Susie Bright. Photo: Jill Posener
When it comes to talking about food and sex for Valentine's Day, you don't want to ask a chef. For a professional, Valentine's Day is like catering for Noah's Ark: a long, sweaty, jammed-full night making dinners for all those expectant couples tromping in two by two for champagne and crab salad, rare steaks and roses, not to mention the anticipation of double-caret diamonds hidden in the passion-fruit mousse.
Instead, why not talk to someone who has made the pleasures of the flesh her life's work? Here in the Bay Area, there's no shortage of experts on this subject, but few have influenced the cultural, political, and literary landscape like Susie Bright. She has written and edited dozens of books of erotica, cultural critiques, personal essays, how-to's, and more, worked as the "lesbian sex consultant" on the butch-femme neo-noir Bound, helped bring quality sex toys into the mainstream, raised a daughter, spoken and taught all over the world, and fought for the personal expression of freedom and pleasure in all its forms. Her popular blog (and its accompanying podcast) is sharp, smart, funny and unabashedly political. Her latest book is the sure-to-be-juicy memoir Big Sex Little Death, to be released by Seal Press next month.
But only close readers of a book like Mommy's Little Girl: On Sex, Motherhood, Porn & Cherry Pie might catch that the pie of the title isn't metaphorical. Head to the last chapter, and you'll find a recipe for a real pie, filled with fresh Bing cherries and laced with lemon zest, almond extract and a splash of brandy, and called, completely appropriately, Eternal Cherry Devotion Pie. Susie, it turns out, is a truly passionate cook, eater, and cocktail aficionado (yes, she makes her own nocino). As she writes about her cherry pie,
"Sometimes you need to prepare a meal that will make someone fall in love with you. Sometimes you need a dessert with an enchantment so strong that your lover will never leave you, no matter what the temptation.
Don't make this pie if you're just toying with someone--you'll be sorry. Don't make this pie for your lover if you don't want him or her by your side forever, then moaning at your grave when you're gone. This is serious stuff."
So, what would Susie propose for a Valentine's Day meal? Red and spicy is on the top of her list. Red velvet cake, beet salad, rice with tomatoes or red peppers--and for the piece de resistance, tandoori chicken, fiery and magenta-skinned, picked up from your favorite Indian restaurant.