Aphrodisiacs - The Food Of Love Wasn't Always, Well, So Appetizing!
Food Glorious Food or Not!
Food has always been an aphrodisiac. These days we eat Oysters and drink Champagne to make our juices, well, flow.
But back in the deep dark annals of history, the food of love was slightly different. Let's just say that if we were given these tokens of love today, we would probably look at the person in astonishment. Food and romance go together. Or do they?
For example, if an ancient Greek knocked on your door with the udder of a hyena tied round his left arm you would be disgusted. But back then the guy would be confident that no girl would be able to resist him!
If this failed to warm the ardor then he could work a still more powerful love magic with a calf's brain or hair from a wolfs tail. Then he would add snake bones, or the feathers from a screech owl! I am sure the women thought he was wonderful!
Throughout the ages, both sexes have sought love by using a potion. Women of ancient Rome brewed up concoctions that were so strong they were said to be dangerous. And they were soon made illegal!
The poet, Lucretius and others, were said to be driven mad by one of these potions. And it wasn't mad with love!
Even Emperors fell foul of these dastardly women. Or maybe they really thought it would work. The Emperor Caligula was thrown into a fit by a potion made by his wife in an effort to retain his affection. Seems she went too far!
There is no record of the actual recipe for the potion, but it was clearly poisonous so its probably a good thing it wasn't documented.
Back in 400BC, in the Harems of Constantinople and Egypt, cakes were made from asses milk and honey. This is similar to the Witches or Pagans recipe of today.
In fact this is where the word Honeymoon came from. The cakes were eaten after a wedding, or jumping of the broom as they called it.
How many people today go on their honeymoon knowing that they should have eaten honey cakes? No, not many!
Back then it was Hippocrates who recommended the cakes as healthy, and a great aphrodisiac. Hippocrates was the Father of Medicine. So he may well have been onto something there.
Of course many of the old love potions and food were made from herbs and flowers and gathered on Midsummer's Eve.
The plant known as mandrake and woman-drake, was said in the Bible to have the qualities of both a fertility drug and an aphrodisiac.
In the book of Genesis, the records say that Rachel who had no children, bargained with Leah for some of her mandrake which she believed would help her get pregnant.
The mandrake is a Southern European plant that was said to have magical properties due to its shape. It has greenish yellow flowers, and a branched root. As it resembles the shape of the human body people believed that it was a healthy remedy for infertility.
In fact, the root of the Mandrake plant contains the poisonous alkaloid hyoscyamine which increases heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Its actually used in medicine these days to help patients with peptic ulcers, colic, and some heart problems.
Too much causes hallucinations and medical problems.
The Amorous Tomato and Phallic Bread!
The ancient Greeks used to bake their bread in phallic form! They believed that it would give them prowess in love. Grapes were also a favorite too. And the Romans also believed in the power of grapes.
Eggs were also eaten for this reason purely because of the connection between procreation and new life.
Even the good old potato had its day. When it was first brought over to Spain in 1534, it is said that the cost was £250 a pound. Purely as a love food and not for gastronomy.
The tomato has had a strange history. For centuries it was called pomme d'ore or golden apple. But this was soon changed to pomme d'amour, apple of love.
In England, tomatoes were frowned upon purely because of their connection to the more amorous side of passion. According to the Puritans, tomatoes were said to be poisonous and were banned for over 200 years!
Luckily in 1830 sense returned and the good old tomato was put back where it belonged, on the table of rich people to be eaten as plain old wholesome food.
All Those Foods To Get You In The Mood!
Thank goodness these days it just takes a bottle of wine, a meal in a restaurant and maybe a couple of Oysters, well, perhaps not those slimy Oysters but you get the point!
Back then in the good old days we had to be careful what we ate to get us or our partners in the mood for lurve!
The one thing I can never understand is why do we need food to make us feeling amorous? I think it's a purely psychological idea that gives us the feeling of being closer to the person we are with. Maybe the routine of eating, chatting and laughing makes us relax more.
If we want an aphrodisiac its said that chocolate is probably one of the best. That will do for me! And of course a large bottle of wine will go down nicely too.
(c) copyright nell rose
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