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Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using exotic ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reawakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another surefire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.