The Sensual Kitchen

I know it’s Christmas and my heart is supposed to be brimming with love for all humanity, along with the joy of the season, but honestly, all I can think about is sex. 

Photo and Art by Wendy Babcox
It’s not that I am anticipating a certain ho-ho-hoing this season (I am), but that the act of making food is naturally erotic for me.  Lately, I’ve realized how much of my sensual, sensate life is focused on the meals I eat and share. For special occasions (holidays and pretty much any time my city-dwelling boyfriend visits), I spend more time than I care to say day-dreaming menus that fit together like perfect, seamless puzzles.  There’s not only tastes (pungent, bitter, salt, sour, sweet) but textures (soft, melting, crisp, firm, yielding, creamy)—you get the idea.  I like to think about how flavors build from one mouthful to the next, how courses have a rhythm and pacing:  one teases and tempts, while another lets you immerse yourself body and soul in the experience.  Think of meals, from planning to execution and ingestion, the way you do foreplay:  touching leads to kissing, and kissing leads to well, a whole range of pleasures.

Photo and Art by Wendy Babcox
This holiday season, I’m taking back the sensate world.  And I’m initiating a food manifesto.  I know the holidays are a naturally nostalgic time, but let’s face it, most of us are disappointed by what we think it should be like or how it’s never going to be like the time when…. So I’m invoking Ram Dass and suggesting we all Be Here Now.  Instead of the memories associated with food, let us immerse ourselves in the experience of food.  I, for one,  intend to wrap myself around touch and taste and smell.  It could be anything:  the satisfyingly acrid scent of a cup of dark coffee when the snow is a foot deep and the house hasn’t yet been warmed by the wood stove; the pleasingly dimpled skin of Clementines slipped into Christmas stockings; the pungent taste of lamb chops that opens ups, becoming a revelation, when paired with a good Pinot Noir.

This holiday season, take time to savor what’s in your mouth and on your plate.  Pay attention to the rippled and softy hairy texture of raspberries in your mouth, the unmistakable scent of garlic, how sugar crunches so satisfyingly between your teeth.  Roll dough between your fingers; let flour dust your skin; try, for the fortieth time, to taste the blackberries and chocolate in the Syrah.  Smell your ingredients, one by one; then, when you’re cooking, step outside for a few minutes and come back in.  How many distinct aromas can you find?

Art by Wendy Babcox
In the coming days, I’ll share some of my gustatorily erotic experiences, but I am hopeful your home will be filled with your own.  
Merry, Happy!
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