What to CookValentine's Day

All the Aphrodisiac Recipes You Didn’t Know You Needed

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there’s no better time to talk aphrodisiacs. People have been using food as libidinal jumper cables for ages: The Kama Sutra devotes pages to herbs and objects that enhance sensuality. Aphrodisiacs also appear in the ancient empires of the Mediterranean—the word itself derives from the name of the Greek goddess of beauty and love, Aphrodite. Common aphrodisiacs include oysters, champagne, asparagus, chocolate, pomegranate, and saffron, among many, many others. It all depends who you ask.

But do they actually work? Who knows (plus, this is a family site). In actuality, there’s never really been any conclusive scientific backing behind aphrodisiacs. Some foods, like coffee, are stimulants in that they up your heart rate, but that’s about it. Instead, aphrodisiacs are more fun to talk about as historical artifacts. We humans love to imbue things with meaning, whether or not there’s any real justification. If you feel like eating some common aphrodisiacs this Valentine’s Day, be my guest! Here are some recipes to get you started. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Oysters & Asparagus

Oyster Pan Roast

Oyster Pan Roast by Food52

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Lemon-Mustard Sauce

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Lemon-Mustard Sauce by foxeslovelemons

Asparagus, Leek, and Ricotta Quiche

Asparagus, Leek, and Ricotta Quiche by Erin McDowell

Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with a Sriracha Lime Butter

Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with a Sriracha Lime Butter by melissav

Saffron & Pomegranate

Butternut Squash and Saffron Risotto

Butternut Squash and Saffron Risotto by Emiko

Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shanks

Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shanks by ieatthepeach

Roasted Delicata Squash with Spicy Yogurt Dressing and Pomegranate

Roasted Delicata Squash with Spicy Yogurt Dressing and Po... by Josh Cohen

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives by Sonali aka the Foodie Physi...

Champagne & Chocolate

Pink Champagne Cake

Pink Champagne Cake by Anne Byrn

Chocolate Dipped Tangerines

Chocolate Dipped Tangerines by Alice Medrich

Carey Nershi's Angostura Sugar Cubes for Champagne Cocktails

Carey Nershi's Angostura Sugar Cubes for Champagne Cocktails by Genius Recipes

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Perfect Chocolate Cake by Posie Harwood

What's your Valentine's Day go-to recipe? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Food History