Monday, November 1, 2010

A Passion for Pumpkins

We've found some odd facts and figures while researching our passion, food.  Take the seemingly unassuming pumpkin...why is it construed as an aphrodisiac? 

Many of the foodstuffs we have featured make the cut because they are visually suggestive, or are cloaked in folklore and legend.  The pumpkin is certainly surrounded in mythology.  It is associated with fertility (its globe-like shape is evocative of Mother Earth, the Harvest, and female fecundity), but we came across a fascinating pyscho-sexual interpretation to explain its draw...

We need to start with the myth of Oedipus.  You know the Prince who killed his father (accidentally; he didn't know it was his Dad at the time) and then ended up amorously pursuing his mother (ditto, allegedly, he didn't realize it was his mom. but the Gods punished him anyway...)  Sigmund Freud had a theory about family relationships based on this classical myth.  He claimed that in order to grow up into a healthy adult, the child must move through this period of his development, that is, of hating his father (if a boy) and mother (if a girl) and seeing them as a rival for the affection of the parent of the opposite sex.  If this seems long-winded, bear with us.  It's worth it.
Bearing Freud's theory in mind, cast your minds to Thanksgiving--family, parental relationships, probable dysfunction, the aroma of traditional foods.  Now consider the following results of a study by The Smell and Taste Research Center in Chicago:  The aroma of pumpkin pie caused a significant increase in male arousal, demonstrated by a 40% increase in blood flow to the nether regions.   Although we're confident that Freud never celebrated an American Thanksgiving, we're sure he'd have a field day with this data.

Another interesting stat we uncovered:  August is the month that sees the most US births.  Counting backward gestationally, guess where that lands you?  Right around Thanksgiving.  So come November 25, when the man in your life starts salivating at the aroma of fresh-baked pumpkin pie, remember Freud's theory about dysfunctional family relationships and the uptick in November conceptions.  Philly Food Lovers advise you to  proceed with caution.

The following hilarious video clip shows the patricide scene in Oedipus performed by vegetables.   We got such a kick out of it, we had to share.  (Oedipus is the potato--remember his horrific fate?  gouged eyes!)

The full-length play,  (8 minutes in length) can be viewed here.


kiri woods said...

My daugher was born in August - and yes conceived the thanksgiving weekend in Nantucket hmmm- wonder is the pie played a role. "food" for thought!

Philly Food Lovers said...

My sister--the mother of 4--gave birth to each of her children in late summer. Kind of makes me wonder if she is celibate for the rest of the year. Of course, no one eats pumpkin pie outside of Thanksgiving, so maybe it comes down to the dessert choice. Personally, I don't like pumpkin pie much; my kids were born in Nov and Feb, so no August babies for me.

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