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Playing with food

Foods for Romance

by Ano Puchalski, staff writer


If you’re looking to make Valentines Day last a bit longer, then get in the mood for romantic food this month. After all, it’s been said that “the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” But not to worry guys, these foods will work on the ladies as well.


According to Gail Frank, a professor of nutrition at California State University–Long Beach, “Eating is a process of entering into the body and feeling joyful and fulfilled. It’s sexual.” Frank, who’s also a registered dietician and American Dietetic Associations spokeswomen, added: “We can create a sexual essence with our partners across the table with food.”

Some movies exaggerate the romantic reactions someone would normally have from eating certain foods. Consider Chocolat’, starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche; for example; or Water for Chocolate, a Spanish film written by Laura Esquivel and directed by Alfonso Arau; or Simply Irresistible, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar who plays a chef who creates food which causes people to fall in love.

Yes, some responses are obvious: consider the reaction someone has to a hot pepper or when biting into a lemon. But responses can also be more subtle. Frank explains that it isn’t just the flavor of something that gets us going, but also the shape, color, and texture of particular foods. For example, consider the traditionally phallic associations of bananas or grapes.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine suggests that if we’re searching for simple ways to spice up our sex life, we should “try looking in the refrigerator.”

Here are six tongue teasers to tantalize our taste buds and stimulate romance.

· Oysters – These shellfish are high in protein and contain components like selenium and zinc, which are minerals that help build up sexual hormones. Frank cautions that oysters from particular areas may contain high levels of pollutants like PCB and that women who are pregnant should not eat oysters. (Recommended serving size: 3.5 ounces shelled.)

· Papaya and Kiwi – The colors are what catches the eye, the flavor is what catches your mouth. Tropical fruits like these are packed with antioxidants that help ward off heart disease and cancer. Kiwi is rich in vitamin C, and papaya is high in beta-carotene and soluble fiber. Frank suggests dipping them in melted dark chocolate. (Recommended serving size: 1 papaya/1 kiwi)

· Honey – In medieval times this sweet syrup was mixed into drinks and used by some to seduce lovers on their honeymoon ( Honey is high in glycemic index and should be consumed in moderation. (Recommended serving size: 1 tablespoon.)

· Chocolate – This sweet treat has been a symbol of love for centuries, thus the reason we give and receive boxes of chocolate on anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentines Day. Chocolate contains a brain stimulant known as theobromine which induces a pleasurable effect. Chocolate also contains antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. (Recommended serving size: 1.45 ounces of dark chocolate.)

· Asparagus – Frank says feeding yourself or someone else a phallic-shaped asparagus creates a sexual atmosphere. Asparagus contains vitamin E, and it’s a natural diuretic. Frank suggests steaming and eating them with your fingers. (Recommended serving size: 7 spears, ½ in. thick, cooked.)

· Coffee, Tea, and Caffeinated Drinks – Caffeine causes the release of epinephrine which energizes the whole body. Small amounts of caffeine are also found in chocolate. Ever get a headache after eating too much chocolate? This may be the reason. “Too much caffeine before bed can keep you awake long after the fun has ended,” said Frank. Caffeine should also be consumed in moderation. (Recommended serving size: 1 cup.)

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