Watching cooking competitions on television is my form of armchair exercise. I scream, yell and abuse the umpires like the best of footy fans. Last week, one challenge was to create a menu from Moreton Bay Bugs, oysters and strawberries with the theme of romance. It wouldn't have worked for me. I don't find seafood sexy, hate oysters and strawberries remind me of the Melbourne Cup and champagne hangovers.
The aphrodisiac qualities of food can be imaginary, magic or just plain hopeful. A few have some scientific evidence to back them up. (You didn't think they really meant ROMANCE, did you?) There are lots of suggestions about what works.
The absolutely obvious are those who are suggestive in appearance and supposedly resemble seeds, fertility symbols, genitalia and other body parts. Think asparagus, bananas, figs, snails, oysters and peaches. Stranger still are the body parts of animals. Although they are not usually served for dinner they could be slipped into a pre dinner drink!
Some are tricksters - chilli can make you hot and sweaty and increase your heart rate. Although this could be useful if you need to 'fake it', the risk of chilli ending up somewhere it shouldn't is rather risky.
Bananas, chocolate and honey provide various nutrients that can help the metabolism of hormones, increase stamina and increase serotonin levels to bring on that happy mood. If you added ice cream and a few nuts you could make a banana split - how easy could seduction get?
Honey also has an historical link to fertility. Couples were encouraged to drink honey mead for a month leading up to their marriage. It was a 'honeymoon' to build up their stamina before the big day.
Of course, sexy food will always be a matter of personal preference. Here are a few tips:
What ever you choose for that special meal must look, taste and smell wonderful.
Check for allergies before planning your menu to avoid disaster as emergency rooms are not sexy!
Add some soft lights, gentle music and a beautifully laid table with flowers.
Bribe the children to go out and give the dog a large bone.
Nutritious, small, tasty morsels will titillate the palate.
Eat lightly and drink in moderation. A roast with red wine and steamed pudding will soon find you both snoring on the couch.
Plan on a dessert that can be served cold or at room temperature - if the main meal works its magic, you may not need it until later.
My favourites are a man in an apron cooking for me and sharing something messy. (I also end up snoring on the couch quite a lot!)
I believe that any meal that is planned with care, prepared with love and served to some one special is one of the loveliest gifts we can give each other.
Maybe its time I went back to the kitchen..its less than six months to Valentines Day.