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Mood Food: The Science Of Sensual Eating

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DURHAM, N.C. — Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and nothing gets things cooking like an aphrodisiac. There is actually a lot of research on the science of sensual foods.

Certain foods are known to trigger a sensual response through taste and smell.

Chocolate is considered the first aphrodisiac. History has it that the Aztec leader Montezuma would drink 50 cups of chocolate a day to service his harem of 700 wives.

However, chocolate is not the only aphrodisiac.

Welcome to Aphrodisiology 101, a cooking class that just might put the sizzle back in the kitchen and keep the flames of passion burning.

"Each individual is going to have a totally different aphrodisiac magnet," chef Norman Dunlap said.

Dunlap created a five-course love potion that includes prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, tomato basil soup, lamb chops, and pine nut pie and wine.

"If it stimulates the brain and stimulates the body language, then it's an aphrodisiac for you," Dunlap said.

Lois Ferguson wrote a book exploring the link between food and sensuality.

"I think it's about time that we realize that it's one of the pleasures of life," she said. "The nerve endings and cells in our tongue are similar to our erogenous zones. So that's really where food and pleasures are connected."

Ferguson said that while taste is important, do not discount the sensuality of smell.

"Think of the aroma of a strawberry and biting into that juicy red strawberry. Red is the color of passion," she said.

Studies show that men and women have different takes on what smells turn them on.

"What they found was that the smell of cucumbers for women, and for men it was pumpkin pie," Ferguson said.

With three children, class participant Gerty Ward said that romance is more important than ever.

"After 14 years, you're always looking for something new," she said.

The experts said experimentation is the key to keeping romance alive. Dunlap suggested using seasonings like rosemary and garlic -- even edible flowers.

"So you're spicing your life up every time you turn around," Dunlap said.

This is one class where no one minds doing homework.

Aphrodisiology 101 is part of

Academy Nights

, a series of seminars sponsored by

Durham Academy



Ken Bodine, Photographer
Andrea Moody, Producer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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