Cookbooks and Sex?

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Sex in cookbooks? Surely not! Our mothers would be horrified to think that the very thought of sex (unspoken of course), might be lurking in some fashion in the tomes of the cookbooks on our shelves. Certainly, there could be no such insinuations in the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book of our yesteryears, could there? Of course not! Look at the angelic, contrived illustration of good old steadfast Betty….does she look like the kind of decent, God-fearing woman, who would even THINK of sex? Not!

I have a shelf in my cookbook library, The Vintage Cookbookery, which I have labeled ‘Sex’. Now, don’t misunderstand, this is just a genre, which I have decided certain of my cookbooks fall into very neatly, in a natural progression of sorts.

At the starting gate is “The Playboy Gourmet” by Thomas Mario. The edition I have was published by Castle Books in 1979, although the first edition was published in 1961 by Playboy.

"The Playboy Gourmet" by Thomas Mario, first published in 1961

“The Playboy Gourmet” by Thomas Mario, first published in 1961

The book was written for men. Now, for all of you 50 year olds with living parents, you will probably be getting squeamish thinking that your parents might have had a copy of this cookbook, initially published by Playboy (your Dad read it for the recipes). In the introduction to the book, the author says that :
“If bachelors, in the midst of women’s lib yet feeling very compatible with its aims, still enjoy advantages over women in the kitchen, they use these advantages not to prove they’re vainglorious Escoffiers among the distaff side but for the very opposite end – to draw women as well as men together warmly, to crack the same bottle, to share the same sumptuous trencher”.

Now, if that doesn’t sound like sex to me, I don’t know what does! Recipes include “Caviar with Hot Cress Cakes”, “Beef and Kidneys with Champagne”, “Lobster Stuffed with Crabmeat”, “Pate de Fois Gras in Port Aspic” among others. The men (presumed bachelors), must have held pretty high paying jobs, even in the 1970’s, to afford these luxurious dishes. Anything to get the attention of your date.

Next on my ‘sex’ shelf comes “The Party Girl Cookbook” by Nina Lesowitz and Lara Morris Starr, published in 2002. The foreword to the book is written by Gideon Bosker, author of “Patio Daddy-O”, who says that his recent sex change operation converted him to “…the double-X chromosome state of mind”, and is thus qualified to write the foreword. Of course, no party would be complete without some sexy drinks, including “Between the Sheets”, which has been around as long as my Dad had a little cardboard clock that read “Drink Time”, with all of the hours labeled “5”.

Running a close second with “The Party Girl Cookbook” is “Wild Women in the Kitchen” from The Wild Women Association, published in 1996. In the foreword, food is referred to as

‘…a constant lover….sweet-talking seducer lures women out of bed for many a late-night rendezvous, causing us to bask in the unforgiving light of the refrigerator as we eagerly devour leftovers’.

"Wild Women in the Kitchen" from The Wild Women Association, 1996

“Wild Women in the Kitchen” from The Wild Women Association, 1996

Ok, so leftovers are sexy. Chapters include ‘Alluring Appetizers’, ‘Sultry Soups’, “Enticing Entrees’ and ‘Passionate Punches’.

Janeen Sarlin and Jennifer Saltiel put together “50 Ways to Feed Your Lover’, with recipes by a number of contributing chefs. Also included are ‘ten simple secrets for seduction after the menu is planned.

"50 Ways to Feed Your Lover", by Janeen Sarlin and Jennifer Saltiel

“50 Ways to Feed Your Lover”, by Janeen Sarlin and Jennifer Saltiel

Naturally, the sex shelf would not be complete with a copy of the “Aphrodisiac Cook Book” by JonPaul Frascone and Mark Allen David, published in (shockingly!), 1975, featuring ‘meals to pep up your love life’, which include “Wills Tits” (made with beef rump, beer, bacon and spices), “Virility Cocktail” and “Duckling Casanova”.

Frontispiece from "The Aphrodisiac Cook Book", by JonPaul Frascone and Mark Allen, David, 1975

Frontispiece from “The Aphrodisiac Cook Book”, by JonPaul Frascone and Mark Allen, David, 1975

In 1970, Howard Austen and Beverly Pepper published “The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook”. “Myra Breckinridge” is a satirical novel by Gore Vidal, written in 1968 in the form of a diary and made into a movie in 1970.

"THe Myra Breckinridge Cookbook" by Howard Austen and Beverly Pepper, 1970

“THe Myra Breckinridge Cookbook” by Howard Austen and Beverly Pepper, 1970

The book’s themes included feminism, trans-sexuality, and sexual practices, among other issues addressed. Recipes include “Lovers Lamb Stew” and “Gay Divorce”.

Then, there is “Cooking in the Nude – Red Hot Lovers”, edited by Cameron Brown and Katherine Neale, published in 1987. Chapters range from “Warming Up” through “Cooling Down”.

"Cooking in the Nude - Red Hot Lover", edited by Cameron Brown and Kahterine Neale, 1987

“Cooking in the Nude – Red Hot Lover”, edited by Cameron Brown and Katherine Neale, 1987

Inevitably, along the way in many relationships, there will be the breakups and Erin Ergenbright and Thisbe Nissen even wrote a cookbook about it: “The Ex-Boyfriend Cook Book”, subtitled “They Came, They Cooked, They Left”.

"The Ex-Boyfriend Cook Book" by Erin Ergenbright and Thisbe Nissen

“The Ex-Boyfriend Cook Book” by Erin Ergenbright and Thisbe Nissen

The recipes were compiled from the authors’ boyfriends and the names were changed “…to protect the guilty, the innocent, the one’s we’re not yet over, the ones who haven’t gotten over us and the ones who don’t yet know they’re exes”.

If and when “the relationship” finally culminates in a long-term commitment of some sort, there is the cookbook “The How to Keep Him After You’ve Caught Him Cookbook” by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry.

"The How to Keep Him After You've Caught Him Cookbook" by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry

“The How to Keep Him After You’ve Caught Him Cookbook” by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry

Moving along to the finish line is “The Newlyweds’ Cookbook”, edited by Sharon Cochrane and published in 2006. Also at the finish line is “The Bride and Groom’s First Cookbook” by Abigail Kirsch, published in 1996, when “…the honeymoon is over and you begin your domestic life together…”.

By now, you can see what’s coming next, after the wild parties, the weeding out of the ‘no ways’, the courtship, the dating and everything else. Of course, this is based on the presumptuous notion, for this blog at least, that ‘commitments’ result in a perpetuation of the species.

"Cookbook for Girls and Boys", by Irma S. Rombauer, first published in 1946.  She also co-authored the very famous and long-lasting "Joy of Cooking"

“Cookbook for Girls and Boys”, by Irma S. Rombauer, first published in 1946. She also co-authored the very famous and long-lasting “Joy of Cooking”

Yes, indeed, it is “A Cookbook for Girls and Boys”, first published in 1946 and written by none other than the well known Irma S. Rombauer, author of the incredibly popular and long lasting cookbook, ‘The Joy of Cooking”.

So there you have it….from cradle to grave, so to speak. From the playboys and wild women to the picture of domestic bliss, all recorded in none other than… cookbooks.

Music is “Sensual Song” by Smooth Jazz – Sexy Saxophone Songs for Intimate Couples…

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 5,851. What next? More cookbooks, naturally (small ones !)
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