Wow. I hope I'm invited.
My dictionary defines an aphrodisiac as something that "excites sexual desire." While some aphrodisiacs are rooted in science, and some perform by analogy -- such as the vulva-shaped oyster -- I would say most are stimulated through erotic imagination and faith.
Aphrodisiacs are the bridge between voracious appetites of the gourmand and carnal appetites. Every culture throughout history has had its own allegiance to certain foods said to increase (ahem) genital joy. In Asia, a concoction made with rhinoceros-horn powder is said to transmit sexual power, while in Africa, lion's balls are praised as infallible stimulants.
Kroger rarely keeps lion testicles stocked, and recipes for preparing them are even harder to come by.
Apples: The most recognized symbol of temptation is the forbidden fruit. What's more sexually stimulating than something we're not supposed to have?
Coconut: Believed to increase quality and quantity of semen. My cup runneth over.
Dates: Provides energy and erotic potency in men. Think harems, and you can see why they are so popular in the Middle East.
Peaches: The most eloquent model of a female ass in all of nature.
Pomegranates: In some Eastern texts, associated with fertility ceremonies. Along with the apple, the pomegranate is the symbolic fruit of Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual ecstasy and youth.
Raspberries: Dainty and elegant fruit nipples. Everyone is turned on by nipples.
Tomatoes: Red, juicy, sensual flesh. No wonder it's called the "love apple."
Asparagus: The best thing about this phallic vegetable is in its easy preparation -- straight from the pot to the mouth. Be careful not to overcook. No one likes a wilted spear.
Beans: Long considered an erotic stimulant, beans were banned from a well-known convent to prevent inappropriate excitement. Call it Nuns Gone Wild.
Garlic: Given to athletes during the Olympic games of ancient Greece for its medicinal and erotic properties. For many of us the simple route is: Garlic = Italians = Amore.
Onion: Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Arabs were hip to its powers long before Anglos got a hold of it. In one ancient story of the Middle East, after the hero ate a plate of onions, he remained erect for a solid month. Be careful what you ask for.
These are just a few of the ingredients I gave my friend as suggestions for a supper to make her date sing. The actual list of aphrodisiacs is so daunting that potentially everything we eat has sexual merit!