Food As A Romantic Experience Part 1

Food As A Romantic Experience Part 1

Food as a Romantic Experience Part 1
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica:
“The psychophysiological reaction that a well-prepared meal can have upon the human organism. The combination of the various sensuous reactions — the visual satisfaction of the sight of appetizing food, the olfactory stimulation of their pleasing smells and the tactile gratification afforded the oral mechanism by rich, savoury dishes — tend to bring on a state of general euphoria conducive to sexual expression.”
Deriving from the name of the Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite, the word ‘aphrodisiac’ summons the image of mysterious recipes and potions that evoke passion and desire in those who consume them. Foods are generally classified as aphrodisiacs in today’s society because of the pleasurable taste and effect they have on the body. The intimate emotional union between two people is shown in the sharing of a meal; in ancient times, the evening meal was shared as an enhancer for relationships, especially romantic ones. The aroma, taste and aesthetic qualities of the meal are part of the reason why aphrodisiac foods are so appealing, coupled with the effects of the naturally occurring chemicals that stimulate blood flow and enhance the senses.
Herbs, Spices and Nuts
In Greek mythology, it was said that marjoram was created from Aphrodite’s breath. Because of this, wreaths of the herb were worn at weddings. Even in Victorian times, the herb was popular as an addition to bouquets as an indication of the sender’s love for the recipient.
Mint is another aphrodisiac that owes its classification to Greek Mythology. The god Hades was greatly attracted to a young nymph, Mente. The nymph’s rival, Persephone, turned her into greenery, where she smells just as sweet as when her scent first captivated the god.
Cinnamon is believed to increase passion, especially during the winter months because of its ‘warmth’ as a spice. The link between cinnamon and romance goes back to the Queen of Sheba who used the spice to seduce King Solomon.
The almond tree was said to have been barren until the day St Valentine was buried beneath one. The tree burst into bloom, and the almond has been associated with everlasting love ever since.
The Greek story goes that Phyllis, a Thracian princess, was married to Acamas who was sent to fight at Troy. Hearing false news that he was dead, she died of sorrow, and was transformed into an almond tree by Athene. When Acamas returned, he heard the tale, and embraced the tree. The tree burst into blossom, again showing the connection between almonds and enduring love.
Fruit
Apples are associated with love, being the subject of many legends and superstitions. In Greek mythology, a golden apple inscribed ‘For the Fairest’ was the source of discord amongst the goddesses, namely Aphrodite, Athene and Hera. To solve the matter, they asked Paris, a Prince of Troy, to choose between them. He chose Aphrodite, who promised him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. An Old English superstition is to peel one long strip from an apple and throw it over the left shoulder. The letter it most resembles is said to be the first letter of the individual’s true love.
It is thought that the quince is the ‘apple’ that Eve offered Adam, and was also dedicated to the Roman goddess, Venus. Some marriage ceremonies included the consumption of the fruit to secure luck and happiness for the newlyweds.
Grapes are associated with the god of fertility, Dionysus. The act of feeding grapes to a lover has been repeated throughout history and has come to symbolize the decadence and the caring familiarity of lovers.
Strawberries are also considered a food of love- the suggestion that the heart-like shape of the fruit influences this image is a common one. The sweetness, subtle aroma and velvety texture enhance the sensual pleasure of eating, thereby establishing its role as one of the most archetypical aphrodisiacs.
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