For 18 years, Dolores J. Lamb, Ph.D., has been hosting an aphrodisiac luncheon on Valentine’s Day. The popular luncheon, which has drawn international media attention, features unique dishes thoughtfully prepared by her trainees, fellow researchers and colleagues.
As director of the Laboratory for Male Reproductive Research and Testing at Baylor College of Medicine, Lamb started the tradition as way to liven up a lecture series about boosting the male libido.
“It all started because originally I had a trainee and we had an NIH grant for trying to understand the controls of male sexual motivation. Many drugs on the market help to enhance performance, but they need to initiate it in the brain,” Lamb said. “I used to always lecture on what is known on the molecular biology of libido and in recent years, we have stopped with the lecture because it has become more of a festive lunch.”
Each year, Lamb and her trainees do their best to create tasty dishes oozing with libido-boosting ingredients. Lamb gives an award for the best tasting aphrodisiac food—from artichokes to peppers—and one for the dish with the most aphrodisiac ingredients.
“I think it’s a good lab team building activity because we have to be considerate of all of the food allergies and dietary restrictions we all have,” she said. “They also have to do research to understand why certain foods are considered to be aphrodisiac foods.”
Foods are considered to be aphrodisiacs because of their texture, taste and heat.
“In general, if you think about it, many aphrodisiac foods are from folklore, but some are considered to be aphrodisiacs because of their texture—oysters for example. And they are also rich in Zinc which is very good for manhood,” Lamb said. “Hot peppers get the endorphins going and send a chill up your spine … a tingly sensation when you eat them.”
Over the years, the luncheon has been responsible for a baby or two.
“There are a couple of babies that we take credit for,” Lamb said. “We had one baby from the luncheon two years ago—a fellow urologist. And he said he’s not eating this year.”
This year’s aphrodisiac luncheon is bittersweet for another reason. It is Lamb’s last luncheon at Baylor College of Medicine.
“I have wonderful memories of all of my trainees and when I think of all of them—from post-docs, the graduate students, the M.D. fellows and undergraduates—there have been about 200 I’ve worked with. It’s kind of a big family heritage and history,” Lamb said.
This year, Dr. Lamb made her famous “Love Chili” with these aphrodisiac ingredients:
• Five types of peppers
• Three types of Beans
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