Some date-safe foods, on the other hand, include pizza and burgers, according to a survey

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SWNS Food Date
Credit: SWNS

Half of foodie-loving Americans believe a first date should always involve a meal — but won't risk eating messy foods until the fourth date.

A study of 3,000 U.S. adults found 40% look for someone who is passionate about cuisine as a potential partner, while 38% admitted they're put off by fussy eaters.

More than four in 10 (43%) even said being a good cook is a turn-on when it comes to finding a suitor.

The research also revealed the most popular ways of involving cuisine on a date — dining out (43%), having takeout (31%) and going to food festivals (31%).

Meals deemed to be date-safe by Americans include pizza (24%), burgers (21%) and salad (21%). Meanwhile, the dishes most likely to be avoided on a first date include oysters (19%), mussels (18%) and sushi (17%).

Desserts such as chocolate brownies (16%) and apple pie (15%) are also considered to be risk-free.

Commissioned by St Pierre and conducted by OnePoll, the study found it typically takes four dates before those polled are comfortable enough to eat a risky meal in front of a prospective partner.

It seems the biggest foodies are based in ​the Southeastern states, with 56% feeling passionate about a first date always including food, while 55% of residents there said knowing someone is a good cook is a turn-on — more than any other region.

It also emerged that 83% have gone on a breakfast or brunch date at one time or another — with a quarter revealing this to be their preferred time to dine out on a date.

Forty-five percent think going for brunch helps keep the atmosphere relaxed, and 28% believe it's more romantic than any other meal.

​Adults in the West (38%), Midwest (33%) and Northeast (34%) are most likely to opt for a brunch date over any other mealtime.

And should love blossom, the ideal meal for meeting the in-laws for the first time is a salad (25%), while having a burger is the go-to for the first meal in a new home (28%).

For a marriage proposal, the meal of choice is steak (27%) — although this is also the most popular dish to have when breaking up with someone (23%).

​Those in the Northeast are most likely to order a salad on a first date, while the go-to meal for residents of the Northwest region is a steak and those in the West would go for burgers or pizza.

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The study also found it takes six weeks of dating someone before it's seen as "acceptable" to steal food off their plate.

Thirteen percent said they would be annoyed if someone tried this on a first meeting. Yet 17% admitted they would be impressed by such an audacious move.

Two in five (43%) wouldn't say anything if someone they'd just started dating served a meal that they didn't like. In fact, it typically takes around six weeks before respondents will be honest with someone about their cooking.

The study also found 41% have judged a date by the food they ordered when dining out and 45% form their opinions based on how a suitor eats — chewing loudly and eating messily.

Just as many (41%) revealed they would judge a date if they asked for a "doggy bag" to take home any leftovers.