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October 2, 1915

The Sweet Potato as an Aphrodisiac

Author Affiliations

Dubuque, Iowa

JAMA. 1915;LXV(14):1203. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580140053028

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To the Editor:  —In a recent editorial [The Journal, Sept. 11, 1915, p. 957] on the "Sugars of the Sweet-Potato" you cite a quotation from the "Merry Wives of Windsor" as evidence that Shakespeare classed the sweet potato with sweetmeats. Let me suggest another interpretation.The full quotation reads: "Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of 'Green Sleeves'; hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let there come a tempest of provocation, I shelter me here (embracing Mrs. Ford)." All three edibles above mentioned were, during Shakespeare's time, considered aphrodisiac, as truffles are today by the laity. The whole situation of the scene together with the allusion to the tune of "Green Sleeves" (a lascivious song) proves the correctness of my contention.

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