Spicy Confessions

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

There was a time when I used to be as arrogant as the people who pepper their speech with obscenities and look down upon others who don't use foul language. Not that I knew I was arrogant; I merely considered myself superior to others on the virtue of my ability to eat extremely spicy food.

I learned from the health articles that contrary to some popular misconceptions, there weren't any evidence that chilies—red or green—caused slightest harm to our bodies or digestive tracks. Rather, chili peppers, along with other spices, stimulated our taste buds and produced saliva and other gastric juices, which helped in digestion. I found out that chilies had high vitamin C content and were low in fat and calories. In fact, a bowl full of chilies had 2.5 times more vitamin C than a bowl full of citrus fruits. Hot food kept our bodies cool in hot climate, and spices were natural food preservatives.

(via wonderopolis.org; link at the end of the post)
Armed with such knowledge, why wouldn't I feel smug and supercilious? I used to look at the people who couldn't eat spicy food—the bland people—with disdain and contempt. I thought they were timid and unadventurous. Whenever I invited such friends over meals, I would never make any effort to tone down my curries on the Scoville scale. Rather, I made my friends sweat, so that they could get accustomed to spicy food. This was all done with good intentions.

Then one fine day as I sat down to eat bhelpuri (a spicy trail mix) for evening snacks, I felt some irritation in my mouth. The irritation soon turned into an extreme burning sensation. The delicacy began to scrape my mouth as if it were made of glass shards. I finished my bowl full of bhelpuri with great difficulty. After that I tried to soothe the hurt with cold water. It felt a little better, but as soon as I would put anything in my mouth the sores would hurt.

And then it was time to make dinner. My husband and I usually work together in the kitchen, but that day I was exhausted from pain, which also gave me headache, so I declared myself incapacitated.

“You don’t have to cook with your head,” said the husband.

Despite such a romantic gesture, I declined to be lured into the kitchen. The husband made arhar dal, rice, alu-gobhi and rotis. When we sat down to eat, as soon as I took a bite, the food began riotous Occupy movement in my mouth. The husband revealed that he had added extra chili powder while cooking because he believed poison was the best antidote to poison.

I peremptorily dismissed his reasoning and tried to curb my hunger with curd and rice. For the next three days I made him finish the food he had cooked, while I survived on bland food.

While going through this tribulation, I realized how bland people might have felt eating spicy food at my home. My heart was filled with remorse. I regretted serving them food laden with red chilies, green chilies, and black pepper, and decided to be more considerate henceforth.

Right now, I am recuperating from mouth sores. I am not sure how long my regret would last. After all chili peppers have so many health benefits. Did I tell you that consumption of chili peppers produces endorphins, the natural opiates, which are also released when you exercise or you are in love, in your bodies? Yes, the same endorphins that staves off depression and makes us happy.

Update: My mouth sores have healed completely so has my conscience and I am back with good intentions.

Related:
HowStuffWorks: What Are Endorphins 
Wonderopolice.org: Why Are Chili Peppers So Spicy
The New York Times: Eating Spicy Food: What Are The Effects

18 comments:

  1. This too shall pass and you'll soon be back to your spicy ways.

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    1. Thanks Purba! The red faces of my friends with fumes coming out of their ears pricked my conscience, but I am fine now.

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  2. Wow... this is toooooooooooooooooooooo goodddd... I love chillies and my hubby cannot tolerate even pepper... Hee Hee! I'm condemned by everyone for having so many chillies... but I cook bland as he can't have spice at all ... Well All sorts make the world. Loved your post.

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  3. ... by the way - Get well soon dear and take care.

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  4. I am glad that you have recovered fully and are back to spreading good intentions all around. Which is such a pity for your friends who just received your latest dinner evite!
    Delightful read, as always!

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    1. Thanks Rickie! But seriously, you should pity me because many times I am invited and made to eat bland food :-/

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  5. Fun read, Giri! I love spicy food too. And next time try cold milk or buttermilk when stung :). But seriously I can't have bland food though I do tone down the heat when calling guests!

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    1. Thanks Rachna! Yes, I read a lot about chilies while writing this post and found that water is ineffective. Cold milk and other absorbent food such as bread and rice are helpful.

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  6. Good one. I am one of those who likes hot food sometimes. Sometimes I go on the bland bandwagon. Most times I am in between.

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  7. Very interesting write up I cannot tolerate even a pinch of hot food..If sometimes we go and the food is spicy I get revolutions in my stomach..

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    1. That means you have to be very careful! Take care!

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  8. Very sight of chillies scares me.
    However,black peppar is very good for soar throat.

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    1. Yeah, especially crushed black pepper in tea :-)

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  9. I am one of those blandies and I am glad I was never experimented upon like this.

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  10. Aren't you a great friend, who spreads good intentions? After all, who would think of all the benefits of chillies and make their friends experience them too? And conscience? What conscience? :)

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