On Arugula ...

Senator Obama famously asked Iowa farmers "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" - and the leaf has since been associated with him.

If you too are shocked by the prices at Whole Foods, The Times (UK) has a handy guide to growing your own arugula / roquette / rocket / whatever you want to call it: 22 Reasons To Grow Your Own Rocket

I keep reading, as in this article, that the Romans used arugula (eruca sativa) as an Aphrodisiac, so I finally looked up the references to it. Theophrastus is keen on arugula as an aphrodisiac - but only for men [Historia plantarum 1.6.6]. The same conclusion can be read into the erections relating to herbs, notable arugula, in Pliny [NH 26.96].
The erections promised in the Cyranides after taking arugula sound even better [1.5.10 ff].

I pulled most of these references from Christopher Faraone's Ancient Greek Love Magic- which has many more suggestions for aphrodisiacs to be found in the kitchen. It puts a whole new spin on going to the Farmers' Market rather than the supermarket.

I like a bed of arugula beneath my carpaccio, but otherwise avoid it as too peppery in salads - but then again I'm not a man. Strangely, there seems to have been a dearth of ancient aphrodisiacs for women - I'm not sure if that's because we were not thought to need them or not thought to deserve them.

This does however raise several important questions.

Does Senator Obama know that he has been going around the country telling people that he is taking the ancient equivalent of Viagra?

And what on earth is Bill Clinton munching on?

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