A bottle of red, a torn baguette, a slab of cheese, crumbled sheets, and laughter. The act of seduction is complete. The scene is simple and the ingredients are bare. Step it up a notch with baked fish and herbs, threads of saffron, a squirt of wine and the juice of a lemon. Handmade linguine slurped in unison or a lobster torn apart and then devoured. Simpler still, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over a voluptuous avocado. Pick anything with dark chocolate and you’re on your way to euphoria.
Consider the sensualists through the times. Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed daily in milk and honey, the nectar of Aphrodite. A luxury even for an indulgent queen considering the ingredients came directly from the source. Marilyn Monroe favoured caviar and angel cake. You get the feeling that Casanova knew a thing or two about food, particularly oysters. Nigella knows how to work her whisk along with some gratuitous spoon licking and cleavage spilling. Hamming it up in the kitchen was not lost on The Naked Chef himself and although he insisted it was the ingredients that were in the buff, woman all over tuned in to perv. As raw as Gordon Ramsey can be, it’s easy to imagine his bad boy image extends to the boudoir. Anthony Bourdain, the George Clooney of the food world, was once asked what he would cook to seduce someone and he answered, “Breakfast…the night after you’ve had your way with her.” Food may have been a means to an end but what an exciting journey?
Among other activities or substances, aphrodisiacs pique amorous desire. Although it’s questionable about the sexual effectiveness of natural aphrodisiacs, the prospect of enjoying a meal with your lover is titillating nonetheless; and certainly more enticing and healthier than popping a little blue pill. The health benefits of eating nutritional foods, ingredients as close to the source as possible, and a regular sex life are unanimous. Warming foods like chilli and ginger raise the body temperature, as does basil which is known to alleviate headaches, that universal excuse for avoiding intimacy. Oysters are very high in zinc and amino acids, and it’s believed to raise testosterone. Zinc can also be found in almonds (almond blossoms are the international symbol of fertility), eggs, and prawns. Those ubiquitous asparagus spears with melted garlic butter are shafts bursting with potassium, vitamins and folic acid, which promote healthiness and attractiveness.
Unlike more obvious forms of erotica, partaking in aphrodisiacs is a complete sensorial journey. The sensation of taste knows the five flavours of sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness and savouriness. Indulge in the sweetness of forbidden fruits, honey, and chocolate. Saltiness is produced by the presence of sodium and examples are caviar, cured meats, and sauces like soya. Relish in the bitterness of coffee, cocoa, and olives, and the sourness of lemon, vinegar, and pickles. Savouriness, also known as umami, can be experienced in meat, cheese, mushroom and truffles.
Eating is about stimulating not only the taste buds, but all the senses. What could be sexier than watching your lover rub marinade into a fleshy piece of meat donned only in an apron? The truffle, a black diamond in the rough, has a scent as unique as that emanating from excitable skin. Extend the life of your truffle by storing your treasure in a glass container with rice and eggs exuding the musky flavour when cooked. The giddy scent of rosemary on a warm day is intoxicating, and the comforting smell of fragrant jasmine rice can have a relaxing affect. The texture and sight of an oyster is enough to make a modest girl blush and sliding this quivering jewel done one’s throat is a sure fire way to move the meal along. As will the moans of enjoyment of the meal, accompanied with mood music and witty conversation. Partake in some sensory deprivation and blindfold your partner and make them guess the foods that you feed them.
Forget about complicated recipes, cooking gymnastics or the culinary Kama Sutra. Improvise, it’s like making love. After all, sex is food for the soul and needs nourishment. Explore, discover and re-invent new ways of preparing food. This is no time to be monogamous, polygamy should be king in the kitchen. Your tools of the trade take on the status of marital aides, albeit macabre sounding. An oyster shucker, a truffle slicer, a juice squeezer (nothing less than manual), and relish in the sensation of grinding your own spices in mortar and pestle. Experiment with the saucy sounding gspout, an innovative invention of a pouring spout, which slots into a bowl to prevent drips and drizzles.
Moving onto kitchen attire, there are more fun aprons than you can imagine and rubber gloves can take on a new realm of their own. Of course heels and anything little and lacy ensures you’re halfway there. This applies mainly to the ladies and to the adventurous. A drab dining room can be transformed with candles or a picnic in bed will plant the seed of desire.
Food is as essential as oxygen and what could be more symbolic than the source of life than an egg? A soft boiled egg oozes goodness and a dollop of caviar takes it to a new level. Scramble your eggs as though they are your sheets. Get fancy and slide a quail egg between your lips. Guzzling a raw egg just before relations is supposed to increase the libido. And then there’s caviar, the ultimate decadence consumed in a single heady swallow.
Bite on a prawn slathered in cocktail sauce, or mushrooms in cream and lemon, or a supple scallop, or the most naked of foods, sushi. Savour the buttery texture of foie gras, mood enhancing abalone, or get tactile and share a platter of saucy nibbles, or turn that picnic into a tumble in the grass. Share a shapely banana packed with nutrition or gnaw on a crisp apple that not even Eve couldn’t resist. The resemblance of figs to female genitalia is uncanny, not to mention high in iron, and mangoes are believed to increase libido and what could be sweeter? Saffron is associated with rituals of beauty and love.
Go the full monty with mains of a bouillabaisse bubbling with passion, sweeten your date with Mexican chicken mole, or be suggestive with a slip of the tongue with a Coq Au Vin. Osso Bucco will warm your soul, as does a lamb roast with all trimmings; unless, you’re trying to impress a vegetarian. Try curried vegetables, or a wild mushroom risotto or a cold rissoni pasta salad with prawns or a substitute. Get exciting with a salad of seasonal produce, a hearty soup or a fondue of cheese, vegetables, or chocolate.
Success is guaranteed with strawberries dipped in chocolate or good old vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy the visual theatrics of crepes Suzette or borrow cupid’s arrow to pierce the outer crust of a chocolate fondant and marvel it’s the gooey insides. A peach crumble might sound staid but it’s easily prepared beforehand. Popped in the oven, peach wafts through the house, leaving you plenty of time to spend with your dinner guest, or guests depending on your persuasion.
Pop goes the champagne and demands to be consumed in one session. Champagne or sparkling wine has connotations of special occasions, ensuring your perspective lover feels all bubbly, regardless of the label. Alcohol pumps blood to all corners and crevices of the body, bringing a flush to the cheeks, and best enjoyed in moderation or it could have the opposite effect on libido. If you don’t have the opportunity to cook, inviting someone you fancy for “coffee” not only has suggestive connotations but has stamina-enhancing abilities.
You’ve proved your worth in the kitchen thanks to the meal’s simplicity. So impressed with your confidence, your guest succumbs to the finale. The seduction is such a success that it lasts until the next day. Whether you presumptuously prepared for a breakfast feast or not, it’s time to get busy in the kitchen. Mix it up with some fruit salad or revert to a boiled egg and toast. Surely you have the ingredients in the cupboard to whip up some pancakes? If nothing else, serve them the coffee you may have seduced them with in the first place, in bed naturally. A happy ending was had all round, sorry but it had to be said.
If you want to get tactile with this piece grab a copy of Craving’s edition of Mood Food: Spring 2010 from selected Australian newsagencies or contact Cravings http://www.cravingsmagazine.com.au/