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Food for thought: Valentines Day dining

By Jason Wong
On February 12, 2014

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a holiday designed for happy couples to celebrate the love that they hold for each other, often by exchanging gifts and going out for a nice dinner. In my experience, singles generally stay in with some takeout and watch a crappy romantic comedy or a favorite Disney film with other single friends. Foodwise, I think both groups have something to celebrate. Couples can justify dropping a significant amount of cash on pricier food, and singles need not avoid certain food groups that can ruin a date.
The nicest places on or near campus to eat out are probably Chuck & Augies and Geno's Grille. As far as I'm aware, they're the only places nearby where you can get a cut of beef that's not well-done. More traditional fare aside, there are many foods that have been considered aphrodisiacs - substances that increase sexual desire - by many different cultures. Though none of these foods have a basis in science for their reputations, some of them are certainly a possibility on a dinner date, and - after all - it can't hurt.
Red wine is at the top of the list for potential aphrodisiacs and is widely available at most sit-down restaurants for patrons over 21. If you can handle it, spicy chili peppers also have a reputation for getting people hot and bothered in the lustful sense. Oysters have also been considered aphrodisiacs, though mainly for men. Asparagus has also been traditionally used as a romance-setter.
Of course, the most popular food consumed on Valentine's Day is chocolate, a food that almost everybody loves, and - incidentally - is considered an aphrodisiac by some.
That being said, there are definitely some foods to avoid on a dinner date. Foods that make heavy use of garlic or onion are at the top of this list because of their tendency to stay on the breath. Coffee should probably be avoided for the same reason. Beans, cheese and fizzy drinks are also probably best avoided, because they can cause bloating and other gas-related issues that can kill the mood. Finally, curry and other food like it should probably be off the table as well.
Singles, of course, get to enjoy all of those foods with impunity, though maybe eating something that increases sex drive might not be the best choice on potentially the loneliest day of the year. On the other hand, it might just give a person the push they need to approach that crush they've been nursing for the past couple of weeks. This might be the economics major in me talking, but I think having an anniversary on Valentine's Day would be extremely efficient.

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