Jan 29, 2020
by Kelly Smith, Agricultural Community Events Farmers Markets
With the month of February comes Valentine's Day. A day we all focus on love and being with that one special person. Since the early times cultures have written about ways to enhance intimacy with one another through the foods we eat. Eventually, the name aphrodisiac was given to those foods that were thought to enhance sexual attraction or potency after the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.
There is a Latin proverb that is loosely translated to, "love goes cold without food and wine." When looking at aphrodisiacs in our food I discovered that there are some that are immersed in centuries of folklore without evidence of actually encouraging love or sexual desire. Then there are some foods that have certain chemicals that release hormones like serotonin into the blood and to the brain and cause us to feel happy or love. There is also something to be said about enjoying certain foods so much that it causes you to enjoy life and enjoy the person you are with. A placebo effect can take place when combined with enjoying your food add in folklore that is surrounding a certain food suggesting its potency and voila! an aphrodisiac is doing what it was meant to do!
Here's a list of the foods known to be aphrodisiacs that you can find at the farmers market in February along with the myth of how they found themselves on this most desirable list:
Lemons - A lemon tree expends so much energy to produce its fruit and some species flower numerous times per year, lemons are a symbol of eternal love and faithfulness in marriage.
Oysters, mollusk and fish - All seafood is associated with the birth of Venus, Goddess of Love. Mythology says the phallus of the heavens fell from the sky and landed in the sea (the womb of Mother Earth). In doing so, it created thousands of species of fish. It also gave birth to a daughter named Venus (or Aphrodite). She was delivered to us on a shell and whenever her feet would touched earth, powerful plants and flowers sprang to life. Oysters are high in mineral and muscle building glycerin but much of their symbolism comes from the birth of Venus.
Nuts - Because of their hard, protective exterior, nuts are a symbol of longevity and marriage. The almond in particular associated with fertility because its trees are among the first to spring flowers each year.
Pomegranate - Also known as the "apple of love", the ruby colored fruit was once the basis for an aphrodisiac wine made by the ancient Greeks. It is often seen as symbol of unity, friendship and brotherly love because it carries so many seeds. You can still find a few pomegranates at the farmers market this time of year.
Honey - Bee Stings were said to be tiny wounds to the flesh by Cupid from his love inducing arrows. The association with Cupid sealed it's reputation as sweet treat for lovers.
Chocolate - There are chemical substances including serotonin in Chocolate that are also produced by our bodies when we fall in love. Plus it tastes great!
Apples- Before Adam and Eve apples were a symbol of love. In Greek myths, the athletic Atalanta vowed to marry any man who could beat her in a foot race. Hippomenes fell in love with her and asked Aphrodite for help. The Goddess of Love gave him three golden apples and instructed him to throw them on the track. Atalanta got distracted and lost the race. There a few apples to be found at the market this time of year. You may have to go to a larger market to find them. We do have a few local vendors with cold storage with apples at the year round markets in Sonoma County.
Happy Valentine's Day to all! May you love your food and may it be locally grown.
• about 16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving the tail on.
• 1 lime, cut in half, and then into thin wedges
• the juice of 1 lime
• chipotle chili powder
• salt and fresh cracked pepper
• seeds from one pomegranate
• 1/3 medium red onion, minced
• 1 jalapeno, minced, seeds and all
• handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
• uice of 1 lime
• pinch of salt
1. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water while you prep everything
2. Thread shrimp and lime wedges alternately on each skewer.
3. Preheat a grill pan until quite hot. Cook the skewers for about 2 minutes on the first side, and a minute or so on the second side until shrimp are cooked
4. As you take the shrimp off the grill, give it a good squeeze of lime juice and serve the shrimp immediately over a bed of lettuce with the pomegranate salsa on the side.
5. Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients and mix gently. Taste to adjust the amount of seasonings.
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