FOOD ARTICLES: Foods of
Love - Food Aphrodisiacs
The traditionally romantic holiday of Valentine's Day is upon
us. Here are a few tips to make yours especially romantic with
foods of love and sweets for the sweet. After you've finished
reading about the foods of love herein, take the Trivia Quiz
and learn about even more love foods. Don't miss the recipes
for a romantic interlude with the love of your life. But first...
There are several views on the history of Valentine's Day. One
is the story of Valentine, a physician also said to be a gastronomist,
who made his medicines more palatable by mixing them with herbs,
spices, honey and wine. The doctor was converted to a Christian
priest and began treating the blind daughter of one of Emperor
Claudius II's prison guards in an attempt to restore her sight.
Valentine was incarcerated for his religious beliefs, and after
his refusal to renounce Christianity, was executed by Claudius
II on February 14 in the third century.
Legend has it that he had fallen in love with his patient and
sent a note to the girl, signed "from your Valentine," before
his execution. Supposedly the girl's vision was posthumously-restored
by his treatment and faith at the very time she was reading
his last words. Valentine was canonized by Pope Gelasius in
496, and his feast day was celebrated until its removal in 1969
from liturgical calendars.
Other historians believe the holiday derives from the Roman
festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on February 15.
This was a fertility celebration of the Roman god Faunus, the
god of flocks and fertility, to ensure fertility and easy births
by the women of the community. One custom was for young maidens
to write love letters, which would be drawn by unmarried men
who subsequently courted the ladies.
Another icon associated with Valentine's Day is the ever-present
Cupid (aka: Eros and Amor), the little cherub who was the son
of Aprhodite, the goddess of beauty. The young, playful god
was known as the god of love, and is most often depicted in
art flying around with a bow and arrow, shooting love into the
hearts of the unsuspecting. Of course, Cupid and the heart became
the symbols of love and Valentine's Day.
Most likely, all these stories merged together over the centuries
to become the holiday we celebrate today.