Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Spicy food is enjoyed the world over. In some countries, like Indonesia, spicy foods are even fed to newborns and only the dying are kept from enjoying everything the spices have to offer. Eating spicy foods will open up a whole new world of culinary delights to those who dare to venture.
Start with foods that are only slightly more spicy than what you are currently used to. As you eat these foods, note which spices you like, which you don't, and whether they cause any side effects. Once you grow comfortable with the new level of spice in your food, move up to the next. As you move up, go with those spices, whether for heat or flavor, that you prefer. Continue increasing the amount of spice in your food as you adjust to each new level. However, give yourself time to adapt to each increase in flavor and heat. As you do so, you will open up a wide range of food options you might never have considered trying.
Do a bit of research on the different spices used in foods and their health hazards and benefits. For instance, cayenne pepper (which is very hot if overused) has been shown to improve heart health. If you eat something that is overly spicy, have a glass of milk handy. Milk will more effectively relieve the burn on your tongue than water. The reason for this is that the burn is caused by oils in the spices. Milk washes away the oils; water doesn't.Sugar is also useful for killing heat, although it isn't as easy to consume in large quantities as milk. Yogurt can also be pretty handy in cooling your stomach down after eating spicy food. It brings down the body temperature, making it easier for your body to handle the food and you will have fewer problems the morning after. Plain is best, but a cup of vanilla will do also.
It can be helpful to incorporate new spices into foods that tend to mask or dilute the spice, like a sandwich or a soup.Spicy soups can speed up the adaptation process, due to the constant contact with the mouth. If you put very spicy spices in it, it won't taste as spicy as you would think it would be. Since there is liquid to cool it down, if you don't have a liquid to cool it down, it will be spicy. Milk can help reduce the pain from spicy foods.Take note that the spiciest parts of hot peppers is their veins and seeds. The actual flesh of the pepper is not very spicy. You too can be cool by chomping on the flesh of a Habenero while your friend gets black eyes from not avoiding the white veins and seeds.
Always wash your hands after handling spicy food directly. This is especially true after cutting raw hot peppers.If you will be handling large quantities of hot peppers that will be cut or sliced open, such as when making Jalapeno poppers, be sure to wear latex or rubber gloves. The active ingredient in hot peppers can permeate through the skin and cause a severe burning sensation for days!Stomach ulcers are in fact not aggravated by consuming peppers. Chili peppers may actually even reduce their occurence. But, if you have any health issues, and are concerned, consult your physician before consuming these types of food.
Do not allow any juice to get on your lips, eyes, or anything else sensitive as the burn can last at least 15 minutes. Overeating spicy foods can numb your taste buds, disabling your sense of taste for a while. When headed to the bathroom, be sure to wash your hands after handling peppers, especially if you are of the male gender.