Amorous Almonds? . . .
Promised Potency!
The secret of sexual hot buttons may not be all that magical. Recipes that promised potency are, for the most part, selected foods, herbs, and spices that basically make up a wholesome and healthy diet. Combined with physical activity promotes a natural sexual vitality simply by inducing enhanced blood flow, giving a heightened state of well-being. This has stopped us from seeking out the extra bit of fuel for the fire in the body furnace.

In our neverending search for that special love potion, we are discovering in history that some of the finds were as plentiful as the were peculiar. We are reminded that in ancient Rome, love concoctions of all kinds were sold publicly.

Among the ingredients enjoyed were starfish, remora (sucking fish), dried human marrow, and dried animal blood. In the Middle Ages, alchemist sold a putative aphrodisiac of which gold itself was an ingredient. The mixtures were known as “potable gold” were consumed in the form of a beverage, the preparation to be taken in daily doses.

A surefire aphrodisiac preparation during the time of Nefzawi (who developed discourses on sexual magic) included almonds. Hopefuls were instructed to eat 20 almonds, 100 grains of pulverized pine tree, combined with a glassful of very thick honey, just before bedtime. Heightened sexual vitality was said to be theirs after consuming this tonic for three consecutive days. Even today, almonds are the topping of choice on Asian fertility cookies. Who can argue with that?


This delicate soup dates back to a 16th century cookbook, the first in the Spanish language, written by Ruperto de Nola, chef to King Ferdinando. (I can't find any endorsement from the King himself, except that he fathered 9 children, apparently making a bit of a point.) Serve it hot as a first course with a wink and a prayer, and a leap of faith . . .

    1/4 c. Ground almonds
    1 c. Whole Milk
    2 Tbls. Fresh white bread crumbs
    1 Tbl. Butter
    1 Tbl. All purpose flour
    1 qt. Chicken stock
    Salt, cayenne pepper, ground mace (can substitute ground mace with ground nutmeg)
    1 c. Whipping cream or half-and-half
    Slivered almonds (a few)
    1 Tbl. Butter

1. Put the ground almonds with the milk in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
2. Add the crumbs and simmer for 3 minutes more. Then liquidize and rub to a purée with a spoon.
3. In a large pan, melt the butter, add the flour, and stir it in. Then stir in the almond purée.
4. Gradually add the stock and when you have a smooth soup, season with salt, cayenne pepper and ground mace.
5. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Heat through gently.
6) Fry the slivered almonds to a golden brown in the tablespoon of butter and scatter them on the soup just before serving.

Fingers crossed... ;)

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