MATT PRE­STON In praise of sexy foods.

If the way to a per­son’s heart is through their stom­ach, these foods may be the way to some­thing a bit fur­ther south. Here are my dirty dozen aphrodisiacs

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - MATT PRE­STON

I BE­LIEVE every day should be Valen­tine’s Day – we should be eat­ing sexy food all the time. So, here’s my patented randy shop­ping list*. All the foods listed here have aphro­disiac prop­er­ties and there are more than enough to fill your pantry each week.

Al­monds: These are linked to some of the great love sto­ries. Sam­son ro­manced Delilah with al­monds (cheap­skate!), Alexan­dre Du­mas, au­thor of The Count Of Monte Cristo, dined on al­mond soup every night be­fore bed­ding his mistress and tra­di­tional In­dian medicine says al­monds awaken sex­ual de­sire.

While you are in the nuts aisle, pick up some pis­ta­chios, se­same seeds that are rich in vi­ta­min E (a good thing when it comes to the bed­room) and pine nuts. All claim to enhance li­bido. As­para­gus: Great 17th cen­tury herbal­ist Ni­cholas Culpeper wrote that as­para­gus “stir­reth up bod­ily lust in man or woman (what­so­ever some have writ­ten to the con­trary)”. This may be be­cause it is loaded with vi­ta­min E (also known as the “sex vi­ta­min”) which is cred­ited by some as hav­ing es­tro­genic, an­dro­genic and pro­ges­terone-like prop­er­ties.

Plus as­para­gus is long and skinny which was the hall­mark of any­thing sexy in the Mid­dle Ages thanks to their doc­trine of sig­na­tures. That said if it looks like a body part, it must be good for that body part. No won­der French grooms ate as­para­gus be­fore their wed­ding night. Av­o­ca­dos: Aztecs thought av­o­ca­dos in­creased sex­ual pow­ers in part be­cause of the way they hung in pairs on the tree.

The Aztec name, trans­lated from lo­cal Nahu­atl, is “tes­ti­cle tree”. In­ter­est­ingly it has now been proved that av­o­ca­dos contain even more potas­sium than ba­nanas and are high in vi­ta­min E, pos­si­bly jus­ti­fy­ing those claims. Ba­nanas: Potas­sium strength­ens mus­cle con­trac­tions. ’Nuff said. The ba­nana also ben­e­fits from the pre­vi­ously men­tioned doc­trine of sig­na­tures rule. Cel­ery: This is a favourite of male porn stars for – how can I put this del­i­cately – in­creas­ing vol­ume and stay­ing power. Cel­ery is loaded with vi­ta­min E, mag­ne­sium and zinc and some even claim it will make you smell sex­ier to women. Never worked for me but… Chillies: They get the blood pump­ing and heighten sen­si­tiv­ity as well. They are also linked to fir­ing up the plea­sure cen­tres of the brain. Choco­late: Eat­ing it has been linked to cre­at­ing a sense of eu­pho­ria and lov­ing. Aztec ruler Mon­tezuma steeled him­self with a cup of choco­late be­fore re­tir­ing to his harem – pos­si­bly spiked with chilli. Figs: These have fired up pas­sions over the gen­er­a­tions. DH Lawrence’s fa­mous poem, Figs, goes into ex­quis­ite de­tail over the sen­su­al­ity of this fruit.

The “way of the fig” is also an Ital­ian de­scrip­tion of the road to Hell, which is far more sala­cious than a “road paved with good in­ten­tions” that plays on the sim­i­lar­ity between the word for “fig” and a slang word for a woman’s “pri­vates”.

Cer­tainly figs stuffed with soft, white mould cheese and baked wrapped in pro­sciutto was al­ways my “lucky dish”. Or should that be “get lucky” dish. Oys­ters: Ever since 2nd cen­tury Ro­man poet Ju­ve­nal made a joke about their saucy prop­er­ties, oys­ters have been seen as li­bido en­hancers. They are loaded with zinc, linked to testos­terone pro­duc­tion. Pineap­ples: His­tor­i­cally used as a cure for im­po­tence, pineap­ple has also found bed­room fame for mak­ing ev­ery­thing taste bet­ter – and we mean ev­ery­thing… Rice: It may seem un­likely, but an­cient In­dian sex man­ual, The Kama Su­tra, rec­om­mends eat­ing a bowl of rice be­fore bed. I sup­pose it’s no dif­fer­ent than telling to­day’s top ath­letes to carb-load. Vanilla: This spice is cred­ited with stim­u­lat­ing nerves and mak­ing you more sen­si­tive to em­braces. Its name also has a dou­ble mean­ing in Latin (you’ll have to look that up for your­self), dou­bling its sauci­ness.

Just between us, none of these work as well as love, re­spect and stim­u­la­tion that comes from a good mind. Espe­cially if all that is wrapped up in – as my son calls it – a “tight rig”. Just sayin’... *Re­mem­ber that past per­for­mance is no in­di­ca­tor of fu­ture per­for­mance, that re­sults may vary from per­son to per­son and that things can fluc­tu­ate up or down – which I sup­pose is the whole idea! For even more sexy food­stuffs, see the ex­tended list at delicious.com.au

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