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Bizarro Cookbooks: Venus in the Kitchen

Aiming to create a personal collection of culinary recipes extolling the "rejuvinating effects of certain condiments and certain dishes," Author Pilaff Bey's 1953 volume, "Venus in the Kitchen," (which, incidentally, contains a blithe introduction by Graham Green) contains a wide variety of preparations for a list of head-spinning stomach-churning aphrodisiac ingredients.

The usual suspects are present, of course (Oysters in Champagne, Wine Sauce for Game), as well as a host of recipes that sound nearly inedible (Marinated Sow's Vulvae, Filet of Skink). Curiously, although there's plenty of alcohol here, there's not a pip of chocolate, a substance reputed to have actual chemical stimulants that mimic feelings of love.

If you happen across a nest of fledgling pigeons and several male sparrows willing to part with their brains, you can try your hand at this romance-filled recipe. I'll stick with the far more pedestrian Oyster Cocktail, thanks.

Sparrows' Brains
Sparrows have always been praised as stimulants. Aristotle has written: "Propter nimium coitum, vix tertium annum elabuntur." Recommended also by the school of Salerno.

Whoever wants to test this should take several brains of male sparrows an half the quantity of the brains of pigeons which have not yet begun to fly. take a turnip and a carrot and boil them in chick-pea broth. Cut in little slices the turnip and crrot and put them in a deep pan with half a glass of goat's milk, and boil them till the milk is almost absorbed. Now put in the brains and sprinkle them with powdered clover seeds. Take off from the fire as soon as they come to the boil, and serve hot."

3.16.2005

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