So being a sauce maker and coach! I was fascinated to discover the work of a group of researchers at Penn State who have discovered that personality seems to be a significant player in our lust for heat or spice in our food. A study published in the journal Food Quality and Preference also points to key gender differences which drive our love of spicy food.
Women it suggests who like spicy foods, may be more drawn to the sensation — the burn in the throat
Men on the other hand appear to like the idea of tough men being able to withstand the heat — "It is possible that the cultural association of consuming spicy foods with strength and machismo has created a learned social reward for men,” say the researchers.
Since starting our sauce business 2 years ago we have discovered a great deal about heat and here are our top tips if you want to experiment with spice!
1. Take It Slow!
99% of people want the flavour before the heat kicks in. Taste test as you go, add the hot sauce slowly throughout the cooking process that way the flavour will come out as well as the heat and you wont ruin a good meal with too much heat.
(Is there ever enough heat?)
2. Start with mild sauces that help you focus on flavour, not heat;
Remember the heat will grow as you continue eating your food so don't overwhelm your pallet early on!
3. Experiment; have fun with different idea’s;
add your hot sauce to, soups, casseroles, mayonnaise, stir fry, even ice-cream
4. Exposure, exposure;
Keep trying it and you likely will be able to build up your tolerance. Start mild and keep building!
5. Taste before you douse;
Taste the food first and then decide which background flavour you want as well as heat!
6. Respect the peppers that are too hot for you;
Different peppers different heat!
"Remember, habanero & scotch bonnet is just the start of the upper echelon of heat!"
7. Never drink water in response to too much heat it will just fan the flames;
use milk or yogurt instead. If all else fails eat a couple of squares of chocolate!