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Archive for the ‘Debbie Does Research’ Category

…just not on this blog.  I’ve been writing my book.  Seriously…I’ve been writing a couple hours a night and I’m almost finished the first chapter.  Between writing and research for the book, and work and real life, I haven’t had time to update this little thingy.

But don’t worry.

I have several things I have to talk about which I will get to this week.  I promise.  Here they are, just to tease you and make you check in:

  1. I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance that infuriated me.  It’s about love, sex, and marriage.
  2. My heart is a whore and I’m trying very hard to learn how to be different.  I will explain.
  3. The sale of the deceased old lady next door’s things.  The yardsale is this coming weekend.  I’m emotional about it.

I will also try to catch up on all of your blogs.  I haven’t been reading anything.  I’m such a bad blogger.

Talk to you all soon.

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Ah, I just got out of a very hot bath and I’m totally relaxed.

I have random retardedness to talk about, so here it goes:

  1. The construction guy that I’ve had a crush on for months was checking me out.  At least, that’s what I was told today.  He was waiting for the train and my stomach clenched when I saw him.  I got all kinds of nervous and ran to the next car.  He gets off at the same stop as I do, so I summoned my balls and walked slow so that maybe I could smile at him.  Yeah, I know.  Smile.  Very very forward.  Anyhow, I was walking in front of him and was told that he was totally checking me out with a smile on his face.  Maybe I’ll get the courage to talk to him sometime.  But, I’m so out of practice that I have no idea what to say.  How about “Hey, I’d love to be your blowjob queen” or “I need a good spanking” or “I give good anal”.  I know, those are really archaic and prudish.  Maybe I’ll start with a simple smile and a hello.  I’ll wait until we’re dating for a while before I go all old-fashioned on him like that.
  2.  I’m having a love affair with mushrooms that is epic and awe inspiring.  I could make a different mushroom dish each day and be happy.  Nay…I could eat the same mushroom dish every day and still be happy because it has mushrooms in it.
  3. The forest of Endor is currently residing on my legs and I’m not removing it until the weather gets warmer or I go on a fucking date.
  4. I love the new show New Amsterdam.  That’s all.
  5. I’ve lost 32 lbs since the beginning of January.  I’m working out 5 days a week and plan on running my first mini-marathon in a few months.  Bellydancing is still a lot of fun and I’m practicing yoga.
  6. The last Harry Potter movie will be split in two and I’m happier than a grown woman should be.
  7. I need some ideas for books to read.  Bring the recommendations on.
  8. Is it bad that I was so engrossed in a romance novel I picked up at the laundry mat the other night that I couldn’t put it down to go to bed?  Yeah, I thought so.  Pathetic.
  9. There is a huge billboard on the side of one of the roads near my house that features a woman on the toilet making a horrible face and the words “IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?”  If there wasn’t so much traffic I would have stopped and took a picture.  The best billboard ever.
  10. All of this religious text reading gives me a headache.  I have so much to say that I’m having trouble making sense of my frantic notes and putting everything in some kind of comprehensible paragraph.  All I have to say is that all roads from the garden are leading to more than just the Abrahamic religions.  I’m talking about deep reading into all kinds of texts that were written before the Old Testament.  I know that this isn’t a surprise to those of you who know something about history and human kind, but this study could seriously be a life’s journey.  I’m so fucking fascinated, challenged, humbled, and horrified by what I’m reading in all of these texts…especially the famous ones like The Old Testament and Qu’ran.  The politics and propaganda contained in these stories are amazing.  If there is indeed one almighty god out there, he is embarrassed and ashamed of us for writing these stories in his name.  The stories are so ridiculously human that I find it absolutely appalling that after several millennia of existence, people are still allowing themselves to be governed by a bunch of stories and duped by a bunch of people manipulating those stories to fit their own agendas.  Unbelievable.  What does Sophia say about this, I wonder?  You know, the gods didn’t give us humans such big brains if they didn’t want us to use them and question things.  And by things, I mean all things including religion and existence…not just how to turn lightening into managed electric.
  11.  Wish me luck with the construction worker.  I haven’t been this squirrelly around a man in years.  No lie.  I’m fucking skittish, shy, and backward around him.  I want to bite his chin.  Yeah, I’m weird.

Okay, I’m back to watching American Idol and listening to Paula Abdul provide a perfect example of what the opposite of eloquent speech is.  It’s painful, isn’t it?

Kisses..

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I’ve taken on the task of reading the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Qur’an, the Agnostic texts, Who Cooked The Last Supper, The Second Sex, and The Feminine Mystique. I also plan on rereading some other related texts. I’ve read most of these books before and I know that these books overlap and may even be basically the same in some instances, but I feel inspired to read them right now. Just in time for passover, hmm.

It’s interesting that the three major religions, the ones determined to use their God as an excuse to kill and torture and oppress, they all come from the same place. I know that last sentence isn’t exactly full of ground-breaking thought, but I’m interested on a personal level how these texts influence each other and change those who read them. I’m reading these from a historical point of view. From an educated, independent, pagan woman’s point of view. Oh, and my bullshit filter is also running at full blast.

I suppose the reason I want to read this stuff is because I have a lot to say about this God shit and I want to make sure I know my stuff inside and out before I start my rants. I’d love to write a bunch of essays on the subject. It’s fascinating stuff. Seriously. Even the most atheist or anti-organized religion people can’t deny how fascinating this subject matter is. If they do, I question their intelligence and respect for human nature. To know humanity, we have to go to the beginning.

For me, on this little quest of mine, it’s in the garden where supposedly a woman is to blame. Poor stupid Adam duped. I believe that the garden is a story that was part of the political movement that took place to take the life and sensuality and power out of the goddess and put women in their place.

I’m at the end of the Exodus right now in the New Testament. I’m reading the King Jame’s Version, only because I feel like I have to read the oldest version I can. Subtle translation differences can alter all kinds of things, you know. I wish I could read Hebrew. It would make the reading experience more interesting, I think. But, as I’m coming to the end of the Exodus I have to complain about a few things.

  1. Um, how many times does the story have to repeat itself. I know that people in biblical times didn’t have television or internet or Xbox so they had lots of time to sit around listening to stories, but didn’t they get annoyed by the repetition. For crying out loud, I can’t stand it. If they repeat the children of Jacob, or anyone else for that matter, one more time, I was going to scream.
  2. What’s with everyone, by everyone I mean men, feeling emotion in their bowels. Every time I read it, I think they have to poop. I’m not trying to be funny, although it is quite hilarious, but for instance here…Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there…I seriously had to remind myself that Joseph didn’t want to poo on his brother Benjamin.
  3. Begot begot begot begot begot begot begot begot begot begot begot begot. If I never read the word begot again, it will be too soon. Yet, I know I will probably have to read it a thousand more times before the end of this adventure.
  4. Moses gets on my damn nerves. What a complainer! Whine whine whine. Sheesh.
  5. Did I really need to know the length of the curtains for the tabernacle? The description of the tabernacle was so ridiculous I lost my mind a few times. I know it was probably written to be an instruction manual on how to make a tabernacle, but couldn’t it have been a supplemental text rather than part of the story of how the Hebrews got out of Egypt.

So, right now I’m thinking that Abraham is the cause of all of the hate in the world. What if he told Sarah to piss off and kept Ishmael with him? The world would have been so different, probably not better…just different.

A little update: I have received several emails asking me where I was getting this information or what resources I was using. I’d love to share with you all one of the best websites I’ve ever found. They promote religious tolerance and you’ll be amazed at the sheer volume of texts and information you can find there. The only thing I ask is that if you are going to use the site, please give them a donation. They provide all of these texts for us to read FOR FREE and it would be extremely sad if a wonderful resource like this wasn’t available any more. Here is the site: Internet Sacred Text Archive. Enjoy!

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So, I’m in TN and the visit with my aunt is going quite well. To be honest, I can’t wait to get back home. I miss my bed and such.

Christmas as great. I reconciled with my father and sisters, so the holiday was especially nice. My younger sister looks absolutely adorable pregnant. She has that glow. My other sister looks horrible. I wish she’d start taking care of herself, but what can we do. She’s going to live her life the way she wants.

I spent Christmas Eve at my father’s and then Christmas Day at my mom’s. It was exhausting and wonderful. Everyone loved the gifts I bought them and it was so much fun to watch them opening their gifts. I love that part of Christmas. It takes me forever to pick out gifts for people and I just love when I hit it on the head perfectly. I bought my mom a gorgeous silver watch and I couldn’t wait to give it to her. She told me months ago that she wanted one, so all I did was hope that she didn’t buy it for herself. She didn’t.

Of course, I was spoiled as usual. I mostly get things I need, but some surprises were thrown in. I got the following presents:

  • a new digital camera
  • a wok
  • Japanese cooking ingredients
  • a cheese serving set in a Tuscan theme
  • a vacuum
  • house phones
  • clothes
  • gift cards
  • books
  • food processor
  • a deep large skillet
  • makeup
  • closet organizers
  • two beautiful rings
  • a wine rack
  • wine

I think that’s it. I’m totally spoiled and I should be ashamed of myself, but I’m not really. I gave $100 to St. Jude’s and $100 to American Cancer Society for Christmas. I also bought toys for Toys for Tots and I even bought a whole food order for a family in need. I think I did more than most people, so I shouldn’t feel too guilty about the gifts I received.

So, yesterday my mom, my aunt, and I drove an hour to Franklin, TN to see the Carlton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. I had just finished reading the book Widow of the South and was so moved by it that when I heard that I was only an hour from where this novel takes place, I had to see.

The book is fiction and based on the famous Battle of Franklin and Carrie McGavock, at the end of the American Civil War. I’m not a huge Civil War buff, but reading this book and now seeing that place…I find the subject to be highly fascinating.

Anyhow, the Battle of Franklin was a huge blow to the Confederates. Of the 10,000 casualties, theirs counted for 7,000. You see, one of the Confederate generals decided that he would get together 22,000 troops for a full frontal assault on the Federal Army, whose numbers were about 23,000. The battle only lasted 5 hours and more people died in those hours than in any other battle in U.S. history. This includes those who died on the beaches of Normandy. The battle is also unique in that it was fought mostly at night and there was much close range and hand-to-hand combat. Crazy, huh?

There was a plantation house less than a mile from this battle, named Carnton. This is where most of the book takes place. The house was used as a field hospital and at one point there were about 300 injured men in the house. Amputations were done in the downstairs parlor and the removed limbs were thrown out the window. It was rumored that there was a huge rotting pile of limbs in the backyard and piles of bodies in the garden. You can still see blood stains in the upstairs bedrooms of the plantation house. You can see the outline of buckets and there is one spot where it looks like a doctor was standing and the blood was just dripping off onto the floor. It’s a huge circle with drops everywhere.

Two years after the battle, the field where roughly 2,000 soldiers were buried in shallow graves was in danger. Many of the grave markers were being used for firewood and some of the bones were being dug up by animals, so the McGavocks (the family that owned Carnton) deeded two acres of their land to be used as a Confederate cemetery. It took three weeks to move the bodies and each was put in a pine box and buried in a numbered plot in the cemetery. A book was kept with the list of names. This book is still in the house. Amazingly, they were able to identify 60% of the bodies.

Word started getting out about this cemetery and letters started pouring in, families asking about their sons, husbands, fathers, etc. The first family members started showing up about 3 years after the cemetery was completed and from then on, Carrie McGavock (the woman the book Widow of the South is about) would go out to the cemetery with the families and mourn with them. And when the families couldn’t find their loved one, she would still mourn. They say she mourned for all of the unknown soldiers because they had no one else to mourn them. This is why they called her Widow of the South.

What a story! I took some pictures of this place and I hope you enjoy them. And you should really go visit this interesting place in our history. It’s quite remarkable that the place is still very much intact and preserved.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton020-1.jpg” alt=”
The front door of Carnton.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton001-1.jpg” alt=”
The back porch of Carnton. It’s said that 4 Confederate generals lay on this porch dead.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton023.jpg” alt=”
A better picture of the back porch.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton015.jpg” alt=”
The foundation where the old house used to be and the smokehouse. When the big house was built, they made the old house into the kitchens. It was destroyed when a tornado hit it in the early 1900’s.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton019.jpg” alt=”
Another view of the porch and smokehouse.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton017.jpg” alt=”
The slave quarters.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton018.jpg” alt=”
The spring house where they kept perishables like eggs, milk, and fruit. The water would come up about 2 feet and the evaporation would keep these items fresh longer.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton002-1.jpg” alt=”
Cemetery sign.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton004.jpg” alt=”
Carrie (Widow of the South) and John McGavock’s headstone.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton014.jpg” alt=”
The family cemetery.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton007.jpg” alt=”
Confederate Cemetery sign.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton008.jpg” alt=”
The cemetery.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton010-1.jpg” alt=”
Information about the cemetery.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton009-1.jpg” alt=”
One of the markers indicating which company is buried there. The cemetery is organized by the company of state for which the men buried fought.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton013-1.jpg” alt=”
Another marker.

<img src=”http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/freshairlover/Carnton/Carnton012-1.jpg” alt=”
A nice picture of the cemetery with the house behind it.

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Spices have been used not only for seasoning foods and creating perfumes, but also for love philters. Many were even used as a cures for impotence and sterility. All that wisdom has died off; today we add parsley to our salad and saffron to our rice without suspecting their secret properties. For aphrodisiacs herbs and spices to take effect, frequent use is recommended; it is naive to expect that at the first whiff of cinnamon in our apple tart our libido leaps up.

In past ages it was supposed that any food originating on distant shores was laden with erotic properties, including the first potatoes imported from the New World and , with greater reason, aromatic spices from what was then called the Far East. But in today’s world, in which the mystery of distance has been lost, little surprises or excites us, and we demand constantly more unnatural aphrodisiacs: battery-driven devices, and shows, live or on video, closer to pornography than the art of erotica. Pornography is method without inspiration; eroticism is inspiration without method. (Eroticism is using a feather; pornography is using the whole hen.)

Plants are subtle aphrodisiacs, and like love, they act without ostentation, discreetly, and over time. How can we lack confidence in them if nearly all of our modern pharmacopoeia rests on them? And, as habitually happens with love, the most everyday and modest are also the most precious. It is not advisable to go in pursuit of exotic plants like Cassytha filiformis, Bourveria ovata, Artemesia absinthium, and others unless your obsession is botany, because if you spend your time creeping through the woods on all fours looking for them, you will miss many opportunities to make use of them. Nature is dangerous; in its bosom hide predators, poisonous plants, irascible beasts, and bandits disguised as geographers who tend to lurk in thickets in wait for victims. One must not get carried away by bucolic curiosity but accept gratefully what can be grown in the garden or obtained in the market. Consult a list of domestic herbs and spices, and try never to run out of balsamic vinegar, the best mustard, the purest honey, and virgin olive oil (one of the few things that virginity is worth its salt), along with other fundamental ingredients to enhance your cooking and your love life.

Anise: A plant with white flowers and small, aromatic seeds used in making jams, syrups, essences, salad dressings, and liqueurs. Anise is the base for Pernod, a liqueur fashionable in nineteenth-century Europe, which, when drunk in excess, as absinthe, leads to madness and death. Have no fear, the seeds are not fatal. In many countries of the Mideast it is used to excite the lovemaking of newlyweds and to cure impotence.

Basil: It smells of summer lunches in the south of Italy. Its aromatic leaves are indispensible in any respectable kitchen. It is most effective when fresh–added at the end–but can be used dry during the preparation in certain dishes. In ancient cultures–and still in the voodoo of Haiti–basil is associated with fecundity and passion.

Bay leaf: Roman heroes were crowned with laurel leaves, a symbol of virility. The next time you dance for your lover, adorn yourself with a crown of these sacred leaves. Laughter is aphrodisiac, too. Bay leaf is used sparingly in cooking, barely a small leave or half a large one, because it has a very strong, rather bitter flavor.

Borage: Used in preparing meat and fish, as well as fresh in salads The Mapuche Indians of Chile use it as an abortificient. They brew a strong tea and drink several cups a day, until it brings on cramps and spasms, which in addition to aborting the fetus provoke evil imaginings. Used with moderation and luck, however, it fuels lust.

Cardamom: Comes in seeds that are ground for cooking or in powder, which quickly loses its aroma. In Arabic countries it is put in coffee to enrich the flavor and stimulate good feeling among friends. The seeds are chewed to refresh the mouth–let’s not forget that one of the worst enemies of passion is bad breath. In some Tantric rituals it is used as a symbol of the yoni, or female genitals.

Cayenne: A hot power made from dried, ground red pepper , which s also the base of paprika, chili powder, Tabasco, and, in Japan, santaka. It is used, sparingly, to add color, flavor, and a touch of hot taste.

Cinnamon: Extracted from the bark of the tree and used in sticks and powdered form, not only in sweets but also in meats and various curries in Asia and the Mideast. It is the classic condiment in Christmas recipes. Tea brewed from cinnamon bark is recommended as a medicine for the ill of menstruation and pregnancy.

Clove: So aromatic and spicy that is must be used with caution and removed from the food before serving, but in powdered form it is milder. Used as a condiment in desserts, meats, and many exotic dishes of the East. In Asia and South America, when there is not enough money for a dentist, a clove is placed on the affected tooth. It doesn’t cure it, but it relieves the pain and dulls one’s reason.

Cumin: Tiny seeds that give the characteristic flavor to Oriental food and to recipes of lentils and beans; the oil is used for balms and love philters.

Curry powder: Not a spice but a mixture of several: coriander, cardamom, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, mustard seeds, turmeric, and others. In Indian or Indonesian cuisine, for example, curry is prepared specifically for each dish–the proportions are often a family secret–and is always browned in oil or butter to obtain the maximum aroma and flavor. In the West we content ourselves with a yellow powder to which we give the generic name “curry,” and which is offered to us in two choices: mild or strong. The strong is for the valiant. I, however, make my own curry. And yes, it’s a secret.

Dill: The leaves and seeds are used especially with fish. In Scandinavian houses, dill is ever present on the table. Seeds will lend their aroma to a bottle of oil or vinegar, while the leaves are ideal for tickling the feet.

Fenugreek: With slightly hairy leaves and yellow seeds. It has an odor that is repugnant to the finicky. It is difficult to find, but I include it here because for centuries it has been thought in Europe to inflame low passions and provoke sensual dreams.

Ginger: The fresh root, which will last for two or three weeks in a dry place, is more flavorful, but ginger can also be obtained as powder or syrup. Its characteristic, rather hot taste enhances sweets, desserts, and innumerable exotic dishes. No Japanese kitchen is without it. Madame du Barry’s chefs prepared a mixture of egg yolks and ginger that drove this courtesan’s lovers, even Louis XV himself, to unbridled lust.

Lavender: The seeds lend their aroma to perfumes and soaps, but in the past they were used in cooking as an aphrodisiac. They are rather bitter and hot and can ruin a salad but enhance a soup. If you do not want to take chances in your kitchen, place them in a sachet beneath the pillow where you will be making love.

Lemon balm: Has a lemony taste and is good in mayonnaise, recipes that call for fresh cheese and cream, and in dressings and salads, including fruit desserts. In Chile, lemon balm is drunk as a tea because it is thought to help one lose weight.

Mint: Its fresh taste is popular in candies and drinks, but it is also used in many recipes. For the British, it is the inseparable companion to lamb. Shakespeare refers to it, along with lavender and rosemary, as a stimulant for middle-aged gentleman. It grows like a weed and so is easy to cultivate in your garden. In some countries of the Mideast, guests are always welcomed with a cup of mint tea, strong, hot, and heavily sugared. I have a cup of mint tea every night before bed.

Mustard: May be purchased as seeds, powders, and bottled. A folklore remedy for impotence is to rub the penis with mustard.

Nutmeg: A hard nut used to lend fragrance to pastries and desserts, but it also complements the flavor of some vegetables, such as spinach, and mild-flavored meats. It comes in powdered form but is more effective when grated from fresh nuts. I always add a pinch in my mashed potatoes and coffee.

Oregano: Something your kitchen cannot be without. Its strong flavor and penetrating aroma are typical of Mediterranean cuisine. A handful thrown in the hot bath shared with your partner is an erotic experience.

Parsley: Witches used parsley as one of the ingredients of the magic potion for flying. Some texts say they prepared a balm for rubbing on their body–especially the erogenous zones–whose purpose was to produce hallucinations; others that they rubbed the phallic broom of their nocturnal flights with parsley. There are more than thirty edible varieties: it is served with meat, fish, and salads, among other uses. Its freshens the breath after eating onion or garlic. Like dill, it is good for tickling and other sensual caresses, replacing the feathers.

Pepper: It brings joy to widows and alleviates the impotence of the timid. You will see that it is mentioned in nearly all the recipes in this book, excluding desserts. It is best to grind the corns in a mill as needed, not only to obtain more flavor, but for the ceremony as well, but ground pepper available in any market will do equally well.

Saffron: A reddish-orange spice, in threads of powder, that turns everything yellow–including the cook if she isn’t careful–and for that reason is used to dye cloth in Asia. In Tibet the color saffron is holy. In general, this is a very expensive spice, but to avoid its bitter taste it is used in small quantities anyway, merely two or three threads. It is the indispensable condiment in paella and other Spanish dishes and always delicious with certain shellfish. In the East, it is thought to be a stimulant. I always use saffron in my rice.

Sage: This is a favorite herb for assertive meats such as pork or game birds. It is much better fresh than dried. The soldiers of ancient Greece were welcomed by their wives with sage tea, to stimulate fertility and perpetuate the Greek race, which was always in danger of extinction because of their manic habit of following their heroes into war. Sage has a very strong aroma and must be used with moderation.

Tarragon: Much better fresh than dried. It can be preserved in a bottle of vinegar; that way it perfumes the vinegar and you have the leaves on hand when you need them.

Turmeric: Native to India, it has a rather bitter taste, a subtle fragrance, and deep yellow color. It must be used with a delicate hand, because it can obscure all other flavors.

Vanilla: indispensable condiment for sweets, ice creams, cakes, puddings, coffee, and chocolate, among others. It comes in beans and in extract or essence. If you have a choice, avoid synthetic vanilla; it has a rough, sometimes toxic flavor. Madame Pompadour’s habit of perfuming her clothes with vanilla is again in style; there are complete lines of products for the bath, lotions, creams, and perfumes with that scent. It’s one of my favorite scents and makes me happy and warm right down to my belly.

And that’s the end of my Aphrodisiac series.

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Alcohol’s worst defect is that converted into a vice it destroys anyone who drinks it, and its greatest virtue is that in moderate quantities it produces the illusion of well-being and sparks a desire for celebration.

In ancient times Bacchus and Dionysus, the Greek and Roman gods of wine, ecstasy, and eroticism, figured prominently in their pantheons; they had their equivalent in nearly all pantheistic mythologies. Orgiastic festivals were celebrated in in their honor, during which the masses poured into the street to drink and fornicate without restraint…hmmm, doesn’t sound like bad thing.

Absinthe, or wormwood: A green liqueur extracted from the plant of the same name (Artemisia absinthium) to which various herbs are added; it has had a reputation for being a powerful aphrodisiac since the time of the Greeks, but it is so toxic that in 1915 it was outlawed in France and then later in other countries. It causes muscular and gastric spasms and if consumed on a regular basis leads to paralysis and death. Absinthe is served with a little water and sugar to cut the bitter taste. In the nineteenth century it was the favorite drink of intellectuals and artists because it was believed to convoked the muses. I have had the opportunity to try absinthe on several occasions and have found that it makes the blood rush directly to my clitoris.

Amaretto: Made from the almond, it has a sweet, strong flavor. It is used as a digestive and in cocktails and desserts. Its erotic reputation comes from the almond, the mythological fruit born of the womb of a goddess, as I have already pointed out here.

Anise: Popular in France and Spain, this is a transparent liquid that turns milky when mixed with water. The well-known brand Marie Brizard was created in the city of Bordeaux in 1755 by a woman of that name, known for her good heart. They say that she saved a man’s life during an epidemic and that in payment he whispered the secret for making the liqueur in her ear. The woman became so rich and devoted a large part of her fortune to charitable works. Similar to absinthe in flavor but less toxic, anise is the base of several aphrodisiac liqueurs such as Pernod, Ricard, Pastis, and arak, the national liquor of the Greeks and Turks.

Benedictine: This name derives from that if its originators, the Benedictine monks of France, themselves chaste, who surely didn’t suspect that they were contributing another aphrodisiac to the long list of temptations humanity must suffer.

Calvados: Native to Normandy, this is an apple liqueur, intense and velvety like all good brandy, to which are attributed the same invigorating qualities as the fruit. In the past is was also as a tonic for staying youthful.

Champagne: The inarguable queen of wines, indispensable at celebrations. A sparkling white wine from the Champagne region of France, it can be successfully produced elsewhere, but only the authentic wine can be called by that name. Champagne is always drunk in good company and at moments of celebration, which may be why it acts as an aphrodisiac even when that is not the intent. Sparkling and light, it goes down without a thought, and it is more intoxicating than wine because, thanks to the bubbles, the alcohol enters the bloodstream so rapidly. Champagne is considered a “feminine” wine and is thought to have more erotic effects on women than on men. In the feasts of ancient imperial Rome, baths were filled with bubbling wine, in which naked men and women frothed and frolicked. Champagne made soley from the Chardonnay grape is the driest and most prized.

Cognac, brandy, and Armagnac: Henry IV of France made this drink stylish as an aphrodisiac; the idea spread rapidly, and soon, as a precaution, gentleman began having a glass before going to bed, just in case the wife didn’t have a headache that night. Thus originated the custom of ending a good dinner with a cigar and a glass of cognac or brandy, a ritual in which the women did not share.

Kirsch: Made from a cherry base, kirsch is very much in vogue for lending a bouquet to champagne or white wine, the drink of the elegant. The aphrodisiac power of this mixture lies primarily in the festive reputation of the champagne, and surely in the rosy color it gives the cocktail, a treat to the eye.

Parfat Amour: A rare lavender-scented liquor once served in a few refined brothels in France because it was believed that it instantly stimulated the libido. It has gone out of style but still can be found, in case anyone wants to get me a bottle.

Sherry and port: Strong, sweet wines, very popular in Portugal and Spain, served at any time of the day other than with a meal. In the past, the favorites of women because of their delicate texture.

Vodka: Like many strong liquors–whisky, gin, tequila, and others–vodka is notparticularlyy aphrodisiac, except in the moderate quantities that relax inhibitions.

Wine: Wine can be an amazingly erotic experience, enhancing a romantic interlude by relaxing our bodies and stimulating our senses. Alone, it adds a sophisticated sex appeal to social events and personal meals. Let your eyes feast on the color of the liquid, caress the glass, and savor the taste on your lips; but remember that larger amounts of alcohol will make you too drowsy for after-dinner romance. Discovering ways to make wines more fruitful, spicy, or seductive can also help us uncover new secrets to seduction. Whether making wine or love, exotic layers adds a wave of sensuality to the whole experience. The taste of the wine, the bouquet, the tang on the tongue and the soothing reactions that wine inspires makes it such a fabulous drink for romance. Carefully crafted wine combinations can turn this magnificent experience into something truly magical. Many ancient aphrodisiac wine recipes are tightly interwoven with myth. During the 17th century, a strengthening aphrodisiac was created from adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary and thyme in wine and allowing it to rest for a week before straining. The resulting spiced wine was drank each day to enhance sexual prowess.

Please look for my last installment, Herbs and Spices: Aphrodisiacs Part 6

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There are many vegetarians in this world who, despite their pallor and anguished souls, survive and reproduce perfectly well. Peoples who diets contain very little meat are those who have the highest demographic explosion and those who have most diligently cultivated the art of the erotic, which is why I have serious doubts about the true aphrodisiac powers of the flesh of animals. But that’s my opinion.

Beef: The most delicate and easily digested cut is a fillet. Italians maintain that raw meat is erotic and often serve it in very fine, nearly transparent, slices called carpaccio. Raw meat has been eaten since ancient times, except that its erotic properties were not recognized then.

Goat: The ram symbolizes male sexual energy, but its flesh is tough and strong-smelling. This animal has the curious habit of rolling in its urine to attract the female. In view of all these things, we humans prefer eating the more tender kids in the full bloom of their charm and innocence.

Rabbit: A silly brother to the hare, a fluffy and timid animal who when alive evokes immediate sympathy but cooked can be mistaken for the family cat. It has a very strong odor, which is why it must be washed inside and out with vinegar water, then rinsed, dried, and perfumed with lemon before cooking.

Pig and sheep: Forget them, they’re not aphrodisiac in any way.

Testicles: (Are we women fascinated by orchids because they get their name from the Greek word for these ody parts, orkhis?) From time immemorial, the organs of certain animals have had a reputation for having erotic properties. Women don’t eat them. Men do, but it gives them the shivers when they relate what’s on the plat with their own anatomy. In Asia they prefer monkey testicles, in American the bull’s, in other parts of the world those of sheep and rams. In the United States, animal testes are called Rocky Mountain oysters. Chopped and cooked, they don’t look like what they are, but even so, don’t give it away until your guests are through gorging on them.

Liver and kidney: Beef or sheep kidneys are a common item on menus on French and Spanish restaurants and save English cuisine from total disaster served up in the form of their famous steak-and-kidney pie, one of the few indigenous recipes of Great Britain that can be eaten with pleasure and not out of sheer necissity. In older days, it was believed that the center of energy of life was the liver, not the heart as we now suppose, which is why power as a sexual stimulant was attributed to this organ. Not everyone likes liver. Liver extract in pill form is sold in health-food stores for anyone who desires the benefits without havin to go through the disgusting process of chewing the meat.

Turtle: Venus, the goddess of love, has been represented riding on a turtle’s back; its uplifted head symbolizes a phallus. Aphrodite Porne, patron of prostitutes in ancient Greece, was accompanied by a goose, whose long neck was an allegory–a rather optimistic one–for the male member. And Leda embraced her lascivious swan…In any case, it seems to me that mythology has stretched thins little far. In the East, the flesh of the turtle is greatly appreciated for its stimulating virtues, and in antiquity it was an obligatory dish in the court of China: it was believed that, like birds’ nest soups, it could inflame the decadent appetites of the emperor. Incidentally, these nests are obtained in caves, particularly those of Malaysia, where a certain kind of swallows lay their eggs. The birds build the nests from sea algae pasted together with a salivalike secretion. To collct them when they are fresh, the natives climb the slippery rocks in the darkness, steadying themselves with bamboo poles. They risk not only breaking their necks in a fall but also coming across poisonous insects and infuritated swallows. The enterprise is very lucrative because of the numbers of males in the world who are uncertain of their virility. The nests are cleaned, pressed, and packed before being sent to the markets of Asia, whre clients pay true fortunes for a few grams of this questionable aphrodisiac.

Snail: They owe their reputation for being erotic to the belief that they resemble the clitoris, emerging from and disappearing amongst feminine creases and folds. I find this metaphor offensive.

Next up, Liquors: Aphrodisiacs Part 5.

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In ancient Greece the statue of the god Priapus, son of Aphrodite, stood erect–literally–in every garden as custodian of fertility and agriculture and as protector against thieves. Today very few people can give themselves the luxury of growing their own vegetables, and neither is there humor or space for a scandalous god in the garden, even though in the embers of our collective memory the success of the harvests is still intimately linked with human eroticism and fertility.

The taste, the nutrients, and the aphrodisiac power of vegetables and grains are directly related to their freshness. Buy fresh vegetables in the market, and choose them with care to be sure they are at their peak. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t fall into the temptation of subtituting something from a can; better to change the menu.

In the game of food and erotic play, the most desirable shapes, for obvious reasons, are phallic and rounded: carrots and peaches; fleshy, moist textures, like tomatoes and avocados; the sensual colors of skin and the most personal orifices, pomegranates and strawberries; and lingering scents like mangos or garlic. May edible plants used and abused in erotic literature owe their reputation as aphrodisiacs to their appearance. We’ve all heard the stories about schoolgirls, young nuns, and lonely widows sinning with cucumbers. I’m surprised they haven’t been forbidden by religious decree, a precautionary measure the sultans of Arabia imposed on their harems. Men don’t like to be compared. Other vegetables recall female forms, round and smooth like breasts and hips. No one who has lived to adulthood and has held a fresh tomato in the palm of his hand and bitten into it, feeling its flesh in his mouth as juice streams down his chin, can escape the temptation to compare it with other oral pleasures.

Artichoke: A person who goes from lover to lover is said to have a “heart like an artichoke”, scattering leaves right and left. This vegetable is eaten with the fingers, slowly; there is something ritualistic about the process of stripping the artichoke, removing its leaves one by one to dip them in a dressing of oil, lemon, salt, and pepper and share them with your lover.

Asparagus: Those with thick stems, pale color, and a tip somewhere between rose and purple are the most aphrodisiac. They look like anemic phalluses. Green asparagus is the most popular but the least erotic-looking. In Sheikh Nefzawi’s The Perfumed Garden we find several recipes for reviving the enthusiam of the exhausted lover: “He who boils asparagus and then fries them in fat, adding egg yolks and powdered condiments, and eats this dish daily, will see his desire and his powers considerably fortified.” The best thing about this vegetable is its simplicity: from the pot straight to the lovers’ mouth. It must be firm. No one likes his spear wilted. To achieve that it is a good idea to cook your asparagus with the tips up; that way the stems, which are tougher, are cooked longer and the tips remain crisp. You eat them, naturally, with your fingers, slathered with salted melted butter. Could anyone miss this metaphor?

Beans: To Romans the bean was a stimulant and its flower symbolized sexual pleasure. Bean soup had such a high reputation for being erotic that in the seventeenth century beans were banned from the Convent of Saint Jerome in order to prevent inopportune excitation.

Carrot: This root, vulgarly called “widow’s consolation”, began to be cultivated in Europe during the sixteenth century and was brought to America by the first English colonists. Because of its vitamin A and its shape, it is ascribed the power to feed sexual appetites, but to tell the truth I don’t know anyone who gets excited over a carrot (strictly in terms of consumption, of course).

Celery: Madame Pompadour invented celery soup to inflame Louis XV when the fires of passion had cooled to dismal ashes, but in fact its good name as an aphrodisiac dates from the time of the Greeks and Romans.

Corn: Sacred plant of Native Americans, it symbolizes fertility and abundance. The poorer the indigenous people, the more extrordinary their culinary creativeness in ways to use the kernals.

Cucumbers: The only thing erotic about it would seem to be its shape. Its virtues are questionable; while in some regions it is considered a stimulant, in others it is regarded as having the opposite effect.

Eggplant: Thought to be a native of India that arrived in Europe with the incursion of the Arabs into Spain. Classed as a stimulant, especially when combined with other erotic ingredients such as garlic, onion, pepper, and various spices. In Turkey there is a classic recipe called imam bayildi, whose origins go back to an imam, who swooned with pleasure when his concubine served him this dish. We like to think that he recovered from his faint with renewed vigor. In Bali, on the other hand, men don’t eat it because they believe it kills desire, proof enough that eroticism depends more on illusion and faith than on physiology.

Endive, Escarole, Lettuce: In some European texts all varieties of lettuce are listed as stimulants. In other regions, however, an infusion brewed from lettuce leaves is calming and antiaphrodisiac.

Garbanzo: In The Perfumed Garden the young Abu El Heidja fulfills the Herculean task of deflowering eighty virgins in a single night, all thanks to the boost received from a succulent dinner of garbanzos, meat, onions, and camel milk.

Garlic: Essential for the kitchen. It is thought to be sacred, erotic, medicinal, and restorative and was for that reason given to athletes during the Olympic Games in Greece. So many curative properties are credited to it–even in cases of cancer–that it is sold in capsules for those who can’t stand the taste. Garlic has been used as an aphrodisiac from time immemorial, and the one condition in using it is that, as with onion, both lovers eat it, because you can smell it even on the skin. I don’t mind it; to the contrary, nothing excited me as much as garlic in the hands of a man who cooks. (And, by the way, today it is known that the chemical substance that causes garlic’s odor is also present in a woman’s sexual secretions.)

Leek: In ancient Rome and Greece leeks were imputed to have aphrodisiac value, possibly for their resemblence to the phallus.

Mushroom: Because of its color, and scent, it is reminiscent of the head of an atrophied penis–oh, very atrophied indeed. The simpler its preparation, the more intense the flavor. All you need to do is saute it in a little olive oil with garlic, pepper, salt, and a few tablespoons of wine, and then serve it on toast as a preamble to an impromptu assignation.

Onion: Fundamental in all kitchens, from the most erotic to the most chaste. A native of Asia. Chaldeans, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Arabs all considered it aphrodisiac before Europeans ever knew of its existence. Sheik Nefzawi assures us in The Perfumed Garden, that after Abu el Heiloukh ate onions, his member remained erect for thirty uninterrupted days. Hmmm…

Pepper and/or Chili: Universally considered aphrodisiac, especially the hot red pepper rich in the alkaloid capsiacina. The flavor and name varies from one region to another, but under any name the pepper is a fiery component of all those erotic dishes that leave your mouth aflame and your imagination and appetitie for love roundly stimulated.

Rice: A symbol of fertility. When with greatest innocence we throw rice at the bride and groom as they leave the church, few people know that the gesture represents the ejaculation of semen.

Spinach: Native to Persia, rich in vitamins and minerals, it strengthens the body and the longing to make love.

Tomato: Native to America, the tomato should be catalogued among the fruits. The Spanish took it back to Europe under the names “Peruvian apple” and “love apple”. The red, juicy, sensual flesh created a scandal; so much credence was given to its powers that fortunes were paid for a single tomato. Virtuous women refused to eat it, but not their counterparts, who could then blame their peccadilloes on the irrestible tomato. This is one of my favorites. Salt and pepper is all I need to enjoy it.

Truffle: Called “testicle of the earth”, this fungus has an intense scent and flavor and for that reason is used in small quantities. Of proven reputation as an aphrodisiac, it is indispensible in tranditional French cuisine, especially in foie gras and in the preparation of of certain meats and fowl.

Turnip: It can be said that alone with onion and garlic, the turnip is the aphrodisiac of the poor. This humble vegetable is an excellent source of sustenance.

Watercress: Small leaves–innocuous in appearance and somewhat sharp in taste–the Romans called “shameless” for their supposed stimulating values. They grow near stagnant water, which is why it is recommended that they be washed thoroughly before being included in your salad.

Wheat: The oldest and most loyal from of human nourishment; like rice, it represents fertility. The shape of the wheat head is considered phallic, which proves that human imagination knows no limits. Long, long ago, loaves of bread were baked in the shape of genitals for Dionysian ceremonies. Not a bad idea at all.

Next time, I’ll uncover some meats and fowl.

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Aphrodisiacs are named for Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who was born from the sea. Nearly all creatures that live in water are aphrodisiac. These treasures of the sea are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein and low in fat. They have a delicious flavor and an aroma that evokes the most intimate regions of the human body.

I love seafood, or anything from the water really. When I eat seafood, it seems like I’m satisfying a very primitive hunger inside of me. It’s just gorgeous.

Abalone: It lives in a thick shell, adhered to rocks, usually in cold waters. Harvesting it is not an easy task. You have to sink into icy water, equipped with an iron bar to pry the abalone from the rock. There is a science to cooking it, and the person who doesn’t know it usually ends up gnawing on a piece of hard rubber, but when properly prepared it is delicious. It is widely used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. I’ve never tried this, or even heard of it before, but I’m always willing to try new foods.

Clams and Mussels: These humble relatives of the oyster may be eaten raw with lemon, but they are better in soups and casseroles and also briefly baked in the shell with grated Parmesan, pepper, and a few drops of white wine. In shape they recall female genitals. I
absolutely love clams and mussels, especially in a red sauce over pasta. It’s just so good.

Scallops: The flesh, plump and white, normally is sold cleaned and ready to be cooked. They have a delicate flavor and enhance any dish. Scallops represent testicles in some cultures because of their shape and texture.

Squid and Octopus: These creatures seem to be from another planet but are a delicacy for those who learn to eat them. In Spain they use octopus ink to make a black rice so exotic that it would be inadvisable to feed it to nuns or widows for its ability to arouse is that potent.

Shrimp, Prawns, Crabs, Lobsters, and Other Crustaceans: Ahhh, my favorites. Tasty, decorative, and very aphrodisiac, thee are also easy to prepare–simply boil or broil or saute them–but sometimes you must have a heart of ice to kill them. To use the example of the lobster: you have to peg and bind its claws and submerge it head first in boiling water, turning a deaf ear to its faint moans, and cook it until the shell turns red. I remember my dad catching lobsters on dives and storing them in the freezer. When it was time to cook the lobster, I would run in another room because they cries would make me sad. But I would forget my sadness when I starting eating their succulent flesh.

Sea Urchins: The first person to open a sea urchin and place it in his mouth must have been very hungry. The mere look of it is daunting. It is eaten in Asia and South America, where it is thought to be more aphrodisiac than the oyster, but the rest of the world looks upon it with revulsion. It comes inside a dark ball covered with spines; the tongues–which aren’t tongues but genitals–are fleshy, and sensual, the color of peaches. They emit the intense odor of the ocean depths and something more, something indefinable but frankly erotic.

Oysters: Oysters are the queens of aphrodisiac cuisine, protagonists of every erotic sense recorded in literature or on film. The best way to eat them is raw, after squeezing lemon over them to test whether they are alive, because otherwise they are very toxic. The miserable creatures writhe in the acid. The flesh must look firm and plump, creamy in color, and float in the transparent, inoffensive-smelling liquid. Buy them already opened or eat them at restaurants, where someone else has been responsible for the work of preparing them, as they are very difficult to open.

Please check out a very aphrodisiac recipe for Boullabaisse and feed to it to your lover. I promise you will be very pleased with the results.

Check in for Vegetables: Aphrodisiacs Part 3 soon.

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I’m starting with fruit because it’s light and refreshing. Fruit is also very easy to eat with your hands. And easy to feed your lover. Its juices are sticky and sweet and tart…

Almonds: The almond is associated with passion and fertility. It is an essential part of Arabian pastries. In Italy it is used as a medicine and tonic for amours, which may be the origin of the custom of offering almonds before a meal with cocktails. It is supposed to excite women and is cherished in creams, soups, and massage lotions. In mythology, the almond emerges from the vulva of the goddess Cybele.

Apples: “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.” (The Song of Solomon 2:5) But the serpent convinced the woman, and she, in turn, her companion, and both ate “thereof”, and so began the problems of the human couple. The Bible does not say that the fruit was an apple. We must suppose that the fathers of the church–celibate and misogynist–chose the apple as the forbidden fruit because when cut in half its seeds appear arranged in the shape of a vulva, a part of her anatomy the wicked Eve used to tempt the virtuous Adam. At any rate, the fame of the apple in the duel of love s universal. It is used in many magic potions, philters, and enchantments. The liquors of the apple, such as cider, are stimulating and thought to rejuvenate. This is my favorite fruit.

Avocados: In some parts of the world, the avocado is considered a vegetable, but in fact it is a fruit the Aztecs called ahucatl, which means “testicle”. It is, however, a feminine fruit, with soft texture and delicate taste that more often evoke sensuality in women than in men. It was taken to Europe by the Spanish, who bragged about its powers of stimulation.

Dates: Rich in vitamins and calories; a handful is equivalent to an entire meal. The date provides energy and increases erotic potency in men and coquetry in women, more than enough reason to make it a staple of any diet. The fermented juice from the crown of the date palm is used to make an aphrodisiac liquor called palm wine. Dates are also very good in milkshakes.

Figs: In ancient Greece this fruit was one of the sacred foods associated with fertility and physical love. In China it was given to sweethearts, and in Europe it is considered aphrodisiac because of its shape and color; in some places female genitals are called figs, while in other parts of the world fig is a term for homosexuals. I love pouring a hot sweet fig sauce over ice cream.

Grapes: No self-respecting orgy can do without grapes. The fruit is associated with pleasure, fertility, Dionysus, Priapus, Bacchus, and merry gods in all traditions, because wine is made from the grape, and without wine any attempts at an orgy turn into collective boredom. Don’t you think?

Mangos: Mangos must be eaten naked, yes? That’s the way I eat them. They taste better that way. In Asia and Polynesia it is considered a male food because it resembles a testicle.

Papayas: When cut in half, its resemblence to the vulva cannot be argued. Its flesh is sweet and juicy and exotic. If you don’t believe me, look at the picture above.

Peaches: Perhaps the most sensual of all fruits, for their delectable perfume, soft and juicy texture, and flesh color, an eloquent representation of the female private parts. The peach is native to China, where it has been cultivated for more than two thousand years. Shakespeare knew its magical reputation, and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the fairies use it as an aphrodisiac. Peaches are one of my favorite fruits.

Pineapples: Has a purifying effect. Slices sprinkled with chili powder is used as an erotic enhancer. Drinking the juice, even a small glass a day promotes the energies of love.

Pistachios: A small fruit very popular in all of Asia and mentioned in the Bible and in Persian and Arab writings. With true perserverance, women of the harem consumed honey cakes with pistachios to maintain their fleshy bodies and dimples, which in those days were appetizing and today, sadly, are not considered so.

Pomegranates: Brought to Europe during Arab invasions. In some erotic texts of the East, the pomegranate has aphrodisiac virtues and is associated with ceremonies of fertility. It is also used in the tradition of using the seeds at nuptial festivities as rice is used in the West. In Greece it is, like grapes and figs, a ceremonial fruit of Dionysian rites. It is also featured in one of my favorite myths, the one where Hades feeds Persephone pomegranate seeds thus sealing her fate to stay in the underworld for one quarter of the year.

Strawberries and Raspberries: Delicate fruit nipples that in the code of eroticism invite love.
Stay tuned for Seafood and Fish: Aphrodisiacs Part 2…

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