Modern life of an ordinary member of human society is quite organized, predicted and planned in a certain way. Of course there are various unexpected situations and surprises from the future and destiny if you want to call it that way. I would say in the modern world, there is no place for magic and spontaneity, but everyday magic of sensation and simple pleasures of life used to make the world go round and make people happy, healthy and satisfied in the ancient times. Nowadays, our lives are planned from the rise to dawn and from birth to death. Being a good and respected member of society is to follow the common path and dream about variety, sensation, passion and emotional cognition of the world. Although our lives are more organized and secured than in Antiquity, we are not happier than they were. We limit ourselves and our inner spirits to the conditionality and boundaries of the world we had created. This entire long introduction was meant to show the contrast of the common perception of life and view of the Lonnie Lynch, who is not just a brilliant cook and culinary artist, but also an incredibly intelligent and sensual personality. In this review, the central thesis of his book “Seduction and Romantic Dinner. Your Mystic Epicurean Quest” is analyzed. This thesis can be stated in one sentence:
“living life in the most fully human manner is possible through a mutual attraction
between two individuals who are certain of who they are and what they want, what
they have to offer and the values and talents that they desire ” (Lynch 2010, p.26).
The book is not only about how to seduce the desired person through cooking or good looks, and it definitely is not a guide for pickups. This book is a distillation of millennia of human knowledge about life, sensuality, seduction, passion and desire. One could have expected that the narration would be quite trivial, starting from the idea of how a man should impress a women on the first date, and how to keep the fire afterwards. Instead, this book attracts attention through the fairy tale mixed with the all possible mythological creatures and stories of the human past. On the pages of the book, we meet with immortal seducers Armando, “The Greatest Culinary Seducer”, and Miguel Simone, “The Greatest Maitre d’” who had known the best seducer of all times like Cleopatra, Casanova and many others. Unraveling their experiences and secrets, in his book, the author, as participant of the Aphrodite’s sacrament, reveals the hidden knowledge of full life and its sensual enjoyment.
The essence of life, in this case, is in its sacred and magical context. Lynch does not only tell us how to feel the life at its fullness, he brings magic into it. Magic is in the book itself; it is also in the explanation of ancient human believes in passion and seduction, interpretation of myths and legends. For instance, the unity of two individuals is seen through their compatibility in their astrology, type of aura, character and all-sufficient attitude to life (Lynch 2010). Being seductive and alive is not the matter of one good public appearance, but it is about inner self-perception. According to Lynch, sexuality is coming from inside, it is human energy of life (Lynch 2010). What is even more fascinating about the book is that it combines both magic of mythology and human believes with the magic essence of human body and scientific conclusions on the topic. For instance, he emphasis the meaning of the chemistry between people, both in indirect meaning of attraction and quite exact interaction of hormones in human body. He explains why touching person is so exciting especially for women, meaning the influence of hormone oxytocin, which is in higher quantities in female body (Lynch 2010, p. 39). In other words, Lynch explains the origins of seduction from various possible perspectives. He explains how to seduce, why to seduce and how to be seduced properly and in the right time. The main point of seduction is in enjoyment of the process and foretaste of the desired pleasure (Lynch 2010, p. 188).
Irrespective of the captivating effect of the read, somewhere in the middle of the book, you start thinking whether it is a book on cooking. In fact, it is, but like seduction itself it takes time, the author prepares the audience for the main course of the Epicurean quest – preparation of the seductive dinner for the desired person. In this context, Lynch makes emphasis on your own perception of the cooking process, your intentions, inner desire and enjoyment from the process. Every element of the preparation is conducted with a thought of the desired person, every elaborated carving of the fruit, table appointments and wine choice (Lynch 2010, p. 247). In this context, Lynch puts an emphasis on details, which matter a lot, since one wants to make the event perfect, but in that perfection spontaneity should be felt inside-out. Yes, Lynch explains how to make risotto, canard duck breast with grand Marnier orange souse and which wine would suit it the best, but he makes poetry of it and actual art of sensation and elaboration. The distinction between cooking according to this book and cooking in general can be compared with making love and having sex, which from the technical perspective is the same, but sensation is entirely different.
As a conclusion I would say that this book is a must for everyone irrespective of age, since it tells the story of humanity and fullness of life. I enjoyed this book also due to its joyful and playful manner of narration, richness of thoughts and words, and explicit sensuality in each possible aspect. This book shows how colorful and rich life may be if one combines all three elements of c.m.e. theory – to be confident, mysterious and entertaining (Lynch 2010, p. 20). If one wants to find a “soul mate” or at least a person of one’s dreams, he or she should work hard in order to correspond to the target image. Although it may seem, quite a challenge and impossible quest, this book explains that there is nothing impossible for anyone of us, we have everything in ourselves, we are the rulers of our bodies and our lives, and if we cannot success than who will do it for us?. I would like to end this review with the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick cited in the book: “I would rather live in the world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it” (Lynch 2010, p. 35). The thrill of discovery and seduction is in the quest itself.
Lynch, L. (2010). Seduction and Romantic Dinner. Your Mystic Epicurean Quest.
Bloomington, IN: Author House.