Salivating over filet mignon. Nibbling on strawberries coated in chocolate. Sucking a raw oyster out of its shell.
What is it about food that sometimes makes us think about sex?
“They both offer instant gratification, certainly,” says celebrity chef David Rocco, whose new cookbook Made In Italy contains more than its fair share of romantic fare. “(Food and sex) will offer that stimulus. And I think that they’re both sensual acts. We have our cravings, and all of that.”
This might go some way towards explaining why I recently passed a dateless Saturday night spooning wads of Nutella into my face.
But it’s not simply the act of eating that can quench physical needs or conjure lustful thoughts. The art of cooking itself can sometimes feel erotic – even primal.
“Cooking is very sensual,” says Rocco. “For example, making tomato sauce, I use peeled plum tomatoes and squish them up with my hands…there are textures that conjure up certain thoughts. And even in our cookbook, we like to show shots of the hands touching the dough…there’s a real connection to the sense of touch, just as you would have with your partner.”
Nothing makes me think more about the connection between food and sex than watching celebrity chef Chuck Hughes in action.
“Eating is something that I do obviously because I need to do it, but I also do it for pleasure as much as I possibly can,” says Hughes.
Fanatics of the burly, dimpled and wildly charismatic host of Chuck’s Day Off know the man sports an arm tattoo of the word “oysters” encased in a heart.
So are oysters really an aphrodisiac?
“I love oysters a lot and I’ve read about them,” Hughes says. “There’s an actual reason why they’re known to be an aphrodisiac. It’s because of their iron content.
“But they’re in their own little packaging, each one is very unique and there’s no real way to eat them without opening them up and getting involved,” Hughes says. “And I think that whole process, especially if you want to relate it to sex, in terms of an experience with someone…I think there’s something super sexy about that.”
Tell us more…
“If you’re on a date and shucking for somebody, there’s definitely a sense of working to make their pleasure even better,” Hughes says.
Anyone have a cigarette?
Hughes thinks you can tell a lot about a person, both in and out of the bedroom, by the way that they interact with their food.
“Food is actually very personal,” he explains. “What you may like, somebody else may not like. Normally when I meet someone…I’ll analyze who they are by the way they eat. Whether it be the way they hold their fork or how they use their knife or how they eat, I think says a lot about a person.
“And when you’re in a kitchen cooking, whether you’re in a couple or you’re on a first date, I always find those experiences great because you really get to know the person very quickly,” he says. “For me, a girl who eats like seafood and gets dirty eating crab legs, I find that really sexy.”
In that case, I’ll have the lobster. Extra butter. And I’ll pass on the bib, thanks.
Chuck Hughes and David Rocco will be appearing in Toronto Saturday and Sunday alongside host Bobby Flay as part of the Chef’s Challenge For A Cure.
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – at Sexytypewriter.com.