Brightly colored light lunch cobbled together earlier this week to offset a characteristically February temperature retreat.
Simmered carrot bits that had been frozen for safe keeping with cubes of tofu in the ginger-garlic broth reserved from our Hainanese chicken rice adventure. Blended until creamy-frothy then served with charred pickled okra + cilantro leaves for texture + color. For how simple + last-minute this was, a surprising hit!
Being Valentine’s Day, I’m detouring to explore a different kind of appetite: the history + science of aphrodisiac foods.
Derived from Aphrodite — born from the sea foam, rising up nude, a fully grown woman — the term ‘aphrodisiac’ may have originated as a reference to the seduced followers of this Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure + procreation. Over time the term became associated with ingredients said to increase desire, some merely by powers of suggestion (ahem, asparagus, banana + eggplant).
Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate. ― Alan D. Wolfelt
While scant evidence exists to confirm that certain foods actually boost libido, stripping down the research reveals that many of the so-called aphrodisiacs contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes or fatty acids vital to sexual + reproductive health. Others are rich in nutrients that interact with neurotransmitters + endorphins in our brains, with blood flow, with hormone levels — all required by the body to promote feelings of mental, emotional + physical arousal.
Grab a cool glass of water + your meal planner, and read on for an intimate look at my top ten really good mood foods — plus sweet + savory recipes to celebrate each.
The custom of predicting the persistence of winter or an early spring by observing a groundhog at sunrise likely predates the first official Groundhog Day in 1887. The superstition is rooted in the ancient Christian holiday Candlemas, celebrated on 2 February — the midpoint between the winter solstice + the spring equinox:
“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.”