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Forbidden Friday: Lust

If you've got a hot date tonight, you'll definitely want to read the following tidbits from our book Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits -- and then get yourself to an exotic foods market:

World's Strangest Aphrodisiacs

CAT1048.jpgFrog Legs: Sometimes you can have too much of a wood -- er, good -- thing. In the case of an unfortunate group of French Foreign Legion soldiers in North Africa, frog legs proved to be such an effective enhancer of "erectile function" that priapism -- a prolonged, painful erection that will not go away -- ensued. Subsequently, researchers from American universities found that the frog legs contained enormous amounts of cantharidin, better known as Spanish fly. It turned out the frogs had been eating meloid beetles, one of the main sources of the legendary aphrodisiac, eventually making things hard for the soldiers.

Two more love potions after the hump -- er, jump.

Sweet potatoes: Shortly after Columbus made landfall in 1492, the natives of Hispaniola introduced him to the sweet potato, a member of the morning glory family. Spanish colonizers soon spread the sweet potato lovin' to Asia and Europe, the popularity to cultivate it driven in part by its reputation as an aphrodisiac. In Health's Improvement, a medical guide from 1595, Dr. Thomas Muffett wrote that sweet potatoes increase not only libido, but apparently also the incidence of flatulence, claiming that they "nourish mightily... engendering much flesh, blood, and seed, but withal encreasing wind and lust."

Unagi: Served raw in sushi or cooked as part of an udon (noodle) dish, sea eel, or unagi, is reputed in Japan to be an aphrodisiac. The association likely springs from a rather obvious similarity between the shape of the eel and, as usual, an erect penis. Of course, there might be some science behind the belief as well. Unagi is high in vitamin A, which may help sexual function. Although unagi is an increasingly popular item on American sushi menus, ost diners are unaware of its erotic associations in Japanese cuisine.

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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