Food for the heart, and more

For the last 18 years, Dr. Dolores Lamb and her lab members have celebrated Valentine’s Day by hosting their annual aphrodisiac lunch. However, this year’s event was bittersweet in more ways than one – it was Lamb’s last aphrodisiac luncheon at Baylor.

Lab members, including Lamb, call upon their expertise in reproductive medicine by preparing dishes that contain multiple aphrodisiac ingredients and then enjoy the feast as a team.

“The event began when myself and a scholar in the lab had a grant to define the role of neurosteroids in sexual motivation,” said Lamb, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor. “I challenged the lab members to read about what is known about aphrodisiacs, to be creative in designing their cooking ‘experiments’ with aphrodisiac foods and to enjoy the good times and teamwork engendered by this luncheon.”

Some of the dishes made this year included Lamb’s famous “Love Chili,” raspberry meatballs, avocado toast, avocado dip, strawberry cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries and many others.

Each year, two winners are selected based on most ingredients with aphrodisiac properties used in a dish and best-tasting dish.

Here are this year’s winners:

Best Tasting Dish
Hot & Saucy Meatballs
Lucy Gonzalez, senior administrative coordinator, Department of Urology
Aphrodisiac ingredients included: raspberry, honey, red meat and pepper
2 bags of HEB Fully Cooked Homestyle Meatballs
½ jar of HEB Organics Raspberry Preserves
1 bottle of Kraft Sweet Honey BBQ Sauce
1 bottle of Kraft Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce
½ cup water
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • In a separate bowl, mix the BBQ sauces, water and the raspberry preserves. Pour the mixture over the thawed meatballs in the crockpot and stir the pepper flakes in.
  • Turn the crockpot on high for 3 hours and then serve.
Dish with the Most Aphrodisiac Ingredients
Penne a la Vodka Pasta
Dr. Jeffrey White, clinical postdoctoral fellow, Department of Urology
Aphrodisiac ingredients included: olive oil, garlic, chives, onions, tomato, basil, red pepper and cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1-2 pats butter or 1 teaspoon olive oil, for pan
1/3 cup vodka
1 can crushed tomatoes
Dried basil
Salt and pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup of half and half
1 box penne
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Add butter or oil to a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until browned.
  • Add 1/3 cup vodka and cook (stirring occasionally) until vodka evaporates. Add can of tomatoes. Keep on low to medium heat and stir. Add dried basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
  • When the sauce is thick, add ½ cup of half and half and stir on low heat until the sauce is pink and a good consistency.
  • Make the pasta according to the package instructions. After draining water, add Parmesan to the hot noodles before adding sauce. Also add a pat of butter to the hot pasta, if desired.
  • Let sauce sit for 5-10 minutes after removing from heat before adding the penne.

For the last 18 years, Lamb and her team have cooked up many creative and fun dishes to celebrate their day-to-day research. There have been 36 winners, countless memories and Lamb jokes that this luncheon has even been responsible for a few new babies. Lamb will be joining the Weill Cornell Medicine.

“It is difficult to discern how effectively these foods stimulate libido or spark sexual imagination, but of course, it is always fun to try,” she said.

-By Jeannette Jimenez Sanchez