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“Have you ever thought that most any food can be aphrodisiac? Even ones that you never read about in the books?”

“For example?” he asked.

“Well, oils infused with herbs or chilis. Nuts with a crunchy, buttery glaze. Fettucini or spaghetti or even ramen. There’s something very sexy about noodles.” James laughed and said, “You mean the slurp factor?”

“Yes. Sucking the end of a long ribbon of pasta into your mouth, and the texture of an al dente noodle, that toothy bite. When I was a girl and read the expurgated children’s version of Gulliver’s Travels, I used to wish I was a Lilliputian, so I could dive into a bowl of soup or spaghetti and wrap myself round and round in the hot, wet noodles.”

He chuckled. “I’ll grant you, that sounds good.”

“Does it? We could try it on you. In fact, I have some lasagna noodles that would be perfect for cooking up with a really buttery alfredo sauce and rolling around–” He put two fingers over her lips.

“It’s getting late. Go upstairs and get in bed. I’ll finish clearing up.”*

I have a theory about noodles. I think they have been shortchanged when it comes to appreciation of their aphrodisiac powers. Consider:


Lady and the Tramp: the spaghetti scene. Click for source.

Too many foods are considered “aphrodisiac” because of their shape (asparagus, oysters) or their supposedly stimulating thermal qualities (ginger, hot peppers). By the rules of sympathetic magic, noodles (at least after they’re cooked) ought to be out of the running. BUT the true measure of an aphrodisiac food ought to be its impact on the senses, whether we crave it, and whether it’s fun to eat in bed.

Noodleporn1: Panfried udon noodles in garlicky hoisin sauce with mushrooms, faux chicken and coriander leaves. Click to enlarge!

The noodle: custom cannot stale its infinite variety. Other foods cloy the appetites they feed, but the noodle makes hungry where most it satisfies.


Noodleporn 2: Ginger tamari noodles with carrots, daikon, smoked tofu and scallions.


Noodleporn 3: fat udon with charred asparagus and tempeh in sesame oil.

*For the quotation at the beginning of the post, see my book New York Groove (second in a trilogy).