How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time: 200 Slow Cooker Recipes to Heat Up the Bedroom Instead of the Kitchen By Rebecca Field Jager (Adams Media, $12.95) Crock-Pots are the new key to romance. Jager's step-by-step guide to "doing it slowly" is aimed squarely at women, as are the tips on how you can kill the time you save while your meals—from simple stews to fancy reductions—simmer. Each dish can be prepared in under a half hour, and if you know anything about slow-cookers, you know that leaves four to 10 hours for alternate activities. RACHEL SHIMP Recommended for: Busy couples; marrieds in need of some extra spice.
Index of stories in our Valentine's Day issue.
Where we found it: Borders, 1501 Fourth Ave., 206-622-4599. Cooking Pasta With Love: More Than 200 Delicious Recipes From the "Love Chef," By Francis Anthony (Cookbooks, $20) Once you've been featured on Live With Regis and Kelly, you've more or less secured your status as a latter-day love god. And though most dating manuals advise against pasta on a first date—almost no one looks good slurping a too-long noodle—Anthony is unrepentant in his feeling that semolina is the gateway to romantic fulfillment. "Pasta With Love" ("one of the most requested recipes in my repertoire," he reports) involves ziti or penne tossed with scallions, red bell peppers, tomatoes, capers, basil, ricotta, and mozzarella—no obvious aphrodisiacs, but it doesn't sound half bad, either. Less impressive: Anthony's take on Northwest cuisine. "Pasta With Washington Salmon" calls for fusilli, Walla Walla onions, more capers, white pepper and crushed red pepper, clam juice, and—here's the party foul—canned salmon. NEAL SCHINDLER Recommended for: Couples with ironic sensibilities who aren't doing Atkins.
Where we found it: Twice Sold Tales, 905 E. John St., 206-324-2421. InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook By Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge (Terrace Publishing, $24.95) This book just screams "Valentine's Day gift for somebody you just hopped in the sack with for the first time." It's sorta sexy—with rich recipes, seminude photos, and suggestive poetry—but not particularly personal. Included are 80-plus recipes categorized by ingredients considered to be aphrodisiacal—most of them either very sweet (chocolate), spicy (chiles), or fragrant (basil). It's also got a section on nonedible massage oils. Artily photographed and designed, it begs to be read together—perhaps in bed? LYNN JACOBSON Recommended for: Couples who have just discovered that staying home can be more fun than going out.
Where we found it: Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. Sinfully Vegan By Lois Dieterly (Marlowe & Co., $16.95) Vegan and vegetarian chefs like to give their cookbooks racy titles such as The Voluptuous Vegan, Passionate Vegetarian, and Vegetable Love, which seems highly suspect to meat-eaters like me. Are the recipes so tasteless and mealy that they have to be sold with a subliminal promise of sex? But even skeptics might be lured by Sinfully Vegan, which features nothing but desserts—almost 150 of them. While the lists of ingredients won't put you in an amorous mood (Ever-G egg replacer? Spelt flour? Xanthan gum?), the names of the recipes might (Pucker-Up Cream Pie, Chocolate Lover's Pudding, Clouds of Strawberry Pie). The book also contains various vegan factoids with which to amuse your meat-averse sweetheart, including a list of famous or almost-famous vegans. Weird Al Yankovic: Who knew? LYNN JACOBSON Recommended for: Couples who have sworn off the meat market.
Where we found it: Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. Food for Lovers By Sharon Cochrane (Ryland Peters and Small Ltd., $9.95) Cochrane's collection of recipes is organized into aphrodisiac foods, breakfasts in bed, romantic dinners, "cozy" suppers, and "little treats." What's the difference between a romantic dinner and a cozy supper? How do you crystallize a rose petal? What's so lusty about asparagus risotto? These answers and more are waiting just behind the schmaltzy, softly lit peach-colored rose on the cover. LAURA CASSIDY Recommended for: Couples who met when he asked her, "I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?"
Where we found it: Amazon.com. Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, With Recipes By Amanda Hesser (Norton, $14.95) New York Times critic Hesser spins her dating diary into a sweet—but not frothy—memoir of wining and dining a man who, when asked what one sense he would give up if forced to, said he would forsake taste. Chronicling her love affairs with both food and "Mr. Latte," whose lack of culinary knowledge initially horrifies her, Hesser includes recipes that detail their most memorable meals. From the first-date dinner of roasted guinea hen to the first meal he cooks for her—chicken roasted with sour cream, lemon juice, and mango chutney—to their engagement party menu, Hesser's book will inspire more than one kind of hunger. RACHEL SHIMP Recommended for: Singles ready to forsake frozen food—and singledom as well.
Where we found it: M Coy Books, 117 Pine St., 206-623-5354. email@example.com