TAWNYA MANION (this article was first published September 4, 2012)
The claim that aphrodisiac foods and spirits increase desire, intensify the capacity for sexual enjoyment, and expand ones appetite for lust lacks proof from dietitians and scientists. Yet, romantic meals repeatedly procure love into people’s lives. Is it the awakening of the sensory faculty that helps people relax and open up to the idea of love? In this month’s column, I want to explore how creating a romantic atmosphere coupled with a healthy lifestyle initiates love at an amorous gathering.
An aphrodisiac spread includes all of the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. Each sensation works with the others to create the perfect atmosphere to inspire romantic love. The act of putting together a meal for the one you desire lets that person know volumes about your feelings for him or her. Therefore, it is important when preparing food for an enchanting get-together to entice each of the senses in order to ensure that everyone that sits at your table experiences the aphrodisiac power intended when each food is served.
There are no rules when creating a meal to entice your lover. The experience is subjective and completely dependent on where you are in your relationship. At first, you might want to actually impress the person you intend to seduce, by fixing a number of ambitious courses served at the dining room table with soft music and lighting, but as time passes you might just want to share time flirting over the stove while you sauté the chicken and he stirs the sauce. Either way, there are countless foods that possess folkloric history in their aphrodisiacal properties. If you combine those foods with the power to promote seductions with those that promote health, any meal can lead to bonding.
When I am trying to impress a special someone with my cooking, I usually serve the hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen. This keeps the atmosphere relaxed. I start with prosciutto wrapped melon, hummus and pita, and a bottle of chilled white wine. Then, when it’s time for the entree, I like to move to the dinner table, where the real dance of seduction begins. To ensure everything remains perfect throughout the meal I light every candle in the house, turn down the lights, lay a white table cloth down on the dining room table, get rid of all the extra chairs, and put a small bouquet of flowers between two plates. For the entree, I like to make Halibut with Provençal Sauce or Chicken with Fig Sauce, sautéed seasonal vegetables, and couscous with toasted pine nuts. And for dessert, I make a pot of coffee that I serve with Baileys and serve it with a plate of figs, ricotta salata, goat cheese, honey, and dates. I include, in my parade of sultry taste sensations, healthy aphrodisiac inspired dishes that come together to form a sensual meal that never fails to get my point across, and I believe it will work for you too.
Each person has his or her own relationship with particular foods. Some woman cannot go a day without chocolate while others delight in figs. Preferences vary from person to person, but its the association and the emotional effects that form the relationship with that particular food item, and whether it has aphrodisiacal effects on that individual depends on the memories they associate with that particular edible. But everyone appreciates a home-cooked meal, so keep cooking – it’s bound to work.
Halibut with Provençal Sauce
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, made into a paste
- ¼ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 1 pound of tomatoes, peeled and deseeded (or a 1/2 jar of crushed tomatoes)
- 8 black olives, pitted
- 2 halibut steaks
- pinch of sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 tbsp. fresh sage, cut into fine pieces
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick ovenproof skillet over medium heat.
Add the yellow onion and fennel to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes.
Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the fennel is tender and the liquid is slightly reduced.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the olives.
Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Arrange the steaks over the red sauce.
Bake the fish and tomatoes for about 17 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the fish is cooked to your liking.
Sprinkle sage over the dish just before serving.