Arenque con Huevo (Herrings and Egg) is an example of how exotic foods ended up in Dominican cuisine, this is a dish with reputed aphrodisiac properties. What do you think?
Since the dawn of time, people have associated certain foods, fruit, and vegetables with sex. Arenque (codfish), for reasons unknown, has this reputation in the Dominican Republic.
The ancient Greeks and Romans who were famous for their bacchanals and orgies even had treatises and writings about the effects of various foods on their libidos. Some of these beliefs, whether true or not, endure to this day. There is not much in the way of scientific proof, but we have some anecdotal information for you if you care to read on…
Our bias is towards the natural, so let's start with fruit and vegetables that are popularly believed to have aphrodisiac qualities. We trust that you will use this information responsibly!
- Strawberries: not much use on their own but smothered in chocolate or chantilly cream they come into their own.
- Dates: in Iran dates are believed to revive those at the sunset of their sexually active years.
- Peaches: for the Chinese, peaches have always been considered the sexiest fruit. Closer to home, French painter Edouard Manet immortalised them in his masterpiece 'Dejeuner sur l'herbe' where a woman in her birthday suit enjoys a sensual picnic of peaches.
- Figs: favorites of Cleopatra, legendary lover of legendary men. The Greeks, who needed no excuses for a celebration, would hold ritual orgies at harvest time.
- Bananas: their aphrodisiac "qualities" are determined by their shape. No need to expand on this one…
- Grapes: perfect for the "morning after". Combine green and black, preferably seedless. We recommend that you share.
- Orange: orange blossoms are universal symbols of virginity and purity. Surprise your lover with a bunch of these fragrant blooms. If that sounds tacky, seduce him/her with orange segments drenched in Grand Marnier. Hot stuff!
There are also some vegetables in this category: asparagus for example for its phallic shape and its diverse possibilities for taste and presentation.
It is said that some shellfish have dramatic effects. Many a prospective Don Juan has indulged in marine delicacies before embarking on an amorous adventure. Before the days of Viagra, nothing worked better. The power of shellfish is attributed to high phosphorus levels because after eating, you are turned on!!! Some common examples include conch (lambí), prawns, and oysters, to name a few.
Caviar, that mass of tiny black eggs from the sturgeons of the Russian seas, has always been linked with the ultimate romantic encounter, in the movies at least.
When listing foods with a reputation for sensuality, we cannot forget honey (or royal jelly which apparently is explosive), chocolate, champagne or truffles. Of the latter, Brillat Savarin, the greatest gastronome ever, said in 1825 that truffles 'are expensive and thus little known but much enjoyed'.
Himilce Tejada is a Dominican cookery and lifestyle writer for several magazines and newspapers. This was originally published by Diario Libre Newspaper, and translated by Aunt Ilana. Reproduced with permission from the author.
Arenque con Huevo (Herrings and Egg) Recipe
- 1 lb [0.48 kg] of salted , smoked herrings
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small red onion , cut into strips
- 1 bell pepper , cut into strips
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or more, to taste)
- Soak the herrings in a gallon of water overnight. Discard the water, and rinse the herring a couple of times.
- Boil the herrings over medium heat in 2 qt [2 lt] of water till cooked through (about 15 minutes). Remove the herring from the water. Discard water.
- Flake the herrings, reserve.
- In a pan heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until they become translucent. Add the bell pepper and herring and cook until the bell pepper is cooked through. Add the eggs, cook and and stir until eggs are set.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with boiled yuca (cassava)