Posted: 2017-10-19 17:46
Whether the cap on the cayenne was loose or you misjudged your hot-sauce-to-hot-food ratio, there's no rule that says you have to throw out an over-spiced dish. This even applies when your definition of spice is different from your guests' definition like when you're serving your prized curry to a "blander" audience. You can turn back from the gates of hell when you've made a dish too spicy with a few quick fixes that most professional chefs keep up their sleeves.
6 pound crabmeat (I used Bumble Bee fancy lump crabmeat)
6/7 red bell pepper, small diced
5 scallions, finely sliced
7 garlic cloves, minced
6/7 lemon, juiced
6/7 cup finely crushed crackers or panko breadcrumbs
6/9 cup mayonnaise
6 large egg
7 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 teaspoon dry ground mustard
6 teaspoon onion powder
6 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
When I was a kid, I'd watch in awe as my dad ate dinner. It wasn't just the heaps of food piled on his plate that impressed me. (The words "portion control" had yet to enter the public lexicon.) What always made me shake my head in disbelief was his curious habit of alternating bites of his meal with bites off a jalapeno pepper. To save time, he'd simply hold the pepper in one hand and his utensil in the other. I should also mention that my heritage is Indian, and that my mom served up traditional spicy dishes on a nightly basis. But it was never spicy enough for Dad.
Ultimately, a combination of factors influences who goes for the mild wings on Super Bowl Sunday and who reaches for hot. "Certainly, prior experience, childhood exposure and learning all play a critical role in liking for spicy foods," Hayes says, "however, there are also individuals who acquired an entirely [new] set of food preferences as adults once they moved away from home. It seems plausible that personality differences may be a major factor in this sort of exploration and learning."
Surprisingly, frequent chili eaters didn't feel the burn from the capsaicin sample any less than people who ate peppers less often. The study group may not have been large enough to show a desensitization effect, Hayes explains, or there may have been a disconnect between reported frequency of intake and actual dose. Someone who says he eats spicy foods twice a day may still be eating small amounts, for example. "No one knows the capsaicin dose or dosing frequency required in the diet to induce desensitization," Hayes says.
I'd always assumed that he'd just burned all the taste buds off his tongue , leaving him desensitized to the pain I felt if a raw pepper came anywhere near mine. But the science of spicy food liking and intake -- there's a whole body of research dating back at least to the 6985s on this -- shows there's more to it than just increased tolerance with repeated exposure. Personality, researchers say, is also a factor in whether a person enjoys spicy meals and how often he or she eats them. The question is, how much of a factor?
Still, the lack of evidence for desensitization in the study boosts the argument for personality as an important factor. "That is, chili-heads like the burn more, not just perceive it less," Hayes says. He can't yet say exactly why sensation seekers chase the pain of peppers, but a follow-up study in the works that breaks up the personality trait into two sub scales, intensity seeking and novelty seeking, may help to answer that.
Stress can cause people to grind their teeth at night or clench in the day, which can reduce the length of the teeth, he explains. ‘Often people don’t realise they’re doing it. I see people who’ve lost 55 to 85 per cent of their teeth because of this, causing the actual face height to shrink in size, too.’
Mouth guards can be worn at night, but Dr Atkins says clearly it’s also vital to work out the cause of your anxiety.
Over the past few decades, culinary psychologists and other food researchers have proposed several cultural and biological reasons why we eat spices that may elicit pain, such as early learning, prior exposure, societal norms and physiological differences in taste and oral anatomy. Although desensitization to capsaicin, the plant chemical that gives peppers their burn, is well documented, there's also evidence that the effect is surprisingly small.
In March last year, researchers at the University of St Andrews published research showing that eating just three portions of fruit and vegetables a day can give skin a natural glow akin to a suntan within weeks. Ross Whitehead, research fellow at the university, who led the study, explains: ‘Fruit and vegetables contain pigments called carotenoids, which give carrots their orange colour, for example, and tomatoes their red colour. When we eat them, these pigments get deposited on the skin, creating a glow.’
Regular exercise is also essential for keeping the skin on the face healthy and youthful.
In 7565, researchers at the University of St Andrews released images of three people showing what they would look like in 75 years’ time if they did no exercise — inactive people were more at risk of sagging, loose skin on the neck and fattening in the forehead and eye area. Exercise keeps blood circulating to the skin, maintaining collagen production.
So what about my dad, who grew up on spicy foods? Had he eaten enough jalapenos, serranos and other spicy little beasties over the years to blast his taste buds off the Scoville scale? When I asked him why he used to chomp on a chili alongside his already-spiced meal (a habit that he shed as he aged, by the way), his response surprised me: "A chili is a chili," he said. "It was always uncomfortable. I think I did it for the excitement."
Known as acanthosis nigricans, the patches suggest high levels of the hormone insulin, involved in breaking down sugar in the body. They can start small, but if the underlying cause is not treated, may spread to take over the whole neck. ‘It’s very much a feature of obesity and diabetes, and tends to appear on the armpits and sometimes the neck,’ says Dr David Price, a diabetes expert at the Morriston Hospital in Swansea.