Who's that famous and highly intelligent TED speaker in the videos above?
Next question: um, what does this have to do with aphrodisiacs...?
Tania's an expert on surprise -- in fact, one could say that she wrote the book on it. For us at FED, she thought she'd raise the bar a little by focusing on one specific subset of the topic: the role, use, and psychology of surprise in creating and sustaining romance.
We at FED are a fairly serious and studious crowd. But, lest you think this whole romance thing will be purely an intellectual exercise, I'm here to tell you that we are going to experience it with multiple senses - er, well, at least through food, that is.
Since time immemorial, people have fantasized about foods and drinks that might spur on romance, love, and the captivation of the affections of one's desired. Any number of elixirs have been proposed over the centuries, due either to their appearance, texture, or other real or imagined properties.
But what if you ate them all at once?
Let's try it! Here's my menu for Surprise & Romance (aphrodisiacs in italics):
Honey whole wheat dinner rolls with pumpkin seeds
Arugula with bananas, strawberries, figs, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds with a pomegranate dressing
Quesadilla with avocado salad
Zchug chili paste
Curried coconut lentil soup with maca
Pasta with creamy basil and pine nuts
Salmon coated with almonds and pecans
Roasted yams and beets with honey
Cinnamon Churros with chocolate coffee sauce
Chocolate Fondue with assorted fruits and whipped cream
Really, all those items are considered aphrodisiacs? In case you're curious for the backstory, here is the stated rationale for a select few:
Avocado: Sensuous. Soft. Who wouldn't think it's an aphrodisiac? The Aztec name for it, ahuacuatl, actually references a certain body part which it resembles (look it up). In the 1920s, an advertising campaign launched by American avocado growers denied its aphrodisiac properties in an attempt to wield the power of risque suggestion (advertising then having left just slightly more to the imagination than today...).
But is it true? Avocados are rich in nutrients including beta carotene, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and protein -- all essential to proper sexual health.
Maca: A fleshy root like ginger, maca is a hardy plant that grows high in the Andes where few plants can survive. Ancient Incan shepherds noticed that, when they fed the root to their livestock, it improved their health and fertility. Legend has it that Incan warriors ate maca to improve their stamina in battle, but that was later prohibited because it put conquered women in jeopardy of assault due to their heightened libido. Modern-day scientists have put this ancient wisdom to the test (in the laboratory rather than the battlefield). Studies have indeed demonstrated enhanced sexual desire, function and energy in groups as diverse as British bicycle racers and Australian post-menopausal women.
But is it true? While the scientific studies on humans are not on a large enough scale to be definitive, results thus far are encouraging!
Pomegranate: "Your lips are like a thread of scarlet, and your mouth is comely; your temples are like a pomegranate split open behind your veil." This beautiful verse from Song of Songs (4:3) is but one example of how, throughout time, the pomegranate has appeared as a romantic symbol in poetry, mythology, and folklore. Let's see... has many seeds... sometimes credited (or blamed) for being the Forbidden Fruit of the Bible... the symbol of Aphrodite... yup, that will do for an aphrodisiac!
But is it true? A small study by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh found that drinking pomegranate juice daily lowered cortisol levels, which can lead to increased testosterone. Did I mention that the study was funded in part by the brand Pomegreat? Hmm... The quest for the perfect aphrodisiac continues!
RSVP here to join us for FED on Monday, October 26!