Back in 1997, the Flyer staff hadn't yet come up with the "Hotties" issue concept for Valentine's Day. But book editor Leonard Gill found a sexy story that was perfect for the February 13th issue that year: an interview with the authors of Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook.
The book, which came out on Valentine's Day 1997, was written by Memphian Martha Hopkins and Texan Randall Lockridge, and featured recipes designed to stimulate the libido. It was illustrated with then-Memphis photographer Ben Fink's gorgeous photos of sexy, nude models creatively adorned in food. It was a beautiful book that looked better on the coffee table than it did on a kitchen bookshelf.
Recipes included Black Russian Cake, Asparagus Prosciutto Rolls, Grilled Scallops with Basil and Lavender Essence, French Toast in Honey Pecan Sauce, Baked Artichoke and Crab Dip, Spiked Chocolate Mint Espresso, Ravioli of Fresh Flowers, Avocado Chutney, and Chocolate Fig Bundles.
Intercourses became something of a sensation. The reception to the book was, in Hopkins' words at the time, "unbelievable."
"It was never supposed to turn into this," she said. "We're really glad that it did, but never in our wildest dreams did I think, 'Oh, I'm going to be calling my friends from the green room of the Leeza show, that eight different countries would call about the foreign rights.' That wasn't supposed to happen. But we'll take it."
In Gill's interview, Hopkins recalled some of the artistic problems the team faced: "Randall and I spent many hours on the phone saying, 'Asparagus. Asparagus. What can we do with asparagus?'" (The answer? A topless female model in a hip-hugging micromini of asparagus stalks.) For the lead image illustrating chocolate: "The idea was to drizzle chocolate all over the model, but when we did that it looked like we'd stabbed him. So somebody said, 'Hey, let's smear it on him.' So we hand-smeared it," Hopkins said.
Tough work, if you can get it. And apparently, well worth it. You can still buy Intercourses on Amazon today, as well as the duo's follow-up tome: New Intercourses, published in 2007.