By Jimmy Polinori — The Culinary Composer
Lovers who want to get into the mood for Valentine’s Day know that aphrodisiacs can help spice things up after dinner. An aphrodisiac, as we use the term today, is something that inspires lust.
Aphrodisiac recipes have been cooked up throughout the world for millennia. In Europe, up to the 18th century, many recipes were based on the theories of the Roman physician Galen, who wrote that foods worked as aphrodisiacs if they were “warm and moist.”
Galen’s theories were not the only basis for concocting aphrodisiacs. Mandrake root was eaten as an aphrodisiac and as a cure for female infertility because the forked root was supposed to resemble a woman’s thighs. This was based on an arcane philosophy called the “doctrine of signatures.” Oysters may have come to be known as an aphrodisiac only by their resemblance to female genitals. Few old medical texts listed oysters as an aphrodisiac, although literary allusions to that use are plentiful.
And though it is true that physicians and scientists have expressed their theories on passion igniting cuisine throughout history, the heaviest influence comes from Greek mythology. Aphrodite, from whose name, of course, “aphrodisiac” is derived, was thought to have held sparrows sacred. The ancient Greeks thought sparrows were especially lustful, so they would consume the brains as an aphrodisiac.
Thankfully, more palatable aphrodisiacs have been introduced since ancient Greece. Here are just seven sensual ingredients to get your engines purring. Find corresponding recipes on my Facebook fan page: Facebook.Com/TheCulinaryComposer.
In ancient Rome, women kept sprays of lavender next to their beds as a way to arouse their mate’s senses.
Casanova, one of the world’s most famous womanizers, is said to have indulged in 50 oysters daily. Rich in zinc, they can help boost testosterone levels and libido.
Visually, the fig’s status as eye candy is questionable: Does it represent the male or the female? But one bite into a ripe g and there’s no question that this fruit is nature’s own candy.
Nothing’s too good for your sweetie, so splurge on whole vanilla beans. If you don’t want to scrape the pods, use vanilla bean paste which is more economical and just as tasty.
Sticky, sweet, and sensuous, honey contains natural sugars that can give you a fast energy boost for those
Trump the old saying “chocolate is better than sex” by simply combining the two. And, with its boastful amount
of antioxidants, this sweet treat is healthy in small amounts.
Find recipes using these ingredients at Facebook.Com/TheCulinaryComposer.
Tags: aphrodisiacs, Aphrodite, Brain Food, dark chocolate, figs, Galen, genitals, Greece, honey, Jimmy Polinori, lavender, libido, oysters, pomegranate, Rome, The Culinary Composer, Valentine's Day, vanilla