Lose yourself in Allende’s food porn
No book on the history of food better expresses the very adult pleasures of gastronomy than Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite. A gorgeous gorging on the sensuous power of food, Aphrodite is a combination memoir, encyclopedia, cookbook and myth tightly woven into all-consuming prose by one of the greatest literary minds of our time.
I love this personal journey into the world of aphrodisiac foods. It doesn’t delve too seriously into the history of aphrodisiacs. So if you’re just looking to learn more about the history of food, you’d be better served by some other, drier works, like Food in History. (Goodreads has a nice list.) But it builds a foundation for how food and sex mingle in modern, Western culture. Allende’s prose is brilliant. And her reflections on the topic are astute and surprisingly honest. The work is peppered with paintings in rich, vibrant colors and Allende’s poetry as well as a limited number of her personal recipes. (I’ve yet to try any of the recipes. But if you try them, let me know how they turn out.)
And if you’re interested in trying some of my aphrodisiac recipes, Romancing the Stove has some of my favorite recipes of all time.
This might be the best book on aphrodisiac foods ever written
I originally wrote this review in 2004. Since then, I’ve probably purchased at least 30 more books on the history of food as an aphrodisiac – I also wrote five aphrodisiac cookbooks in that time(!) Despite all that I’ve read and learned, I still believe that this memoir is the best book on aphrodisiacs ever written.
Mind you it is not the most thorough or most factual work on the subject. But it is without a doubt the most inspirational–and perhaps aspirational book on the topic I’ve ever found. So I thought it was worth dusting off this review to share it with you. Because this book will make anyone long to live in a world where food is a metaphor for sensuality.
Where to get this scintillating work on the history of food
Aphrodite is available in both hardcover and paperback editions through Amazon or your favorite book retailer. It is also available for Kindle.
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