Monday, February 26, 2007

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

On Friday night, I was at The Pedant's ancestral home for dinner. (Well, I was there all weekend.) His mother made a spicy Chinese-themed ritual dinner, with hot and sour soup, ma-po tofu, beef and broccoli (fake beef for me!), etc., wit the requisite ritual foods as well. During the course of the meal, the members of the dinner party got to talking about spicy foods. Fast forward to last night, while "stranded" (over-dramatization) in a train station in The Headquarters of the Arsenal of Democracy, I enjoyed a fast-food dinner of Indian food. It was good and spicy, just the way I like it. Which got me thinking again about the value of spicy food.

Now, I LOVE spicy food. Mexican, Guatemalan, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, etc. (I can't say I love Cajun or Creole spicy foods since I tend to not like okra and I don't eat seafood and haven't eaten much of it.) At the ritual dinner on Friday, we had talked about spicy food being acculturated--kids egging each other on "ooo...I bet you can't eat [food x] with this much hot sauce...," or how in warmer climates people tend to have spicier cuisine because it helps them sweat (which cools them down). Spicy food also helps with digestion. And just plain tastes good.

Now, I come from a very good pale people (Eastern Europe ain't so warm!) and although my cultural food is relatively bland (salt and pepper kuggel anyone?) or sweet (mmm...rugulach and babka...); it may be very tasty (and salty!) but not spicy.

I attribute my love for spicy to my parents who LOVE spicy food too. In fact, I didn't always love stuff so hot; as a kid my mother had to buy me mild salsa for taco night. Now, I buy medium salsa (over hot) mostly because I like a lot of it, and hot will become overwhelming. And I am not a hot sauce lover. My uncle from Guatemala and his children (who are half-Latin American, half-Shtetl) and my aunt (full shtetl, but married to a Guatemalan and actually looks Guatemalan) LOVE hot sauce and try lots of them, from the moderately mild to the OHMYGODMYMOUTHISBURNING hot. I like when food is spicy, but still has a taste.

Many of my friends, however, don't like spicy foods. The Pedant and I have found a restaurant tray, I ate it all that we both enjoy that has very good and very spicy Indian food. I went there with my friends for my birthday last spring and when they brought out the medium-spicy appetizerloveingly, while they all ordered more mango lassies to cool their burning mouths. Wimps.

So although my pale, pale people don't generally eat spicy foods, I do. And love it. Mmm...

1 comment:

Annie said...

I love Chinese-themed shabbat dinner! I should do one of those soon-ish.