Valentine's Day is around the corner, which means gift shops are dusting off the sexy cookbooks again. You can find them between the peony candles and chocolate body paint.
Sexy recipes are often based on the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of things like oysters, asparagus, bananas and brie. Many of them also encourage you to use your partner's body as a dip bowl. Lord knows why. Shakespeare was right when he said: "If music be the food of love, there's no reason to cover your chest in corn relish."
Anyway, here are some old and new classics of the genre to float your love boat this V-Day.
Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook, Amy Reiley, Life of Reiley Publishing
According to the back cover of this recipe book designed to "promote overall sexual health", Amy Reiley is the leading American authority on sensual food. The author has a Masters of Gastronomy and backs this up with recipes for "warm lobster-stuffed zucchini", vanilla-scented sea bass and "moist mango meatloaf". Dig in.
InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, Martha Hopkins, Hamlyn
This was such a hit in the US and Australia when it was published in 1997, a 10th anniversary edition was commissioned for bridal showers everywhere. The recipes don't look too gross on paper (orange panna cotta, say) but, gee whiz: that title.
Beau Cook's Food Porn, Beau Cook
Beau Cook is a firefighter from Canberra who made it to the MasterChef top eight in 2012. Food Porn, self-published by Cook in November, is essentially a celebration of getting starkers and making tacos. "For me the true meaning of food porn is the combination of food and sex," says Cook in a media release. "I would love to see more people getting naked and having fun in the kitchen."
Food Porn is rich with pictures of bare-arsed models holding fruit (grapefruit, rockmelon, more bananas than a Coffs Harbour postcard rack) in positions that an 11-year-old would acknowledge as objectively hilarious.
Recipe titles are injected with a similar dose of school camp humour, such as "Sticky Fingers" (honey chicken wings), "Spicy Root" (Cajun-spiced vegetables) and "Hummusexual". "If you're going to rub this all over your body, just beware of the chilli around sensitive areas," cautions Cook of the harissa-spiked chickpea dip. Thanks, mate.
The Cookie Sutra: An Ancient Treatise that Love Shall Never Grow Stale Nor Crumble, Edward Jaye, Workman Publishing Company
A collection of gingerbread men photographed in different positions from the Kama Sutra. Yeah, I don't know either.
Lust at First Bite, Ross Holland and Melissa Horton, Better Energy
I was once in Tamworth for work at short notice and found myself staying at a hotel where each room had a different sexy theme. My favourite was the medieval dungeon with lino "brick" walls and whips hanging from a 3M hook above the bed. I reckon if Lust at First Bite had been published at the time, it absolutely would have made an appearance in this hotel's guest lounge. Right next to the bowl of Mitsubishi Lancer keys.
"Whether you've been married for 30 years or are just beginning to date, Lust at First Bite book will tempt your taste buds and ignite the hunger in your relationship," claims the book's media release, but I'm not so sure. Creating "a masterpiece of desire using a canvas, bold paints and your bodies as brushes, with three colourful fruity dips" seems a bit much for a second date.
Recipe highlights include "Tie Me Up Tiramisu", "Playful Paella" and a "Puff Pastry Love Log" made with leftover curry.
Intimacy on the Plate: 200 Aphrodisiac Recipes to Spice Up Your Love Life at Home Tonight, Olga Petrenko, Identity Publications
Still chasing that perfect recipe for fish fondue with banana sauce? Here it is.
Tender is the Moment, uncredited freelancer wondering what life decisions led to writing a fried-chicken sex book, KFC
Public relations companies love sending ridiculous promo items to media companies and this romance novel focused on a woman's love for KFC is about as bonkers as they get.
An excerpt: "Sandra wiggled excitedly in her seat, perhaps because she knew that this was it – that greaseproof paper-thin moment before countryside etiquette would disintegrate into a forthright burst of passion; that courteous invitation fried so deep in southern hospitality. Now was the time to answer… 'one Original Tenders box, please'."
There are only 30-odd pages of text as most of the book is hollowed-out to hold surprise fried chicken. I placed my media copy into storage two years ago, hoping that one day it would become a fast-food collector's item like those McDonald's cheeseburgers that turn into robots. This is probably not going to happen so the book is anyone's for $5. Will also throw in a Red Rooster trucker cap. Email me.