Food with effect |

Food with effect

Cassie Pence
AP PhotoBanque Titi prepares a plate of oysters at his raw bar in New Orleans. A government plan targeting raw oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico could force Titi and other oyster lovers to forgo their favorite delicacy. Summer oysters pick up a deadly bacterium known as Vibrio vulnificus, which is blamed for between 30 and 35 deaths a year in the United States. The federal government is pressuring the four biggest Southern oyster-producing states _ which account for more than half of the nation's oysters _ to cut the number of contaminated raw oysters or face restrictions ranging from costly processing treatments to shutting down the harvest entirely.

The quickest way to a man’s heart, or woman’s for that matter, is through the stomach. Some foods, however, are faster than others.Since Adam and Eve, food has been used as an effective medium to increase sexual arousal. Edible aphrodisiacs were first sought out as a remedy for various sexual anxieties, including fears of inadequate performance or to increase fertility. Today, people are still eating their way into an enhanced libido. The practice’s longevity just proves how effective food’s love powers can be.”Aphrodisiacs fall into three categories. First there is chemical composition, foods that alter the body, hormones in particular. Second are foods with phallic shapes. And third is myth, like grapes, because of Cleopatra and Marc Antony,” local chef David Sanchez said. Sanchez has been studying aphrodisiac foods for the past six years. He finds the topic fascinating and extremely successful.

Oysters are the king of edible aphrodisiacs They contain high levels of zinc, which stimulates hormones. Their arousal properties were documented by the Romans in the second century AD in a satire by Juvenal. He described the wanton ways of women after ingesting wine and eating oysters.Asparagus is a common one because of its phallic shape and its high levels of chlorophyl. Sanchez said any kind of “green” can help with oxygenating the blood, which promotes physical health and gets you up and going. The Aztecs compared avocados hanging in pairs on a tree to male genitalia, which is why this tasty fruit has a sensual reputation. When creating a meal to stimulate, Sanchez said he sometimes uses Yohimbe, an African tree bark, which was given to newlyweds to enhance sexual performance. It’s broken down into a powder to be smoked or made into tea. It can be purchased at health food stores, like GNC in Avon or Freshies in Edwards.

“It’s extremely potent. I use it in a very, very controlled way, like as a garnish along the rim of the plate,” Sanchez said.La Tour’s Owner and Executive Chef Paul Ferzacca is a firm believer in aphrodisiac foods. He’s created a three- to four-course Aphrodite’s menu for Valentine’s Day today using all foods known for their love potions.”That is how I caught the love of my life, cooking an aphrodisiac dinner for Lourdes. They definitely work. I have three kids to prove it,” Ferzacca said.

For the dessert course, he has created a banana split for two with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, Kahlua fudge sauce, caramel sauce, pineapple compote, Chantilly cream, candied walnuts, chocolate dipped strawberries and white chocolate covered maraschino cherries. It’s a boat load of edible arousals. In addition to the spark-flying shapes of bananas, strawberries and cherries, bananas are rich in potassium and vitamin B, essential for sex hormone production.”For the most part, aphrodisiacs play all in our minds. Once the idea is brought into play, it gets the mind stimulated,” said Sanchez.Delling Zing, owner of Freshies, a living foods organic market in Edwards, said there’s lots of well-known foods that you can use for an aphrodisiac.

“If you like a certain food, it appeals to your senses, and of course it’s going to turn you on. Like chocolate. It gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling,” Zing said.He also recommends essential oils as a great tool to inspire amore.”Smell can trigger pretty amazing things. Vanilla is an emotional trigger. It’s a scent that both genders find stimulating. It makes you feel good, safe and comfortable, which is the key to intimacy,” Zing said.

Food is a natural pleasure-sense enhancer, but the key to romance is to cook from the heart. Like in the film “Water For Chocolate,” where everything the protagonist felt while cooking traveled into the food, if you’re injecting emotion into the meal, you’re special guest will definitely taste it.”Anyone can create an aphrodisiac food purely by putting something passionate behind it. A poem that goes with the dish made from the heart, for example, it really does transcend into it,” Sanchez said.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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