February 14: Valentine’s Day and the start of Lent

Seafood takes center stage on Valentine's Day and during the 40 days of Lent.

by | February 13, 2024

Filed Under Events | Uncategorized

Seafood boosts libido and Christian faith – both boost seafood sales!

Image credit: Cameron’s Seafood

Wednesday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day – a tradition that dates back to a Roman festival in the year 496 to celebrate the start of spring.

More recently, lovers choose lobster as the top Valentine’s Day dish to share with that special someone. Crab legs and shrimp also get the nod as ‘romantic meals’ on one of the busiest dining out days for U.S. restaurants. 

In a national survey by Harris Interactive, chefs called lobster an ‘exotic delicacy’  that results in an intimate moment because it is hand-held and shareable.’

They called all shellfish ‘a catalyst for connection like no other food.’

According to the National Retail Federation, total expected spending on gifts and dining out for significant others is expected to reach a record high of $14.2 billion this year.

The links between food and love have a long history, including the belief that oysters enhance male desire and performance. Until recently there was no scientific evidence to back that up.

Studies by Miami and Italian researchers have revealed that oysters contain compounds that prompt the release of sexual hormones.  And the scent of oysters resembles the most potent female pheromone.  Oysters also are loaded with zinc, a key nutrient for testosterone production for both men and women.

Two women authors tout omega-3 fish oils as serious libido lifters.

Omega-3 molecule Credit: World of Molecules

In her book “Can You Eat Your Way to Better Sex?” Dr. Yvonne Fulbright told FOX News that fish oil raises levels of compounds that control ‘feel good’ levels in the brain, and stimulate the release of sex hormones.

 Author Marrena Lindberg also sings the praises of fish oil in “The Orgasmic Diet.” She says fish oil, like Viagra, increases nitric oxide levels in artery linings, which increases blood flow to the brain and sex organs.

Seafoods from colder waters contain the most omega 3’s. Pacific oysters pack a special punch at 1700 micrograms of omega 3s, the same as Alaska king salmon.

The Alaska seafood with the most omega’s of all?   Sablefish.

February 14 is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent, a time of fasting and soul searching for hundreds of millions of Christians around the world.

The word Lent derives from the Old English lencten, meaning spring. Many believers will give up favorite foods during Lent, or they’ll devote time to volunteering or charity work.

And what the peak holiday selling season from Thanksgiving to Christmas means to retailers, Lent means to the seafood industry.

Food Services of America, for example, reports that Ash Wednesday is the busiest day of the year for frozen seafood sales, and the six weeks following is the top selling season for the entire year.

And McDonald’s says it sells nearly a quarter of its total yearly Filet-O-Fish sandwiches this month.

The Lenten season, which this year runs from February 14 to March 28 dates back to the 4th century. 

Ash Wednesday is so called from the ritual of placing ashes from burned palm branches on the forehead as a sign of repentance. The ashes symbolize the religious statement “remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

 In many countries, the day before Lent – called Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday – has become a last fling before the start of the long fasting season.

For centuries, it was customary to not eat meat during Lent, which is why some people call the festival carnival, Latin for farewell to meat.

While nearly all seafood enjoys a surge of interest during Lent, the most traditional items served are the so called “whitefish” species, such as cod, Alaska pollock, flounders, and halibut.

But no matter what the seafood favorite, the six week Lenten season is good news for Alaska, which provides over 60% of the nation’s wild caught seafood to U.S. restaurants and grocery stores.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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