Aphrodite: The Love of Food & the Food of Love

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9780006551171: Aphrodite: The Love of Food & the Food of Love

'Isabel Allende's wonderfully sexy new book, is a marvellous concoction. Enjoy it.' Carolyn Hart, Marie Claire This book of recipes, sensuous stories, aphrodisiacs and lovers' spells is an irresistible fusion of Allende's favourite things. Lavishly illustrated, this fascinating, personal guide to all things erotic encompasses a multicultural history of seduction through food; ancient and modern stories and poems about sex and eating; titillating recipes and advice. Chapter titles include: Cooking in the Nude; The Spell of Smell; Death by Perfume; Table Manners; With the Tip of the Tongue; The Orgy; Sins of the Flesh; Love Potions, and Sauces and Other Essential Fluids. 'Just as the pleasures of eating can replace the pleasures of sex, so reading about food can provoke as much satisfaction as flicking through some soft porn. Isabel Allende's charming new book aims to reconcile the two appetites, offering sensual recipes to tempt jaded palates. I don't think her collection of tips and stories is meant to be swallowed too seriously; these are titbits for grazers; amuse-gueules in the French tradition. Not a pot-boiler; rather, a spicy word-salad...Telling stories, playing verbal games and flirting with words like shuttlecocks, these are the real turn-on for Allende. In between offering up light, well-flavoured reminiscences sauced with humour she imparts a certain amount of kitchen lore and suggests new ways to make roast chicken romantic; one technique is to call the bird Valentino...a delightful book, juicy with affectionately prepared vignettes that turn out well every time like an expert chef's souffles.' Michele Roberts, The Times

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Review:

There is something about reading suggestive material that awakens the senses--too often ignored in the fray of modern life--and fires the imagination. Perhaps it brings us back to those breathless, palpitating moments from childhood when puberty was a rosy smudge on the horizon and sex was an abstract term. Aphrodite is a long, savory, enthralling ode to sensuality.

In this bawdy memoir-cum-cookbook, Allende has put together an apothecary of aphrodisiacs, from snake's blood and rhinoceros horn to the more commonplace and more palatable oysters, "those seductive tears of the sea, which lend themselves to slipping from mouth to mouth like a prolonged kiss ... can be purchased in bottles, but there they look like malignant tumors; in contrast, moist and turgid in their shells they suggest delicate vulvae--a prime example of food that appeals to the eye." Chapters such as "Alligators and Piranhas"; "Supreme Stimulus for Lechery"; "Bread, God's Grace"; "Forbidden Fruits"; and "The Saucy Way to Foreplay" offer categorical listings on the aphrodisiac qualities of meats, spices, fruits and vegetables, and alcohol. A few chapters into the book, one begins to wonder what foods aren't considered erotic: "the shape of the wheat head is considered phallic, which proves human imagination knows no limits." Wine (no surprise there) is recommended because "it lessens inhibitions, relaxes, and fosters joy, three fundamental requirements for good performance, not only in bed but at the piano as well." However, as in many situations, moderation is key: too much and you may find your guest asleep in the soup.

Allende dismisses nouvelle cuisine in favor of earthier foods and more satisfying portions. More than 100 recipes are provided, from sauces and soups to hors d'oeuvres, supplemented with her voluptuous commentary. Recipes such as Mykonos Sauce, with walnuts, pistachios, basil, garlic, and milk; Widower's Figs; Filet Mignon Belle Epoque; and Alicante Cream Soup, with leeks, shrimp, oysters, paprika, and cream will have you in an apron (and perhaps not much else) in no time.

"If cookbooks make up part of your library," Allende notes, "books on eroticism should, too." And what more delightful combination of the two than Aphrodite, which provocatively underscores the relationship between sustenance and sexuality, and the aphrodisiac qualities of watching a man cook: "[Women] suppose that if he can remember how many minutes frog legs can tolerate in the skillet, how much greater reason he will have to remember how many tickles our G spot demands." Spiced with litanies of lust and longing from Anais Nin, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda, and Lady Onogoro, and enriched with Allende's warm humor and lusty joie de vive, Aphrodite will tantalize your senses and engender lascivious grins. Recommended in delicious but moderate doses, this book is not for the faint of ... er, heart. --Jhana Bach

About the Author:

Isabel Allende was born in Chile, and now lives in California. She worked for many years as a journalist before writing the internationally bestselling novel The House of the Spirits. Since then she has published the equally highly-acclaimed Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, The Stories of Eva Luna, The Infinite Plan and Paula.

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