Saturday, February 6, 2010

Aphrodisiacs are the Drag Queens of the Plant World

I'm preparing for the herbal class I'm teaching on Sunday on aphrodisiacs. My hands are smeared with raw honey, raw cocoa powder, rose powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and maca*.  I'm making homemade aphrodisiac infused honey, for spreading on a buttery croissant or....

I started out a bit grumpy.  I have a lot to do.  I have to make an outline for the class so I don't ramble too much, even though I like rambling. I like chatting about medicinal plants like they're people.  I am excited when scientists come back with findings that support the ways people have been working with them for generations.  But science isn't what generally attracts people to aphrodisiacs.  I need to bring out their fun side, without rambling.

I was wondering how I was going to do that, until I tasted my fingers.  All of a sudden I was happy.  Laughing.  I looked at myself in the mirror.  I looked hot.  My lights were on.  Yum.

Aphrodisiacs do have a 'serious' side, in the fact that most of them are also strengthening to the heart, reproductive, and/or nervous systems, many if not all are anti-depressive, and in general they make people feel happy, even giddy, which is very creatively freeing.  They aren't "just" about sex.

What makes me happiest about aphrodisiac plants is that they prove a theory I've always had, something I've always felt.  I wrote poems about it when I was sixteen, railing against, in my sixteen-year-old lingo, 'the priests and the pimps.'   Sexual love is heart opening, expansive, joy bringing, juicy pleasure.  Aphrodisiac plants are living poems to life force.  They support the idea that life is pleasurable.  What a simple, and yet somehow still radical thought.

Rupaul was on WNYC today, on the Leonard Lopate Show, promoting his new book called Workin It: Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style.  The interview sounded caned, but nevertheless I'm excited to check out the book.  Besides trying to get Leonard to say that he remembered the hookers on 28th Street from the '70s, Rupaul said some interesting things.  One, that we are all born naked and everything else is drag, meaning that we're all wearing a costume.  And two, that Drag Queens in every culture teach us not to take life so seriously.  I believe that drag is a sacred practice.  Drag Queens and Kings are like aphrodisiacs.  They encourage the rest of us (if we're open to them) to feel libidinous, empowered, and playful. 

I like to work hard at the things I love.  I'm often up late writing.  I push myself, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.  Sometimes a well-meaning someone will say, 'lighten up.  Have some fun.  You're working too hard.'  And I'm annoyed.  This advice just points out that I'm rigid, stuck, without giving me a way to get unstuck.  Aphrodisiac plants, like an amazing drag show, do the lightening up for me. They get me to laugh, to open my heart, to feel a little naughty, a little loose, a little more free.  They turn on my lights and make me feel like workin it.

Kate's Ooh la la honey 2010 
(The possibilities are endless.  Use this as a guide and play with your own recipe.)

Raw Honey
Ground rose petals (about 1 part)
Ground Maca* (about 4 parts)
Raw Cocoa powder (about 3 1/2 parts)
Cinnamon Powder (1/4 part)
Cayenne Powder ( taste. )

*Maca is a supreme aphrodisiac for both men and women.  Its actually a type of dried, ground turnip.  Its also helpful for dealing with stress.  Its fertility enhancing, so be careful if that's not what you want. Its a warming herb, helping the people to deal with the cold in the high Andes mountains of Peru.  If you are someone who is prone to be 'hot'-- you have occasional acne outbreaks, anger easily, etc. , this might not be a great choice on a super regular basis, but I'm one of those types, and find that very occasionally having maca for its aphrodisiac purposes is fine, the way that eating a turnip is fine.  Dried and powdered it tastes a little like pancake batter, and can be substituted for flour and mixed into pancakes.

On a plate, preferably with a lip, mix the powders.  Power the roses with a mortar and pestal.  If you don't have one, you can improvise with a mug and your fingers.  Typically dried rose petals powder fairly easily.  Make sure that you use petals that are meant for internal use, organic if possible.  Commercial fresh roses are covered in toxic chemicals, sadly. 

The measurements are very approximate.  Experiment to taste.   Spoon out a small dollop (about a nickel size) of the honey.  Roll into the powders, forming a ball in your hands.  It will be fairly sticky at first.  The powders will seep into the honey. After the powders have seeped in, roll it in the powders again.  They will seep in more.  Roll them gently one last time, then place in a clean dry jar. Continue to do this until you have filled the jar with powder-infused honey.   (You will see that more has seeped into the honey after time). Put the jar in the oven with the pilot light or another warm location overnight so that the honey and powders fully meld together.  The longer you wait, the more it will infuse, but you can use it right away if the mood strikes you.

You can find the ingredients at your local herb shop.  In NYC that's Flower Power Herbs and Roots on East 9th St., or if you don't have a local shop, here's a link to a good quality mail order place that carries all of these ingredients.


ann GALKOWSKI said...

wonderfully fun and encouraging for creativity, love, life!! can't wait to try it!

Kate T.W. said...

Great Ann! I had a ball. And then there was the coconut creme variety...

admirality said...

I really enjoyed reading this - you have a nice style of writing that is natural and the recipe looks great too! Cheers!

Kate T.W. said...

Cheers admirality, thank you, and welcome here! Everyone in the class had a ball making this today... Worth trying it just for the experience.