As part of our ongoing occasional lecture series, on Thursday, May 25, we had the pleasure of hearing Ken Albala, professor of History at the University of the Pacific, speak about Renaissance aphrodisiacs.
Food writers of the Renaissance era were fascinated by ingredients that could arouse the libido, heighten pleasure and lead eventually to conception. The logic of their recommendations has baffled modern commentators though, who usually assume that the shape of a food will reveal its stimulating properties. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this talk Ken Albala unraveled the logic of Renaissance aphrodisiacs, delving into nutritional theory, herbal lore, and folk medicine. He also explained why not being turned on by food was an equally important topic, explained thoroughly in the theology of the era.