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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel…
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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses (1998)

by Isabel Allende

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English (9)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This book should be banned for people younger than 18; with that said I read it at 18 and found it grotesque. I enjoyed the recipes, some stories but the rest of the short stories and tales were horrific to me and quite sexual. I found it exaggerated and inordinate. Not my cup of tea. ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
This book should be banned for people younger than 18; with that said I read it at 18 and found it grotesque. I enjoyed the recipes, some stories but the rest of the short stories and tales were horrific to me and quite sexual. I found it exaggerated and inordinate. Not my cup of tea. ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
I was so taken by this book years ago, that I'm very interested in reading it again since I have no memories of what it was about, just that I loved it :) ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Che dire ? questo libro mi e' sembrato un' operazione editoriale; tanto ormai qualsiasi cosa firmata Allende si compra a scatola chiusa. Carino, in alcune parti anche spiritoso, ma nulla di piu'. ( )
  mara4m | Jun 8, 2011 |
No one author has ever done more to introduce me to the sensuality of food. And rice pudding, no less. There were many, many other foods mentioned, but that one will always stand out. This book is a biography, with interspersed recipes. Forget an island getaway - my idea of the perfect romantic weekend may involve this book, Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate, and a few recipes from Nigella Lawson. Ok, that's not ALL it would involve, but the way to the human heart is through the stomach, isn't it? That saying isn't just for men. (Or for people with a very poor grasp of anatomy - thanks, Terry Pratchett). Mmm, food....Figs, and oysters, and champagne, and a night under the stars... you should read this book. You won't be sorry. ( )
  AnnieHidalgo | Oct 28, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Her breath is like honey spiced with cloves, Her mouth delicious as a ripened mango.  To press kisses on her skin is to taste the lotus, The deep cave of her navel hides a store of spices What pleasure lies beyond, the tongue knows, But cannot speak of it. -- Srngarakarika, Kumaradadatta, twelfth century
Dedication
I dedicate these erotic meanderings to playful lovers and, why not? and also to frightened men and melancholy women
First words
I repent of my diets, the delicious dishes rejected out of vanity, as much as I lament the opportunities for making love that I let go by because of pressing tasks or puritanical virtue.
Panchita's aphrodisiac recipes: My mother is a woman with classic style and a tendency toward moderation.
Quotations
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
I cinquant'anni sono come
L'ultima ora del pomeriggio,
quando il sole tramontato
ci dispone spontaneamente alla riflessione.
Nel mio caso, tuttavia,
il crepuscolo mi induce al peccato.
Forse per questo,
arrivata alla cinquantina,
medito sul mio rapporto
con il cibo e l'erotismo,
le debolezze della carne,
che più mi tentano,
anche se, a ben guardare, non sono quelle
che più ho praticato.
Gli uomini che sono passati dalla mia vita - non voglio vantarmi, non sono molti - li ricordo così, alcuni per la qualità della loro pelle, altri per il sapore dei loro baci, l'odore dei loro indumenti o il tono dei loro sussurri, e quasi tutti sono associati a un alimento particolare. Il piacere carnale più intenso, goduto senza fretta in un letto disordinato e clandestino, combinazione perfetta di carezze, risate e giochi della mente, sa di baguette, prosciutto, formaggio francese e vino del Reno. Ognuno di questi tesori della cucina fa comparire davanti a me un uomo in particolare, un antico amante che ritorna insistente come un fantasma desiderato a infondere una certa luce malandrina nella mia età matura. Quel pane con prosciutto e formaggio mi restituisce l'odore dei nostri abbracci e quel vino tedesco il sapore della sua bocca. Non posso separare l'erotismo dal cibo e non vedo nessun buon motivo per farlo; al contrario, ho intenzione di continuare a godere di entrambi fino a quando le forze e il buon umore me lo consentiranno.
In queste pagine cercherò di vvicinarmi alla verità, ma non sempre è possibile. Cosa si può dire, ad esempio, sul prezzemolo? A volte bisogna inventare...
Passeggiando per i giardini della memoria, scopro che i miei ricordi sono associati ai sensi. Mia zia Teresa, quella che si trasformò lentamente in angelo e che quando morì aveva germogli di ali sulle spalle, è legata per sempre all'odore delle pastiglie alla violetta. Quando quell'incantevole signora faceva capolino per una visita, con il vestito grigio illuminato con discrezione da un colletto di pizzo e il capo regale incorniciato dalla neve, noi bambini le correvamo incontro e lei apriva con gesti rituali la sua vecchia borsetta, sempre la stessa, estraeva una scatoletta di latta dipinta e ci dava una caramella color malva. E da allora, ogni volta che l'aroma inconfondibile di violette si insinua nell'aria, la mia anima ritrova intatta l'immagine di quella santa zia, che rubava i fiori dai giardini degli altri per portarli ai moribondi dell'ospizio. Quarant'anni dopo ho scoperto che quello era l'emblema di Giuseppina Bonaparte, che si affidava ciecamente al potere afrodisiaco di quel fuggevole aroma che assale all'improvviso con un'intensità quasi nauseabonda, per sparire senza lasciare traccia e tornare immediatamente con rinnovato ardore. Le cortigiane dell'antica Grecia lo usavano prima di ogni incontro galante per profumarsi l'alito e le zone erogene, perché mescolato all'odore naturale della traspirazione e delle secrezioni femminili mitiga la malinconia dei più vecchi e scuote in modo irresistibile lo spirito dei giovani. Nel tantra, la filosofia mistica e spirituale che esalta l'unione tra gli opposti a tutti i livelli, da quello cosmico al più infimo, e nella quale l'uomo e la donna sono specchi di energie divine, il colore della violetta è quello della sessualità femminile e per questo motivo alcuni movimenti femministi l'hanno fatto proprio.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060930179, Paperback)

There is something about reading suggestive material that awakens the senses--too often ignored in the fray of modern life--and fires the imagination. Perhaps it brings us back to those breathless, palpitating moments from childhood when puberty was a rosy smudge on the horizon and sex was an abstract term. Aphrodite is a long, savory, enthralling ode to sensuality.

In this bawdy memoir-cum-cookbook, Allende has put together an apothecary of aphrodisiacs, from snake's blood and rhinoceros horn to the more commonplace and more palatable oysters, "those seductive tears of the sea, which lend themselves to slipping from mouth to mouth like a prolonged kiss ... can be purchased in bottles, but there they look like malignant tumors; in contrast, moist and turgid in their shells they suggest delicate vulvae--a prime example of food that appeals to the eye." Chapters such as "Alligators and Piranhas"; "Supreme Stimulus for Lechery"; "Bread, God's Grace"; "Forbidden Fruits"; and "The Saucy Way to Foreplay" offer categorical listings on the aphrodisiac qualities of meats, spices, fruits and vegetables, and alcohol. A few chapters into the book, one begins to wonder what foods aren't considered erotic: "the shape of the wheat head is considered phallic, which proves human imagination knows no limits." Wine (no surprise there) is recommended because "it lessens inhibitions, relaxes, and fosters joy, three fundamental requirements for good performance, not only in bed but at the piano as well." However, as in many situations, moderation is key: too much and you may find your guest asleep in the soup.

Allende dismisses nouvelle cuisine in favor of earthier foods and more satisfying portions. More than 100 recipes are provided, from sauces and soups to hors d'oeuvres, supplemented with her voluptuous commentary. Recipes such as Mykonos Sauce, with walnuts, pistachios, basil, garlic, and milk; Widower's Figs; Filet Mignon Belle Epoque; and Alicante Cream Soup, with leeks, shrimp, oysters, paprika, and cream will have you in an apron (and perhaps not much else) in no time.

"If cookbooks make up part of your library," Allende notes, "books on eroticism should, too." And what more delightful combination of the two than Aphrodite, which provocatively underscores the relationship between sustenance and sexuality, and the aphrodisiac qualities of watching a man cook: "[Women] suppose that if he can remember how many minutes frog legs can tolerate in the skillet, how much greater reason he will have to remember how many tickles our G spot demands." Spiced with litanies of lust and longing from Anais Nin, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda, and Lady Onogoro, and enriched with Allende's warm humor and lusty joie de vive, Aphrodite will tantalize your senses and engender lascivious grins. Recommended in delicious but moderate doses, this book is not for the faint of ... er, heart. --Jhana Bach

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Personal and idiosyncratic look at the intertwined sensual arts of food and love. Blends personal reminiscence with folklore, historical legends, literature and facts about the aphrodisiac powers of food and drink.

» see all 2 descriptions

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