Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Chilli – the hot and not so cool spice

‘The top of my head was coming off. My eyes were streaming, my nose was running and I could barely see the plate in front of me.  My tongue went numb and I tried to catch my breath but all the air had gone. I grabbed the glass of water to quench the fire in my mouth. ‘

This is one man‘s description of eating ‘the hottest curry of them all’ -  the thall which according to one recipe contains at least 12 fresh or dried chillies and 3 teaspoons of hot chilli powder.  Most of us have heard of vindaloo but restaurateurs have also created ‘bindaloo’ (hotter) and ‘tindaloo’ (even hotter).  The Rapali in Newcastle has created ‘Curry Hell’ and this has lured chefs and TV stars to their table and to their special test of determination – or is it madness? The Rupali’s staff say Curry Hell makes vindaloo taste like ice cream and Gordon Ramsey says it is the hottest curry he has ever tasted.  If you manage to finish the dish your picture is included in their hall of fame along with Chris Evans and Adrian Chiles. 
So why on earth do we do it? According to Professor Paul Bloom this is what distinguishes man from other animals. Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale and in his book ‘How pleasure works’ he takes a look at why we like what we like.  This includes seeking out potentially dangerous experiences like sky diving or by deliberately giving ourselves pain and getting pleasure from it.
 “Philosophers have often looked for the defining feature of humans — language, rationality, culture and so on. I’d stick with this: Man is the only animal that likes Tabasco sauce.”
Is this what makes us human? More about our contrary nature later......

No comments:

Post a Comment