Recently, I read an interesting article on AOL, by way of Slashfood.com, about how eating a more healthy diet, can lead to a more healthy sexual drive. I never really thought about diet having an affect on one's sexual drive, but then again, I do know that aphrodisiac cooking is as old as time. I have had to make more then a few adjustments this year to my diet, thanks to being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, so while I am trying out new recipes for my general well-being, it could be a lot of fun to also try new things that will affect my more amorous side.
The list of foods and spices, considered to be an aphrodisiac, was interesting to be sure, and there were items on it that I always suspected had a positive influence on mood and drive, such as Chocolate, Nutmeg, avocado, and Ginger, but the surprising items included, Arugula, Asparagus, Deer Antler, Patchouli and Basil. I suppose Basil makes sense...look at how amorous Italian men are. LOL. Fabio...WOW! ;)
Old Tutonic lore says that the scent, and flavor, of vanilla, increases lust. It seems that Xanat, who was the daughter of a spanish fertility goddess, loved a young Tutonic man. When she couldn't marry him, because of her role as a goddess, she had herself turned into a plant that would bring him pleasure and happiness. She became a Vanilla Orchid. The Aztecs and Mayans used the tiny seeds from the orchid plant as a favored ingredient in many of their recipes. According to The Vanilla Company, there are over 150 varieties of vanilla orchid, and only two that are actually used as flavoring for cooking. They also offer some good advice on choosing the right vanilla for your culinary needs.
So ok...vanilla it is! LOL. Last week, while I was at the Conservatory of Flowers, I walked into the Low-Land tropics room to photograph the Amazon water lilies. I barely got the door open, when I saw the most gorgeous orchids I remember seeing, hanging in a small pot just about the water lily tank. It was the vanilla orchid. What a magnificent scent it had. It wasn't an overpowering aroma, but it wasn't what I would call subtle either. I pulled the tiny branch toward me to take in it's aroma, and I could just feel myself go... "mmmmmmmmmm." LOL. Who says vanilla is bland? LOL. I have been looking for just the right recipe to try out this theory of food and libido, and I came across just such a recipe by way of the, FoodNetwork, for, "Vanilla-Almond French Toast with Fancy Fruit Topping & Sweet-n-Smoky Bacon." Sounds perfect for breakfast in bed. :)
I want to do a lot more research into cooking with flowers, and I want to be careful, because not all flowers are digestive friendly. In fact, some are downright dangerous, but when careful, I think they could bring a certain something to a meal with a loved one. I always put a garnish on the plates I serve. Food pleasing to the eye isn't just for holidays you know, and it really isn't any more difficult. It certainly makes dieting, or trying to eat more healthy a lot more interesting. I have all kinds of items such as silk flowers, that I sometimes place next to something simple, like a slice of cake or torte. Frosted citrus fruit can be fun to use as well, but edible flowers sound like they would be a lot more fun. Maybe when I go to Half Moon Bay, later in the week, I will stop in at the orchid nursery, and do a little shopping. :)
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
October 4th, 2006