TAWNYA MANION (this article was first published in October 2012)
The most infamous aphrodisiacal food item known to man, the oyster, has been pegged an erotic edible as far back as ancient Greek times. The Greeks envisioned the goddess Aphrodite as a beautiful woman rising out of the sea on top of an oyster shell while giving birth to her son, Eros. Simultaneously, the concept of the word “aphrodisiac” was born. Galen of Pergamon, the second century philosopher and physician, prescribed oysters as a cure for impotence and lack of sexual desire in both the males and females. The Romans noted the mollusk’s potent power of sexual persuasion by setting richly laden tables of asparagus, snails, oysters, and ostrich brains to procure the parties guests to partake in the evenings unrestrained sexual activity. But behind the anecdotal evidence of this international delicacy lies a nutritional content that equates to fantastic amorous results.
Oysters contain copious amounts of zinc, which aids the body in testosterone and sperm production. However, for the average red-meat eating person, consuming a dozen oysters is not the answer to why they possess such a bawdy reputation.
Research shows that the true aphrodisiac power of the oyster relies on its dopamine content. Dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter, assists in the brain’s capacity to produce a pleasure feeling all throughout the body. Furthermore, this brain chemical provokes sexual interest and triggers responses, while ameliorating performance in both sexes.
Oysters are not considered aphrodisiacs based on their mineral content alone but their resemblance to the female sex organ and the sheer fact that these slippery little mollusks are rapid reproducers. The last piece of the puzzle to why oysters possess passion-producing properties is due to the practice of swallowing the animal whole while it is still alive. To understand this concept we must look at Chinese medicine which is based on the concept of chi: the imperceptible life force that gives vivacity to all living things, and when we consume a living eatable we directly benefit from its chi. Generally, the food we eat doesn’t possess any chi because it vanishes when the fare is killed or harvested, but oysters are fleshy, jiggly bombs of chi, which explains the substantial burst of energy that eating these mollusks on the half shell provides. When you down a dozen oysters the surge of amenity takes over giving you the energy to want to run a marathon or pin your lover to the wall in a seductive embrace. Perhaps the gush we feel is a interim detonation of chi spreading through-out the body nourishing the entire self.
- An oyster shucker at work at Casamento’s Oyster Bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. By Brad Coy CC-BY-2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
How to Shuck an Oyster
- Identify the hinge of the oyster (the pointed end).
- Hold the oyster in a folded kitchen towel and wiggle the knife into the hinge.
- Keep the knife pressed against the top shell and pull your knife towards you.
- Once you have cut the upper adductor muscle, remove the top shell.
- Slide your knife under the meat and cut the bottom adductor muscle.
- Serve cold with Champagne.