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The Way to Love’s Heart

Start with a little resveratrol, add tryptophane …

My mother was not always right.    
    But in hitting the nail on the head, she had far better accuracy than I credited.
    A woman who believed she could do anything, she invested even more of her capital in cooking than she did in looking good. And she looked very, very good.
    The way to a man’s heart is his stomach, she advised.
    Ohhh mother! I scoffed, for that was back in the day when I believed love sought you for yourself alone.
    I have since learned that in this wisdom she nailed it.
    On the feast of love, Valentines Day, this is advice worth taking. Especially if you’re among the third of Americans who say they are only “a little” — worse, “not at all” — satisfied with their sex lives.
    That sad condition is reported by the survey company Survata, which invites online newspaper readers to share their opinions for a fee. The finding is not entirely scientific, but it is thought-provoking.
    Could a lovely dinner improve a lovelorn love life?
    Like love, sex and reproduction, food is a biological necessity.
    Can the pleasure of one enhance the pleasure of another? Can a satisfied stomach lead to an enamored heart — and beyond?
    Tradition tells us that’s so, offering a rich menu of foods supposed over the ages to be aphrodisiac. Oysters, chocolate, coffee, honey, artichokes, avocados, figs and an assortment of Valentine-red comestibles, including wine, beets, chili peppers, pomegranates, strawberries and watermelon.
    How could you resist loving the person who serves you foods so delicious? Foods so amorously beautiful?
    Modern science adds chemistry to the equation of lovely foods and love. Each of these contains chemicals that promote wellbeing and enhance libido. Phenethylamine and tryptophan in chocolate, for example, boron in beets and resveratrol in red wine.
    Scientific my mother was not, but she knew a lot about love. She had well-fed husbands and admirers aplenty. On this subject, I’ve taken her advice, and the results are good.
    Odds on, your mother as well as mine believed in this old wives’ tale. Think about it. Who should know more about the love that binds a family than old wives, who had just that as their job descriptions?
    Cooking for love is a womanly art to which men aspire in this modern world. Equality is fine with me. I love a meal cooked by my husband.
    This Valentines Day, food writer Caiti Sullivan continues the womanly tradition, offering a four-course meal planned to unite eye, tongue, stomach and heart in a feast of love.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com