Monday, 12 July 2010

Excerpt from Book II (History of Men's Accessories) - A Short Guide For Men About Town

An aphrodisiac menu
There are a great many myths about aphrodisiac foods; the term deriving from the name Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, born out of the sea on the island of Cyprus. They range from freshly shucked oysters in their shells and conch chowder to the ground beetle powder of Roald Dahl's fictional Uncle Oswald and, of course, rhino horn. Maybe, some of them have been known to work but on the placebo basis; one genuinely thinks that the foods are aphrodisiac and therefore they become it! Honey has been reputed to be aphrodisiac since ancient times and, as already noted, the old alcoholic drink mead is made from honey. So, mead shall be the drink to precede this menu as a unusual apéritif.

Plain fresh oysters, retaining the juices and doused in Tabasco (or other hot pepper sauce), lime juice and black pepper and eaten with wholemeal bread and butter shall be one hors d'oeuvre and steamed asparagus with Cornish butter (sticky on the fingers) and pepper shall be the other choice. Both shall then share, with the same spoon, a bowl of clam chowder.

We shall choose a bottle of Diebolt-Vallois Fleur de Passion 1996 to take us from the hors d'oeuvre through the main course.

The main course itself might comprise a peppery, rocket salad, dressed in extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, Balsamic vinegar and black pepper and thin slices of hot ginger. Instead of bread rolls we shall have saffron buns (saffron from the innocent-looking little crocus is allegedly aphrodisiac and costlier, by weight, than gold) and, whether we choose a cold lobster or steamed langoustines in garlic and butter, we must find room for strong black truffles and tomatoes. If, however, we have more oysters, this time they shall be cooked in ginger and spring onions. In Brazil, boiled quail eggs are considered highly aphrodisiac, so we shall have a side-plate of these too.

For pudding we shall have a choice of passion fruit mousse (made of beaten condensed milk, fresh cream and passion fruit seeds) eaten with a great Sauternes and Death by Chocolate or a chocolate bombe, eaten with a couple of glasses of Taylor's 1970 Vintage Port. To finish we shall abandon even the great British cheeses, in favour of peaches and apricots, which contain anhydrotoxins, also supposedly, aphrodisiac. But if you have the time and the patience for a cheese, choose Gruyère or a Comte because that way you can send her eyes crashing through the ceiling with the dissolute sounding Bouzy Rouge.

If we need to take something to the bedroom, maybe it should be banana fritters in Cornish clotted cream and two crystal brandy balloons of pre-1914 Armagnac, a dish of Belgian cherry liqueur chocolates and a spoonful of Ginseng. Let's just hope that the headboard is soundly secured - and not too close to the wall…

For the morning there must be a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame Rosé Champagne, Vintage 1990, and two deep goblets; and my idea of 'the ideal breakfast', that I describe in Chapter 4, wheeled in … not a moment before 10 am.


  1. What a marvelous menu. What a fun book number II looks to be. When can we expect it? Redirecting my day so I can lunch at the local french bistro which has wonderful fresh oysters. HGB

  2. Book II is set for publication in January 2011.