‘Between Hope and Fear’ By Lawrence Alma-Tadema {{PD}}

This is a re-print, with some modifications and additions, that first appeared in ECLIPSE, and seems appropriate as Valentine’s Day nears.

Seduction is an age-old Art; why shouldn’t we use astrology to give us some help in determining what the object of our affections might find appealing? After all, eating is a sensual activity, and can be a shared sensory experience that can lead to further contact. In fact, sharing food has become an almost mandatory ritual preceding sharing ourselves intimately. They didn’t come up with that (sexist, and somehow manipulative) saying, ‘The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ without reason. Someone observed that opening one’s mouth and filling one’s stomach also opened us in other ways–and it’s this we’re looking to explore. Of course, food won’t do the whole job–what’s presented here is just for fun–but don’t neglect the truth within the joke, and also the potential power (the kind that is love at its purest) inherent in going out of your way to please someone you care for.

Go with the predominant energy in a chart and read that sign, or try the Ascendant, or look to the Moon, especially for emotional eaters. Sometimes pairs of energies should be considered. For example, a strong alliance of Neptune and Pluto, or Venus and Neptune–lots of placements in Pisces and Scorpio, or Pisces and Taurus or Libra: oysters on the half-shell, stuffed sole, trout almandine with pearl onions or snapper en croute, kelp fiber pellets, Clamato®, Cod liver oil, sardines on soda crackers, luxurious desserts, salmon mousse, Madeleines, Swedish Fish–you can see both the variety and the playfulness possible once you start thinking about it.

Menu suggestions for each sign:

‘Entrecôte’ By Félix Vallotton 1914 {{PD}}

♥ Aries: serve it in a sizzling skillet, or offer her a pu-pu platter with a tabletop hibachi on which she can cook it herself, but be forewarned: if they don’t have to use a knife and fork, Aries doesn’t think it’s a meal. They also like any food they have to do battle with: scraping the leaves of a steamed artichoke or wrestling with cracked crab or a candied apple makes them feel like a culinary conqueror. Aries doesn’t care for potatoes, and they’re proud of having eaten both brain and headcheese. Shrimp Diablo, Hunter’s stew, and glazed duck breast with pickled red cabbage are all favorites; a little heat, some meat, and make it hearty, are Aries’ dictates. Fond of Bloody Marys (really, any mixed drink that makes them feel catered-to), full-bodied reds like Bordeaux and Burgundy, and MREs (military rations: Meals Ready to Eat)

‘Girl Eating Porridge’ By William-Adolphe Bouguereau 1874 {{PD}}

♥ Taurus: does not eat standing up–if you knew only Tauruses you would think that humans are unable to consume anything without bending their knees. Likes slow-roasted meats, ox on a spit, pig in a pit, will order everything with a baked potato or grits. Offer them a feast, even if it’s just a pizza: spread it out, fan the napkins, never rush them. For a real meal, try an artisanal bread and cheeses plate, butter lettuce with Roquefort dressing, consommé, risotto with asparagus, Beef Wellington with glazed carrots and potatoes Anna, torte. Secret loves: blood pudding (Aries likes this, too), beer, beef, Skittles®, anything chocolate, especially brownies, the latter explaining why every Taurus you know has chocolaty crumbs at the corners of his mouth 24/7. Will be happy with a bowl of porridge, too, as long as there’s a tuffet where they can settle down to eat it

‘Le Buveur d’Absinthe (The Absinthe Drinker)’ By Édouard Manet 1859 {{PD}}

♥ Gemini: may eat a ton at one sitting, then not eat much again for days (all the Air signs are like this). Make it a fondue dinner–this will suit Gemini’s need to socialize during the meal, as will little sandwiches to be assembled as you dine, kebabs, or tacos you stuff yourself. Also enjoys layers, so terrines and trifles may amuse. Likes many small plates and nibbles, fancy cocktails that have a slight bitterness, like mojitos and lemon drops, and loves something with a ‘kick’, like absinthe. Always willing to try a new cuisine, preferably something from another continent. Often fond of rice-based dishes that feature lots of components, like fried rice, biryanis, and pilaus. Loves a good pho–again, because there can be so many things nestled in the broth. Is a secret liver-lover (as is Sagittarius, not so secretly), with a marked fondness for Leberknudeln zuppe (liver dumpling soup), rumaki, and pates. You may also catch them insisting on only organic, free-range, hand-raised, then binging on fast food or Cheez-Whiz®. Along with several other signs (guess which!) they’ll sell their Souls for bacon

‘A girl holding pancakes in a feigned stone window’ By Werner van den Valckert 1623 {{PD}}

♥ Cancer: loves breakfast for dinner (so does Capricorn). Pancakes! Pancakes! Pancakes! Anything with chicken, fried, in a pot pie, or smothered in BBQ sauce. Obviously, loves ‘comfort food’: mac ‘n cheese, stew, mashed potatoes, soups, especially cream soups, tapioca, coconut cake. They either love or hate cheese. Secret sin: would use gravy as a beverage, if they thought no one would comment. Cooking secret: adds fat, and especially cream, to just about everything. Cancer’s favorite meal sounds a lot like this: a pot roast with fresh green beans with onions and bacon, whipped potatoes with pot liquor (that’s the gravy the pot roast made while cooking), buttermilk rolls with butter butter butter, green salad with fresh tomatoes and a tangy dressing, homemade vanilla ice cream, and gingerbread with a home-cooked lemon curd. This is also the one equipped with antacids and anti diarrheals wherever she goes

‘Tri dame iz družine Moscon’ By Jožef Tominc 1829 {{PD}}

♥ Leo: doesn’t care so much what she’s eating, just wants to look good eating it, though she’d like to be able to impress others when she tells them about the meal, so one of those clubs where they serve endangered species might be the place to take her. Is very concerned with the atmosphere, presentation, dinner companions, but that said, will eat like a horse if given the opportunity. They have a huge appetite, and because of this Leo may turn out to be the one who rations everyone’s food (Sag does this too, as a ‘favor’ to you)–they project about food, seeing their own deepest-hidden behaviors (for they don’t see themselves as having any appetite at all) in you–look to the Ascendant to know whether this is done out of guilt (Scorpio or Capricorn), vanity (Taurus, Libra, or Aries), misplaced concern (Cancer, Pisces), or from feeling they know best (Leo, Gemini, Sagittarius, Aquarius, or Virgo). If you do take on the task of pleasing Leo, make everything golden: a roasted bird, a fruity white Zinfandel or champagne, lots of butter or olive oil, Yukon fingerlings, asparagus hollandaise, real gold leaf on the fancy pastries, and a sparkling little gift for them won’t hurt, either

‘Sunlight and Shadow’ By William Merritt Chase 1884 {{PD}}

♥ Virgo: wants the menu ahead of time, then wants to critique it, and appreciates knowing how much it all costs. Isn’t entirely comfortable being served; let him help prepare things. Secretly loves food that is somehow mysterious (‘What’s buttermilk made of?’ ‘Where’s the cheese in cheesecake?’ and so on). Though fond of reading during a meal (as is Aquarius), Alphabet soup only frustrates him. Sign most likely to adopt vegetarianism or to become a vegan (followed by Libra and Pisces). May secretly hate garlic (or think they do). Serve them what’s in season, right out of the field, if possible–is impressed when he can rip the ear of corn off and plop it in the boiling water or into the fire to roast himself; in fact, they love dining al fresco, and if you can get them closer to the food, all the better (for instance, a table in the middle of a vineyard, or in the garden). Might think they would enjoy a ‘Field to Plate’ experience, but it’s 50/50 that they freak out over some animal part they didn’t think of as edible

‘Still Life with a Ham’ By Anne Vallayer-Coster 1766 {{PD}}

♥ Libra: make it pretty! If it’s made by the mate, Libra loves it even more. Though we might think of sweets immediately with this sign, Librans have very particular tastes, so not just any confection will do. Either dislikes fruit completely or it’s the favorite food category. Likes dips and may make a meal of hors d’oeuvres. Can be squeamish, so familiar foods are usually best; in fact, Libra is fond of comfort foods, or at least his version of them (see Cancer). Will go on binges: only jelly beans for a day, ranch dressing on everything, just raw vegetables for a week, until the taste buds mature–then they’re still prone to unusual preferences, many of them rooted in their past associations with food and relationships; will eat strawberry pie for the rest of their lives because Grandma loved it. Sign voted most likely to swing between eating and not eating meat. Enjoys a good sauce or reduction, and must sit down for a meal, with a napkin, and preferably by candlelight, no matter what the meal itself may be–a little ceremony is in order as for Libra, dining is an occasion to be savored

‘Mushrooms’ By Julius Kronberg 1908 {{PD}}

♥ Scorpio: never met an edible fungus she didn’t like (that includes some people she’s dated). Not fond of ‘dry’ foods. Typically has eclectic tastes she likes to keep hidden;it’s a guessing game, and how well you do somehow works out (in her mind) to how much fun you’ll be in bed and in relationship. Sign most likely to go for a dish featuring bugs. May be a ‘sneak’ eater or drinker, preferring to consume when alone. This is the sign with the potential to imbibe far too much but still seem to be okay. If you take her to a restaurant, make it a dark, romantic one where they have a curtained booth for just the two of you. May be very fond of Japanese food, especially sushi, and Thai, and is typically very fond of crustaceans–serve them a lobster and your transgression is forgiven. Also loves Italian. Try a modern antipasti (cheeses, salami, prosciutto, melon, pickled mushrooms and asparagus, tiny pickled octopi, a variety of olives) with a red wine, insalata di mare, fettuccine, veal piccata with proseco, pistachio gelato with chocolate-dipped almond biscotti, espresso–or just give them a dish of warm butter, a cracker, lovingly tie on their bib, and sit them at the edge of the ocean–they’ll handle it from there

Delivering a Pheasant. Painting By Arthur Devis c1755 {{PD}}

♥ Sagittarius: ethnic food (that’s anything different than what’s associated with her own ethnic group), or anything she has to go a long way to get; also anything she hunts herself. Piri piri chicken may be a favorite, or yak, momo, and chang. For all that she may have a delicate stomach, so query about anything unusual first. Start with a soup full of seasonal vegetables and herbs, preferably heavy with forest mushrooms or onions gathered in the wild, or a thick borscht with sour cream; ‘Feld salat’; pate, caviar, and toasts; venison tartar; wild boar or pheasant with truffles; cheesecake with wild blackberry compote; sherry in tiny glasses, afterward. Is fond of a good biscuit. This Mutable Fire may sometimes crave something salty:sardines, anchovies, popcorn, salty cashews. Alcohol can get Sag talking, or make them highly sociable–if they need to maintain decorum, limit the spirits. This is the sign that is happy to drop everything and fly to Paris for a bistro lunch, or who’ll climb Alpine trails and share a can of tuna with you at the summit–every bite must be a little adventure, a symbol of a place other than where she’s sitting

‘Capra (Goat)’ By Francesco Londonio c1755–1765 {{PD}}

♥ Capricorn: pungent goat cheese with crostini; golden beet salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette; cream of potato and leek soup; trout or other pristine fish served with the skin and on the bone; braised short ribs with turnip purée; a traditional Napoleon; and a well-aged wine for each course. Gross-outs include serving actual goat, anything that’s been de-boned, and anything he’s never eaten before, but this is the guy who came up with gruel, so Cappy may be surprisingly easy to please. Most likely to go macrobiotic, typically after a few bad burritos, but if he doesn’t a casual menu for Cap could consist of a bowl of pork rinds and a potato, or anything from a box, including the bread-loaf box South African bunny chow is served from. Loves bento and animal crackers, things that have been aged (cheese, wine, Jamón ibérico, balsamic vinegar) and no matter what’s served, wants regular meal times


♥ Aquarius: choose from fusion cuisines that use the most trendy ‘new’ ingredients (at original time of writing Korean food was peaking, as was uni/ sea urchin). These are the people who came up with ‘concept’ dining (dinner in the pitch dark, a meal served as table and all dangle from a construction crane). Culinary embarrassments of the past probably originating with Water Bearers include Box ‘o Wine (it was very cool at the time!), Zima, the disastrous (now abandoned) re-formulation of Coke. Aquarius likes a modern setting for the dining experience, and is the one who buys all those square, aquamarine plates and octagonal drinking glasses; eating at an Aquarian’s house is a little like eating on the set of a futuristic movie. May have an entire drawer filled with sporks and food gadgets. Bring him a smoothie and it will fix anything. On a budget? Serve them quinoa or Jollof rice and egusi soup. They may be food hippies who never go anywhere without tofu and cashew butter in their bag, or conversely, insistent on the latest food trend, and if you’re thinking avocado toast, stop it–that’s so 2015. An Aquarius invented astronaut meal-in-a-toothpaste tube, so can be enticed to eat almost anything once, and will make a point of trying blowfish, magic mushrooms, Prairie Oysters, and real oysters, out-of-season, unless you reason with him

‘Cakes, 1963’ Photo By Pplachigo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28954794

♥ Pisces: you might never expect it, but the magic word here is, ‘Cake.’ Seafood? Obviously, but they can be fussy–nothing lives up to the ideal in their own minds–be sure to find out what kind of seafood they prefer. They love salty things: pickles, popcorn, caramels, taffy, anything brined, chips–just put out a salt lick and Pisces will gather. If you’re taking them out, make it Chinese. May have a secret penchant for crap from the quickie mart or old style bar food: pickled pigs feet, those eggs that float in murky water, beer nuts, pretzels. Loves or loathes coffee; if it’s the former, make sure you serve a version (Turkish coffee, coffee ice cream, mocha mousse, chocolate dipped espresso beans) at every meal. Pisces is really looking forward to what comes after the meal, along with the coffee: the foot rub, the long walk on the beach, the soak in the hot tub, or catching the warm breeze on the terrace (it feels bath-like!) Make sure Pisces has a drink of some kind in her hand at all times- sometimes they act like they’ve been lost in the desert for ages, because that’s how life feels to them