Archive | August, 2009

Heat Seeking

31 Aug

chilies

By Stephanie Dickison

“Boomers are triggering a U.S. movement toward hotter and spicier foods. In the past nine years, the consumption of chili peppers in the U.S. has increased 50%.” – via TrendHunter

I don’t know what’s happened this last year, but practically every meal I eat, I wonder how I can make it hotter, kick up the heat a notch – or seven.

It started out very innocently – living with a meat and potatoes guy, we kept a bottle of hot sauce in the fridge door and a mostly forgotten jar of hot peppers in the back behind the bread and assorted exotic condiments. I used them occasionally on my eggs or a burger, but left them mostly to my fella.

Then I started reviewing restaurants. Portuguese Piri Piri and Mexican dishes laced with peppers were a part of my job and somehow I came to build up a tolerance for spicier fare.

And over this last year, I have been adding red, gold and green heat to whatever I can.

In fact, it’s so out of hand that a couple of nights ago, my fella and I were out and wanted to grab a quick bite to eat. We went for sushi where I ordered a spicy tuna roll and a salmon roll. I added wasabi to the spicy tuna, which Scott had already remarked on its incredible heat. While I did find it hot, it didn’t stop me from adding wasabi to it. And while I didn’t break out into a sweat, I did get a stomach ache not long after.

When I go grocery shopping now, I have moved from the “mild” sauces, skipped the “medium” category completely and gone straight for the “hot,” sometimes making it too hot even for Scott, the man who can down a euphoric basket of Scotch Bonnet drummies with just a mist of sweat and always a smile on his face.

I am convinced that because I didn’t grow up with anything spicy at home (Worcestershire was the hottest thing we had), it is simply a building up of my palate through experiences at restaurants and the introduction to foods and sauces that are not just hot, but actually taste good.

This is why I now get hot peppers on my burgers and sandwiches, Brooklyn Petro (a company of 2 guys who wanted heat with flavour) on my eggs and my curries and stir fries at home have gone from mild-mannered to rock the Kasbah hot. Even my Mom who can’t even stand the heat of ginger has been coming along on the heat ride, saying that she enjoys the extra kick now and again.

This shows me that really anyone can build up their palate and like getting used to things you don’t like and then introducing them into your meals, can really change the way you feel about them. And often times, they become your favourite go-to item.

Recently, I was picking out a salsa and decided that I would go for hot, as medium is usually pretty mild, and I was in the mood for a little heat.

After dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, my fella and I tucked into the couch to watch a movie. I brought out the chips and salsa and pressed “play.”

Without much thought, I reached for a chip, swept it briskly through the salsa and put most of it in my mouth.

The phrase “hotter than hell” doesn’t quite do it justice. Tears squeezed out of my eyes, liquid gushed from my nose and my mouth felt engulfed in a searing heat that seemed to increase in intensity as seconds passed.

I’d say that my palate has sufficiently has gone up a notch since then.

Last night I had some hot wings and realized that I was putting hot sauce on them.

Uh oh.