Love is . . . never worrying when she licks the plate
ROMANCE is like an anchovy. You might like it on your pizza but do you want a pound of it for breakfast everyday? It's a little heavy on the heart, not to mention the stomach.
Food has the power to bring people together or tear them apart. It can evoke memories of utter passion (a shared jelly-bean) or sheer embarrassment (pretzels up the nose).
There's a famous story about a couple whose ''special food'' was peanut butter. When they split up, the man would throw a jar of it through her window as he passed her house on his way to work every morning.
But Hongkong people have their own special food stories and not everyone places mangoes and oysters at the top of the sexy-food list.
Lisa - a model: ''A couple of years ago I was going out with this guy I thought was really special. We'd had about three dates and everything was going fine until he told me his nickname was ''Coco-Pop'' because he could consume a large packet of the cereal in a record five minutes without using his hands. I thought he was joking until he actually gave me a demonstration. It was the most disgusting thing I had seen in a long time. I never saw him again.'' Paul - an architect: ''My wife licks plates. She especially likes to lick plates after Mexican food; preferably nachos. She does it in a really lady-like fashion so it's not too bad. But I remember the first time she did it I was about to run out the door.'' Rebecca - a copywriter: ''My boyfriend and I have nothing in common besides food. We disagree on everything. He hates everything I like, I hate everything he likes. But we both love food. He even hates my cooking. Once I cooked him some spaghetti, our first homemade lovers' meal together. He had one taste and threw it in the rubbish bin and said it was the blandest thing he's ever eaten. But it's worked out well because now he does all the cooking.'' Jessica - interior designer: ''My boyfriend Ben and I had just started going out and I told him we weren't officially a couple until he'd given me some flowers and taken me to a posh restaurant. We were living in London at the time and he booked a table at the Polish Club. So we got all dressed up and it turned out that the Polish Club was exactly that - an old building filled with ancient Eastern European men. We decided to check out the menu which was all in Polish. We ate a watery soup with bits of beetroot floating around and then a steak, which was completely raw. It was a disaster.'' Benny Chia - Fringe Club manager: ''Food is mainly an input and relationships consist of input and output but, I think given the right food in the right setting, and the right person, it can upgrade the whole thing and make it look civilised. To me, romantic food is food that reminds you of the sea or a forest. '' Julie - public relations manager: ''My husband and I were in Western Samoa and we had a beautiful lodge with banana trees in the garden. One morning he cut up some strawberries and put them on a plate into the words ''will you'' and he wrote ''marry me''in chocolate. I was so shocked I couldn't answer him. But now strawberries are our very special fruit and we always try to have them on Valentine's Day.'' Daniel - journalist: ''I went out to dinner with this girl and she was having an alcohol-free month so she ordered a glass of milk with dinner. I fancy myself as a bit of a comedian and was joking around a bit. Just before I came to the punchline she'd taken a gulp of milk and cracked up laughing. Suddenly milk spurted out of her nose and got me in the face! We both just died.'' Barbara - advertising executive: ''I'd been overseas for a couple of months and was due back just before Valentine's Day. I left it to my boyfriend to organise a nice romantic restaurant. Anyway, we had a really romantic reunion and he picked me up for dinner. He'd booked a table at a steakhouse, forgetting I'm a strict vegetarian.'' Peter - property agent: ''My ex-girlfriend was a good cook but she would always make really lumpy gravy, and it would drive me crazy. One night we were both cooking and she made the gravy to go with the roast beef. I could see she was stuffing it up as usual so I said 'Come on, let me do it, you're hopeless.' This led to a huge fight and she's probably ruining another guy's gravy now.''