06 February 2008

The Road to Love is Paved with Dead Shellfish

Saul Bellow once noted that writers are their own aphrodisiacs. Be that as it may, even the Humboldts among us find need on occasion to employ nature’s best seducers, mythic herbs, and sympathetically magical objets de l'amour.

From now until Valentine's Day, we here at LTSRP will be giving advice culinary and otherwise on food and the art of love and how to be more cusiniaphrodizzying.

First bit of info:

Two purported lust-igniters are privy to any discussion of practical seduction. First is the oft-mentioned Spanish Fly. Known alternatively as ‘Cantharides’ or ‘Blister Beetles’, these minced insects are mostly used in livestock breeding and are known to cause great pain when ingested by humans. Has something to do with their tendency to tear up the urinary tract. Ohh, how sexy!

A bit less severe is Yohimbine, an alkaloid sucked from the bark of an African tree that purports to be the natural man’s Viagra. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying out whatever nature has to offer; but where’s the romance in cattle breeding and tree bark?

A safer bet rests with the classic culinary aphrodisiacs. And nothing says passion like potentially fatal bottom-feeders...

Oysters have been considered a fleshy bit of magic based on looks; some varieties even play sexual ID games: Ostrea edulis manages to flip its sex from male to female and back again depending on the season. Kinky trick, but perhaps not for all of us.

Caviar has long been considered more than just salty fish roe. The rare and heady golden eggs of the little sterlet fish were once so prized that you would have had to have been seduced by the Tsar to taste them. Imperial swagger notwithstanding, caviar is high in zinc content which possibly produces slight elevations in testosterone. Nonetheless, the amount of caviar one would need to consume to gain the benefit would likely gross out any worthy object of desire.

Rounding out the sex magnets of the sea is the pufferfish. Known as fugu in Japan, buyer beware: though believed to be a substantive aphrodisiac, the fish also produces tetraodontoxin in its glands. Mis-cook it and you’ll be cruising among the dead.

Have any sea-borne aphrodisiacs up your sleeve? Sexy Sea Monkeys? Exotic urchins?

Lay 'em on us. In the meantime, bone up on yr Jacques Cousteau. Because tomorrow, we're headed way underwater.

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