I haven’t seen you in a long time, but I think about you every day. Forgive me for being blunt, but I still remember our last kiss.. your wide eyes and your crazy breath. I’m afraid to overdo it because I might appear as if I’m in love 😊 😊 😊
During our last meeting, you kept asking me to… tell you about aphrodisiacs. How they are used in the kitchen.
Well, you finally got it… Let’s get started
They say you are what you eat. What we put in our mouths and what goes into our stomachs has a direct effect on our hormones, brain, energy and stress levels. And some products have a much more pleasant effect – they increase sexual desire. These products are called aphrodisiacs. Knowledge of food that stimulates libido and enhances sexual sensations is passed down from generation to generation, and different products are considered strong aphrodisiacs in different cultures.
Of course, these products are not magical and do not solve serious health problems. Some increase body temperature and improve blood circulation, while others raise energy levels, so the senses are heightened. I won’t talk about: Panax ginseng, Turnera diffusa, Muira puama, Lepidium meyenii, Viagra, Pausinystalia johimbe or L-arginine, because that’s not my area. However, I can tell you about spices that are used as long-known aphrodisiacs.
According to the beliefs of Mexican Indians, frequent consumption of spicy paprika was supposed to increase sexual potency, and it was this pepper that became the symbol of Mexican cuisine. Chilli pepper was first brought to Europe in the times of Christopher Columbus, and in the following centuries, it began to be cultivated on a larger scale also in other countries.
Spicy pepper owes its sharpness to capsaicin, a substance that strongly warms and soothes pain; apart from it, it also contains vitamin C. The vegetable does not lose it even after drying or powdering. The stimulating properties of chilli are due to the brain’s reactions to the burning taste. Then the so-called endorphins are created, which cause a feeling of pleasure. Peppers have become well established in Europe; in Italy, it is called pepperoncino, in the Balkan countries and Hungary – czuszka.
However, it also has wide varieties in its homeland, differing in the intensity of its taste. In 1912, a scale of spicy food was even created, mainly used for peppers. It is called the Scoville scale and determines the level of capsaicin. The hottest chilli pepper is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch.
The most popular chilli varieties are:
- cayenne – fresh is often sold as “chilli peppers”, and dried as cayenne pepper;
- jalapeño – fresh and canned;
- tabasco – known as an ingredient of the sauce with the same called;
- habanero – one of the spiciest varieties of taste.
In Africa, the spicy Piri Piri pepper (Capsicum frutescens ‘African Devil’) is popular. It is a wild plant but also cultivated. The sauces prepared on this basis are very popular in African and Portuguese cuisine.
The bark of this Asian tree gained a reputation as an effective aphrodisiac as early as three thousand years ago; it was brought to Europe by Portuguese merchants. Ceylon varieties are considered the best. Cinnamon owes its strong aroma to essential oils. They work antiseptic, improve circulation and generally stimulate. Recently, it has been pointed out that systematically taking cinnamon can prevent some cancers, especially breast cancer.
Cinnamon is used to flavouring sweet rice and apple dishes, mulled wine and punch. Small amounts can be used to flavour stews, mutton, cooked fish and ham. A piece of cinnamon bark or even a pinch of ground cinnamon in a saucer is an effective home deodorant.
Nutmeg, i.e. the seed of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) originally growing in the Moluccas, according to some, reached Europe via Constantinople in the 6th century, according to others it was brought by the Crusaders. And as a spice, it immediately gained great recognition, although you had to pay a fortune for one scoop at that time. It was used as a remedy for rheumatism and flatulence and digestive disorders, as well as an abortifacient, finally began to be added to drugs to increase potency, as it enjoyed the opinion of an aphrodisiac and was even called the spice of lovers “. It was used on a larger scale in the kitchen only in the 15th century when Portuguese sailors almost monopolized the spice trade.
Nutmeg is traditionally used to season meats, bigos, Frutti di mare, as well as gingerbread, desserts and wines A pinch is enough to taste, in larger quantities it is hallucinogenic and causes unpleasant disturbances of consciousness, and in overdose, it can even be life-threatening.
The ginger rhizome in Asian culture has enjoyed the reputation as a strong aphrodisiac since ancient times, especially the fresh rhizome. It has been known in China for millennia. Ginger warms and stimulates the blood supply to the genitals, which increases erection and enhances the sexual experience of both sexes. It is almost a panacea: it supports digestion and blood circulation, stimulates appetite, reduces rheumatic ailments, and prevents nausea and motion sickness. Ginger tea effectively helps with colds and flu.
We add it to soups, rice, eggs, desserts, and compotes. In the Polish culinary tradition, it is a characteristic seasoning for tripe.
In the event of an overdose of ginger (tea, tincture, tablets), you may experience dizziness, drowsiness, nausea and heart problems.
The spice known as cardamom is the fruit of an Asian perennial with the Latin name Elettaria cardamomum.
Cardamom as an aphrodisiac stimulates the senses, but also facilitates digestion, strengthens the body and freshens the breath. The spice has an intense spicy, slightly burning taste and an equally intense smell, similar to the smell of camphor and eucalyptus. It goes well with drinks (coffee, tea), but it can also be added to compotes, baked goods, desserts and fruit salads.
Its advantages were already appreciated by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and its stimulating properties meant that in the Middle Ages even a special papal bull was issued prohibiting its use.
The homeland of this beautiful orchid vine is Central America, and the Aztecs knew that the smell of vanilla strongly stimulates men. It reached Europe in the time of Columbus, but despite efforts, it failed to grow here, as the flowers were pollinated by a special species of insects (and hummingbirds). It took three centuries to master artificial pollination and start cultivating it in other countries. The source of the aroma of vanilla is not its flower, but the fruit – an elongated pod. Let us remember that only natural vanilla is an aphrodisiac, not vanilla sugar, which is not an artificial product.
Saffron, today the most expensive spice in the world, is obtained from dried crocus stigmas; it takes more than 150,000 flowers to get a kilogram. Saffron as an aphrodisiac was already valued by the Assyrians, Phoenicians and Greeks. It was supposed to be particularly effective in the case of young maidens, it was believed that serving them dishes with the addition of this spice significantly reduces their resistance.
In old Poland, saffron was one of the favourite spices of the nobility; it was added to almost everything: from tinctures to cakes. Today, a little saffron adds flavour and colour to rice dishes, clear soups and cauliflower dishes. It is best to dissolve the saffron in a small amount of water or milk and then add it to the dish.
The name itself sounds promising because the Latin name of mint – Mentha – comes from the Greek name of the nymph Menthe (or Minte), who was the mistress of the god Hades. The underground ruler, when he got a bit bored with her affection and feared reproaches from Persephone’s wife, turned the smooth maiden into a herb with a refreshing scent (according to other versions, it was Persephone who turned her into this herb). In Arab culture, mint was a popular libido booster, hence harem owners often drank mint tea. A similar effect was also attributed to mint in France. Ba! It was even supposed to have magical abilities: put in bed, it ensured marital fidelity.
Today, we know mint as a medicine for gastric ailments, but in the folk tradition, drinking an infusion of freshly picked leaves was supposed to help with male impotence. The smell itself is refreshing, and fresh leaves are added to salads The fruit gives them a unique aroma.
Mustard is also supposed to warm up the heart and body, as well as the mustard produced from it, which has a reputation as an effective aphrodisiac from – a trifle! – more than two thousand years.
I hope you enjoyed this story. We will definitely try these spices when we meet. And not only…
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I will always think of you