Friday, April 10, 2009

Aphrodite by Isabel Allende

A song I am grooving to right now is Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake "Love, Sex, Magic." If Isabel Allende had anything to add, it would most certainly be FOOD.

In this fantastical yet non-fiction text, Allende outlines some of the most delectable, daring OR disgusting aphrodisiacs from across the world, complete with recipes. Consider, for example, honey (delectable) or bulls' testicles (disgusting). Allende goes further than food, however, also throwing into the mix some interesting facts from history, for instance Napolean's request that his beloved Josephine not wash her private parts. Allende continues to offer information in the form of certain words and phrases, such as the French "cassolette," which is a term for what Josephine would have cultivated if she followed Napolean's request. Other stories and factoids which Allende provides will truly tantalize, take my word for it. As a special treat, throughout the book is wonderful, sensual art.

Allende confirms what most women already know - that the sense of smell and ability to be stimulated through auditory ministrations are more heightened for women than for men, who are reputedly more visual in their "tastes." Paraphrasing Allende - women's g-spots are their ears, no lower; words are aphrodisiac.

I've come up with a Lover's List, items of advice that are based upon Allende's stories and information, which applies to both food and love(making). Here it is:

1.) Delay gratification.

2.) Create variety.

3.) Cook together.

4.) Laugh.

5.) Include and enjoy scent.

6.) Dress up, wear lingerie.

7.) Eat with your hands.

8.) Enjoy formality and manners occasionally as well as wild abandon at times.

9.) Eat slowly occasionally, ravish at times.

10.) Use herbs and spices.

11.) Speak, talk, use words, make sounds.

12.) Play music.

By the way,

fe·cun·di·ty (f-knd-t)
1. The quality or power of producing abundantly; fruitfulness or fertility.
2. Productive or creative power: fecundity of the mind.


phil·ter also phil·tre (fltr)
1. A love potion.
2. A magic potion or charm.
tr.v. phil·tered also phil·tred, phil·ter·ing also phil·tring, phil·ters also phil·tres
To enchant with or as if with a philter.

(two words I learned - I'm embarrassed that they were new to me.)

Finally, I must say that, at times, Allende comes across as an annoying dinner guest, regaling the other guests with her stories of wild experiences in far off places, complete with orgies, while the dinner guests at some point begin rolling their eyes while taking puffs from short cigarettes at the end of long black cigarette holders. I think even Allende is aware of this, because she does at times correct the appearance she is giving off with some direct, self-deprecating truth.

This collection of stories, facts and recipes is of notable interest to those who already have an interest in two of my favorite topics: sex and food. This book is for those with a more sophisticated taste - Allende herself occupies a very clear difference between erotica and porn. While some of it is shocking, Aphrodite is the former. - 4 stars p.s. - The dessert section of the recipes is the best.


Amanda said...

Sounds...strange. I've yet to read anything by Allende, but I think I'll be skipping this one.

Christina said...

I haven't read anything by Allende either. She did write a Zorro novel. Many who read it, didn't like it. Based on what they mentioned, I don't think I would like it either. If my TBR ever becomes manageable, I might try it out. But as of now, it's extremely low on the list of possibilities. Quite a shame because I love Zorro.

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