Eat Your Heart Out: When Candy Just Won’t Do On Valentine’s Day

Tasty, sophisticated aphrodisiac or nasty, snot-like mollusc? Better know your partner’s thoughts on oysters before serving them up this Valentine’s Day.

Aphrodisiacs aren’t real. It doesn’t matter how many oysters you slurp down, how much chocolate you stuff in your face or how many hot peppers you burn down your throat—if your partner’s not in the mood, you aren’t getting any on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year for that matter.

It’s true. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to—well, get lucky—after eating those or any other of the classic aphrodisiac foods, it’s because the object of your affection was likely turned on by the effort you put into satisfying their needs, sexual or otherwise. Libidos aren’t governed by the foods you eat. Actually, a poor diet can wreak havoc on your sexual desire and performance, but that’s not what romantics are referring to when they write articles titled “Top 10 Foods That Are Guaranteed To Turn Her On!”

So what is the perfect food to eat or serve your loved one on Valentine’s Day? Which cuisine will display your burning passion by demonstrating just how far you’ll go to excite and entice them? The answer might surprise you, but no, it’s not “cherub meat.”

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1485

Aphrodisiac Food Pyramid

Before getting to that arousing meal, let’s make the aphrodisiac myth do the walk of shame away from this article. The Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, lends her name to the fabled aphrodisiacs. That fictional character was depicted in The Birth of Venus, a painting by Botticelli that imagined Aphrodite emerging from a giant scallop shell, as pure and as perfect as a pearl. This is likely why shellfish—especially oysters—are widely recognized as aphrodisiacs.

Other foods with a reputation for revving sexual engines include cucumbers, carrots, bananas, asparagus, figs, garlic, avocado and artichokes. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that all of those foods bear a striking resemblance to various parts of male genitalia—and perhaps it isn’t a coincidence at all. Judge for yourself.

Here’s a secret: All foods could potentially be aphrodisiacs. It goes back to the aforementioned “effort” one displays impressing the object of their affection. All of those foods and more could be used in preparing a romantic meal that will make him or her absolutely swoon. And little wine. Wine always helps.

Beef heart skewers

Heart-Shaped Sparks

Let’s get to the point of this article. What food should you feed your crush/significant other in order to get them to realize just how much they need you? Answer: It’s the very same organ that’s always been associated with Valentine’s Day. Heart. No, not those chalky, nasty candy hearts with vague proclamations of commitment stamped upon them. We’re talking about actual, anatomical hearts—preferably from a cow, but chicken hearts can also do nicely.

To the squeamish, eating a heart might sound gross. After all, it’s an organ meat and all organ meats are nasty bits of offal, more fit for the ground-up sludge that makes up hot dogs, right? But the thing about hearts is that these are not organs that filter out vile waste like livers or spleens. Instead, hearts are made purely of muscle, just like all of the other meat you so gluttonously wolf down at every holiday and barbecue.

There’s nothing scary about the forgotten chunks of the sources of our protein. Butchers and chefs call it offal, which is said to mean “off-fall” or what is left over after the butchering process is completed. This includes, heart, liver, tongue, kidneys, glands, feet, nose, ears, eyes, brain and basically anything else deemed “gross” by the masses. In reality, these horrific cuts of meat are higher in nutrients and iron than all of those other pedestrian portions. As it happens, beef heart pumps with amino acids, folate, iron, zinc and selenium, along with vitamins B6 and B12. All of which are necessary for a healthy live and—guess what else—a healthy sex life.

Beef hearts and rice

As for taste, beef heart boasts a robust beefy flavor with a slight gaminess that’s more reminiscent of a wild animal than anything truly unpleasant. As for how to prepare, beef heart is extremely versatile and takes well to both quick cooking and long stewing. Try beef heart braised in red wine for a luxuriously romantic meal or bear down on some beef heart stew when you want to get rustic and hearty.

But perhaps the best way to prepare beef heart is also the simplest. All you really need to do is slice it, marinade it in olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, arrange the chunks on skewers and grill on very high heat until medium rare—only about 1 or 2 minutes on each side. Then, serve with a drizzle of olive oil and an optional sprinkling of fresh herbs, if you’re feeling fancy. It’s the perfect appetizer for a night leg touching and close talking.

Food For Heart

The thing about Valentine’s Day is this: It’s a farce. A made-up holiday that was invented solely for the purpose of filling our country’s capitalist gap between Christmas and Mother’s Day. But, chances are your significant other would be pretty bummed if you don’t do something special for them. So at least do the bare minimum and make your partner feel loved on Valentine’s Day. You could also treat them special every day of the year, but hey, you’re only human.

Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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