Ah, a day for lovers and friends, or something mushy like that. I am a romantic at heart, anyone who knows me knows I can be a little silly about love though Valentine’s Day still tends to rub me the wrong way. It’s the greeting-card hype of it, the diamonds are the only way to really say I love you of it, the single rose at the gas station check out of it. Granted, all the major holidays in our consumer culture have been eaten alive by the spending-money-is-the-only-way-to-say-you-care beast. Whatever. I love the sweetness of a hand made card and a home cooked meal (don’t make the mistake of trying to eat out on Valentine’s Day). I also think that books (though, yes, they are purchased for the most part) are always appropriate. Buying a book for someone is a very intimate endeavor, or should be. I’m not suggesting you run to your local book megamart and purchase the most interestingly clad read on the New Arrivals table. When you give someone a book you are saying a great deal about yourself, what you think of that person and what your relationship means to you. If you give the love of your life Sex for Dummies for Valentine’s Day, I can guarantee a statement is being made loudly and clearly.
All this talk of books and love brings me to my real topic at hand today. Ten years ago I bought Intercourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook at my favorite bookstore haunt in Knoxville. I was 25, a grad student and, perhaps most importantly, a single mother with a toddler. I am probably still paying for it, considering I am certain to have paid for it with student loan money. I didn’t have anyone to make sexy food for. I was a fairly accomplished cook though with a much smaller repetoire than I have now. I bought it for the photographs and the stories of the recipe testers enjoying the food and each other. Let’s just be honest here and say when you are a 25-year-old single mom, no one, but no one, is interested in getting frisky with you. I recall more polite “ohs” about the kid factor than actual running away screaming moments, but… still. I poured over this lovely book and dreamed of having someone with whom to share all these delectable goodies and my charms.
Flash forward 9 1/2 years. The daily output of 27 Niagara Falls has passed under my particular bridge and I am a happily married woman with a tween son and culinary school project due. During his daily internet wanderings, Keifel stumbled over a blurb on a website asking for volunteers to test recipes for a new, tenth anniversary edition of Intercourses. I, of course, dashed off an email to the author and crossed my fingers. The reply to my email came quickly and Keifel and I received three recipes to test: black bean empanadas with mango salsa, fish tacos and coffee meringues. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, though the meringues wouldn’t set in our then sticky clime.
We dashed off our testing and tasting notes and waited. Last week a box arrived with copies of the new book, our gifts for having tested and tasted. And there we were in black and white above the recipes for the empanadas and the tacos. In some small way, it was completing a circle for that lonely 25-year-old. There is also the joy of having shared something fun and meaningful with someone who understands you and what makes you tic in the deepest possible way. Now that we have the new edition, I am certain there will be more cooking from it. It isn’t just a novelty idea, the recipes are for some amazingly sophisticated food and for some especially simple carbohydrate-filled snacks to replenish a tired, but still willing, body.
If you’d like to purchase The New Intercourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook for your very own library click on through and give foodieporn 2 cents in the process. I can guarantee you will enjoy the photography, the recipes and, very probably, yourself.