it's okay to play with your food

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oyster? I hardly know her!

Part 4 of 5 in the Valentine's Day Extravaganza


Last Sunday, I visited Coquette for Happy Hour with friends. My friend Mike and I shared a plate of (delicious) oysters, which naturally brought up the topic of aphrodisiacs. Is it the act of sucking that makes oysters sexy? What qualifies as an aphrodisiac? How exactly are they supposed to work?

The word comes from Greek, its root found in aphrodisiakos (sexual, gem with aphrodisiac properties), aphrodisia (heterosexual pleasures) and the name of the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite. Miriam-Webster defines an aphrodisiac as:

1 : an agent (as a food or drug) that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire
2 : something that excites

Ok, so how do oysters, one of the less sexy looking shellfish, arouse sexual desire or cause excitement? Personally, I think shrimp are super cute and Pacific lobsters dangerously sexy. What's so attractive about the bivalve mollusk?

A few different theories are out there. Some say it’s because of their resemblance to sexual organs, specifically testicles[1]. Wikipedia cites an article that credits the high Zinc content in oysters. Zinc raises sperm and testosterone production[2]. Or maybe it’s a result of rich amino acids that trigger an increase in sex hormones?[3]

But most people have come to the conclusion that the effect is more psychological than anything else. I wonder too if its association with fine dining is part of its sexual mystique. It’s one of those foods a woman juuuust might put out for.

And I mean no offense to my company last Sunday, I didn’t exactly get aroused after eating my six oysters.

While it may be harder to put our finger on which foods turn us on, I can definitely identify what food items turn me off. Specifically, this.

What foods get you all hot and heavy?



Michael Greenberg said...

Testicles? I'd always felt that oysters had a more...ladylike resemblance. That speaks to the purely psychological, though.

Brillat-Savarin mentions the aphrodisiac qualities of seafood in general, but without much explanation; he cites an oyster scene in Casanova as an example, I think.

kitchenplay said...

In general, I do think that seafood is seen as sexier than beef or fowl... why, I don't know.