China Elevator Stories

Falling In Love Over Potato Soup

I invite a co-worker and friends to have dinner at my place in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


One day in early December 2012, I invite my co-worker Y and two friends to my place to eat homemade Austrian potato soup.

I only recently started working in a Chinese advertising agency in Shenzhen and Y had accompanied me the whole day to buy material for making handicrafts.

In the evening, I wonder what else I should cook, when Y suggests to help me out and cook some Chinese dishes. We buy a whole stash of vegetables, tofu and some meat and joke around in the tiny kitchen. Suddenly, Y pauses and says with a seemingly confused look: “There are only two people in my life who I usually agree to cook for.” I look at him cutting vegetables and wait for him to go on. He says: “One is my mother; the other is my girlfriend.” I reply jokingly: “What does that make me – your mother?” He says, still serious: “No, and neither are you my girlfriend.” I know that he’s not in a relationship at the moment and think his being baffled about himself is quite cute.

Falling in Love Over Potato Soup - China Elevator Stories

A bit later we sit at the table and eat a big meal of seven dishes. I’m not very satisfied with the outcome of the potato soup, which is a bit overcooked, but my friends and Y say that it’s really delicious. I’m not sure if I should believe him when he stresses how delicious my homemade potato soup is this evening.

But as I find out later – overcooked or not – he really does seem to like my potato soup. In the last few weeks, more often than not have I heard him say: “I’m craving potato soup.”

The way to a man’s (and a woman’s!) heart really is through his stomach – or, as we would say in German, love goes through the stomach (Liebe geht durch den Magen).

Have you ever fallen in love with someone over food?

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