on The Fairly OddParents!, where an episode opened with Mr. Turner "falling in love all over again" when his wife makes her new dish: cold cereal and milk.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the 1937 Merrie Melodies short "I Only Have Eyes for You", a lonely spinster tries to woo an iceman with her culinary talents. It initially fails since he only has eyes for another girl who is only interested in crooners. The iceman hires a voice imitator and hides him in the back of his ice-truck so he can pretend to be a crooner. The scheme ultimately fails but everything still works out for the best: the girl falls in love with the voice imitator, the iceman is won over by the spinster's cooking.
  • 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...
  • Mummies Alive!: At one point, Armon advises Presley to win his Love Interest this way.
    Armon: Starve a cold, feed a female.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a platonic (or not quite) example when Applejack butters up Twilight by offering her a huge selection of treats in exchange for the second ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala. It doesn't work.
  • Played for Laughs in The Owl House episode "Escaping Expulsion". When Luz comes back to school for the first time since the previous season's finale, Amity gifts her with a homemade fairy pie — in which the ingredients are very fresh. Luz is unable to digest most witch food so she probably can't eat it, and is viscerally disturbed enough by the still twitching and protesting faries baked into a pie that she almost certainly would not do so if she could, but at least the thought counts.
  • The Al Brodax Popeye cartoon "Duel to the Finish", which in spite of its title is devoid of inherent violence, has Olive trying to make Popeye jealous by wooing Wimpy. And what obvious way to woo Wimpy than through his stomach. Popeye laughs off Wimpy's flattering of Olive (using culinary metaphors) until he hears Olive kiss Wimpy. Popeye challenges him to a duel, and Wimpy chooses an eating duel. After so many hamburgers, Popeye concedes, unable to eat any more, but then Wimpy concedes Olive to him after he hears her say she can't cook another thing.
    Popeye: Olive, the next time ya wants to makes me jealous, gives me some notice so I can diets fer it! [groans]
  • Time Squad: Larry often tries to serve Tuddrussel exotic and often bizarre food that he prepared, such as a turkey stuffed with gravy and with a single cherry on top. He declares at one point during an argument over the food, "I was trying to do something special."

    Real Life 
  • Cooking a meal for someone is a good way to show you care, and will gain favor with anyone.
  • Exaggerated 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.
  • Feeding is also a very good way of winning over an animal, especially a domesticated one.
    • in TV and movies, an animal actor's food is essentially their salary. Result: Once the animal's appetite is satiated, they're pretty much done for the day (not always the case for domesticated animal actors, but for wild animal actors, once they've eaten their fill they tend to prefer the strange bald creatures let them rest)
  • One of Glamour magazine's best known recipes is "Engagement Chicken', a lemon and herb roast chicken dish, discovered by one of its writers in 1982. The recipe earned this nickname after many women who prepared the dish and served it to their boyfriends — starting with three of the editors at the magazine — were engaged soon afterward. Even shock-jock Howard Stern proposed to his girlfriend after she served him the dish.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Through Her Stomach, Food Is Love


Tai and Sora

Tai finds out his love interest actually has feelings for his best friend and, instead of getting upset, encourages her to go for it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy

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