We all know that music is the food of love. Crank up the playlist of your favorite yummy, romantic pop confections (I recommend 311’s “Peaches and Cream”) as you savor this list of the other foods of love.
1. Chocolate. This classic is a favorite for its nostalgic value, reminding many of the candy passed out on childhood Valentine’s Days. We also love chocolate for biochemical reasons. According to intimacy expert Dr. Dorree Lynn, it’s the seratonin in chocolate that gives us such pleasurable feelings. For an extra kick, try chocolates that contain red peppers, like Lindt’s Chili Noir dark chocolate bars. They have trace amounts of capsaicin, which causes the body to release endorphins, also a feel-good chemical.
2. Raw honey. More than simply a sweet food, golden honey is a symbol of the sweetness of life…and love. The ancient Egyptians initiated the practice of celebrating a marriage with honey foods - allegedly the basis of the word “honeymoon.” Raw honey also puts a little extra spring in your step; it contains B complex vitamins that are a good source of energy.
3. Strawberries. An American Indian legend tells of how the first man won over the first woman when she slowed down long enough to eat some strawberries. They’d been specially designed by the Great Spirit to resemble the human heart, thus touching the woman’s emotions. Its heart shape and color make the strawberry the perfect Valentine’s Day food. Bonus: For all you candy-cravers, the Just Born company makes heart-shaped marshmallow Peeps candy in strawberry crème flavor for Valentine’s Day.
4. Mangoes. A ripe mango comes in beautiful colors, shades of tropical red, orange, green and yellow. Its juicy texture and powerful flavor make it a fruit-lover’s favorite. Removing the pit can be messy, so sharing a mango is a great activity for a two-person bathtub.
5. Animal crackers. The romance of this childhood favorite dates back to the 1998 film Armageddon. When Ben Affleck’s character used little animal-shaped cookies to seduce Liv Tyler’s character, the animal cracker grew up. Zoo critters crawling across your loved one’s skin are a playful way to initiate contact.
6. Vanilla. “Vanilla” may be used a synonym for bland or commonplace, but the skinny black bean’s homeland is the exotic isle of Madagascar. Its ability to complement other flavors make it a great ingredient in everything from cupcake icing to vodka. Like chocolate or honey, vanilla foods symbolize sweetness. And yes, vanilla crème is the other flavor in which you can find Just Born’s Valentine’s Day Peeps.
7. Sushi. You don’t have to strip down and wear it like Sex and the City’s Samantha to appreciate the art and craft of this fresh-tasting, handmade food. Not a fan of seafood? Many varieties of sushi are vegetarian or vegan.
8. Pomegranate. Another messy fruit that can be fun in the bathtub, the pomegranate plays a role in one of the great love stories of ancient Greece. When Zeus arranged a marriage between Hades, the god of the Underworld, and Persephone, the goddess of springtime, Persephone was miserable. That is, until she ate the seeds of a pomegranate Hades offered her. She fell in love and went on to become the powerful queen of the Underworld, the one to whom the ancients prayed for the salvation of their souls. (For a wonderful written version of this myth, read Songs on Bronze by Nigel Spivey.)
9. Cinnamon. The smell of cinnamon is inviting, making many people feel relaxed, comfortable and at home. Of the many foods that cinnamon complements, perhaps the most inviting is the cinnamon bun. Relatively quick and easy to make, cinnamon buns baking in the oven create an atmosphere of romance.
10. Bread. Like cinnamon, warm bread is a homey comfort food. Whether handmade or artisan bread from a bakery, small loaves are perfect for a couple to share with a little butter or olive oil for dipping. After all, it was about bread and love that the poet Omar Khayyam wrote, in Edward Fitzgerald’s famous 1859 translation:
“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou,
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”
Fleetwood, Jenni. Honey. London: Hermes House, 2008.
Lynn, Dorree, Ph.D. “Organic = Orgasmic.” AARP TV’s My Generation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Matisse, Loralei. “Vitamins in Pure Raw Honey.” http://www.livestrong.com/
Michelle. “Valentines’-Themed Peeps.” http://candyaddict.com/blog/
Peel, M.A. “A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou.”
Author biography: Erin O’Riordan writes hot and steamy romantic fiction. She works in food and drinks however she can in stories like “Oliver’s Famous Clam Chowder” and “Cinnamon Honey Bear.” Visit her book blog at http://www.erinoriordan.