Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

4.6 5
by Isabel Allende, Robert Shekter, Robert Shekter, Panchita Llona
     
 

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Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's

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Overview

Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's mother, poems, stories from ancient and foreign literatures, paintings, personal anecdotes, fascinating tidbits on the sensual art of foodand its effects on amorous performance, tips on how to attract your mate and revive flagging virility, passages on the effect of smell on libido, a history of alcoholic beverages, and much more.

An ode to sensuality that is an irresistible blend of memory, imagination and the senses, Aphrodite is familiar territory for readers who know her fiction.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Me apprepiento de los platos deliciosos rechazados por vanidad, tanto como lamento las ocasiones de hacer el amor que he dejado pasar por ocuparme de tareas pendientes o por virtud puritana", ya que "la sexualidad es un componente de la buena sauld, inspira la creatcion y es parte del camino del alma...Por desgracia, me demore treinta anos en descubrirlo.
Washington Post
Like a slow, seductive lover, Allende teases, tempts and titillates with mesmerizing stories and legends about gluttony—sexual and otherwise.
Village Voice
This breezy work has tidbits that titillate and those that inform.
New Yorker
Sex and food, once celebrated as two of life's great joys, suffer a lot of bad press these days. Genuine epidemics, coupled with monthly findings of new things that are bad for us, have pushed otherwise happy souls into programs of agonizing denial and, in severe instances, abstinence. Thankfully, in this sophisticated defense of pleasure, novelist Allende (The House of the Spirits) puts the joy back into eating and loving with all the panache that marks the best of her fiction. Though passionate about her subject, she remains consistently whimsical with this mix of anecdotes, recipes and advice designed to enhance any romantic encounter. As always, her secret weapon is honesty: "Some [aphrodisiacs] have a scientific basis, but most are activated by the imagination." Allende's vivacity and wit are in full bloom as she makes her pronouncements: "There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary."
Denver Post
A thoroughly researched and charmingly candid rumination on the only true and reliable pleasure of life: the sensual....Remarkably timely and delicious.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sex and food, once celebrated as two of life's great joys, suffer a lot of bad press these days. Genuine epidemics, coupled with monthly findings of new things that are bad for us, have pushed otherwise happy souls into programs of agonizing denial and, in severe instances, abstinence. Thankfully, in this sophisticated defense of pleasure, novelist Allende The House of the Spirits puts the joy back into eating and loving with all the panache that marks the best of her fiction. Though passionate about her subject, she remains consistently whimsical with this mix of anecdotes, recipes and advice designed to enhance any romantic encounter. As always, her secret weapon is honesty: "Some [aphrodisiacs] have a scientific basis, but most are activated by the imagination." Allende's vivacity and wit are in full bloom as she makes her pronouncements: "There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill"; "When you make an omelet, as when you make love, affection counts for more than technique." Her book is filled with succinct wisdom and big laughs. Despite sections titled "The Orgy" and "Supreme Stimulus for Lechery," Allende comes down emphatically for romance over sex and for ritual over flavor in a work that succeeds in being what it intends to befun from the first nibble to the last.
Library Journal
Stories, poems, and even recipes on the joys of food and sex.
NY Times Book Review
Me apprepiento de los platos deliciosos rechazados por vanidad, tanto como lamento las ocasiones de hacer el amor que he dejado pasar por ocuparme de tareas pendientes o por virtud puritana", ya que "la sexualidad es un componente de la buena sauld, inspira la creatcion y es parte del camino del alma...Por desgracia, me demore treinta anos en descubrirlo.
Entertainment Weekly
Allende lyrically muses, through memories and vignettes, on the best aphrodisiac of all: love.
Los Angeles Times
After her daughter died in 1995 from porphyria, a rare metabolic disorder, sadness and a "sensation that the world had lost its color" crushed her ability to write and her desire to enjoy life. Her new book, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, a lighthearted blend of memories, recipes and research on aphrodisiacs, is a celebration of the senses and a testament to her recovery.
Wall Street Journal
After her daughter died in 1995 from porphyria, a rare metabolic disorder, sadness and a "sensation that the world had lost its color" crushed her ability to write and her desire to enjoy life. Her new book, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, a lighthearted blend of memories, recipes and research on aphrodisiacs, is a celebration of the senses and a testament to her recovery.
San Francisco Chronicle
Aphrodisiacs of every eyebrow-raising stripe are the spicy matter of Aphrodite, a thoroughly charming non-fiction narrative by acclaimed San Rafael novelist Isabel Allende. Engaging, deliciously detailed and something of an aphrodisiac itself, Allende's wide-ranging mediation on the methodology of seduction is sure to excite as many literary appetites as libidinous ones.
Vanity Fair
Aphrodite serves up an erotic banquet of aphrodisiac recipes and steamy stories.
The New Yorker
Sex and food, once celebrated as two of life's great joys, suffer a lot of bad press these days. Genuine epidemics, coupled with monthly findings of new things that are bad for us, have pushed otherwise happy souls into programs of agonizing denial and, in severe instances, abstinence. Thankfully, in this sophisticated defense of pleasure, novelist Allende (The House of the Spirits) puts the joy back into eating and loving with all the panache that marks the best of her fiction. Though passionate about her subject, she remains consistently whimsical with this mix of anecdotes, recipes and advice designed to enhance any romantic encounter. As always, her secret weapon is honesty: "Some [aphrodisiacs] have a scientific basis, but most are activated by the imagination." Allende's vivacity and wit are in full bloom as she makes her pronouncements: "There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary."
The Village Voice
This breezy work has tidbits that titillate and those that inform.
The Denver Post
A thoroughly researched and charmingly candid rumination on the only true and reliable pleasure of life: the sensual....Remarkably timely and delicious.
Leslie Chess Feller
In Aphrodite, Allende turns the joyous preparation and consumption of fine food into an erotic catalyst; it culminates in a collection of serious recipes for your first - or next - bacchanal....Although Allende mentions exotica like shark fins, baboon testicles, eye of salamander and the urine of a virgin, her recipes use ingredients that "can be ingested without peril.
The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post
Like a slow, seductive lover, Allende teases, tempts and titillates with mesmerizing stories and legends about gluttony -- sexual and otherwise.
Kirkus Reviews
An elegant grandmother ponders the erotic side of food and the most delicious aspects of eros. The noted Chilean novelist Allende The House of the Spirits, 1985; Paula, 1995; etc. now lives in San Francisco. One day she put on dark sunglasses and a brassy wig and went down to a big porno shop in order to begin research for this "memoir." However, it's not a memoir in the usual sense; the graceful Allende doesn't kiss and tell. She is never crude or exhibitionistic, and she does not seek to shock her gentle readers. She aims to amuse, to titillate, and to entertain us with the lore of food and sex, a few choice morsels from her own experience and fantasy life, and occasionally to advise aspiring seducers and seductresses. This volume—part memoir, part research project, part cookbook—seeks above all to charm the pants off us, literally. And Allende has this ability. The tone of her prose is persuasively warm and inviting, but also down-to-earth: "The shells of oysters, those seductive tears of the sea, which lend themselves to slipping from mouth to mouth like a prolonged kiss, are hell to open. They can be purchased in bottles, but there they look like malignant tumors; in contrast, moist and turgid in their shells they suggest delicate vulvae." The tales and anecdotes she offers whet the appetites; and her tidbits of erotic lore are food at least for thought, and perhaps more. In addition, there are many recipes for sensual cooks, provided by her aged mother, Panchita Llona, and by the novelist's Spanish agent, Carmen Balcells. Illustrations, tastefully sensual, are provided by Robert Schechter. Peden's translation has verve and immediacy. Allende's "eroticmeanderings" give pleasure. She has a sure sense of the delicate relations between eros and writing. Her tact amplifies the eros that pornography kills.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060930172
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/1999
Series:
Harper Perennial
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
614,324
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

Champagne Tenderloin

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lean beef tenderloins
Salt and coarse black pepper to taste
2 heaping tablespoons large golden raisins
1 garni of assorted herbs
1 dove garlic
1/2 cup champagne
1/2 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes

A bottle of champagne is a lot for two normal lovers. There's always some left over, and once uncorked the bubbles dissipate and the champagne turns to a yellowish liquid with no soul or personality. Use the dregs for this recipe. Since it takes almost no time to prepare, you can have everything ready and--after heating up with caresses, champagne, and assorted hors d'oeuvres--the two of you can whip into the kitchen and make dinner in twenty minutes.

Preparation:

Heat the oil. Brown the beef on one side. Season with salt and pepper. Turn and brown the other side. Add the raisins, herbs, garlic, and champagne. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook 5 minutes more, and serve.


Sybarite

2 cups fresh figs, peeled
4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons ground walnuts
2 teaspoons cognac
1 pinch nutmeg
6 crepes
6 tablespoons creme Chantilly (whipping creme with powdered sugar and vanilla)

Preparation:

Shred the figs with a fork.� Combine with the sugar, walnuts, cognac, and nutmeg.� Fill the crepes with this paste and fold into squares.� Arrange on a serving plate and heat in the microwave for one minute.� Remove and top with the creme Chantilly before serving.

These delicious crepes are true concentrated aphrodisiacs.

Aphrodite. Copyright � by Isabel Allende. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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