There’s so much to say about chillies. When fresh, they add spiciness, freshness, colour and texture to dishes. When dried, their personality changes and they become complex with a huge range of textures, aromas, flavours and colours. In both forms, they are the stars of Mexican cuisine.
Why do we add chillies to our food?
We have covered the before and after of the most popular Mexican chillies in our previous blog. This time, we’ll focus on why do we even like chillies at all.
It is easy to understand why some people think that chillies have one main purpose: to add heat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Adding heat is just one part of all the ways chillies add magic to dishes. However, it would be a mistake to deny that spiciness is one of the main reasons why we love chillies so much.
Turns out, humans do love the pain caused by capsaicin, the compound found in chillies that causes the burning sensation. There is an interesting note in an article published by Scientific American where it mentions that we like to tolerate pain for pleasure. Here’s in detail:
-Perhaps we seek out the painful experience of snacking on chillies while consciously maintaining awareness that there is no real danger to ourselves. After all, people seem to enjoy – and actively seek out – many other sensations that are otherwise undesirable but are ostensibly safe: the sensation of falling provided by rollercoasters or skydiving, the feelings of fear and anxiety while watching horror movies, the physical pain experienced upon jumping into icy water, or even the feelings of sadness that come while watching a tear-jerker. Perhaps it is this cognitive mismatch itself that provides the thrill: like strapping into a rollercoaster or popping Hostel into your DVD player over and over again, the burn of capsaicin only seems to be threatening.-
Whether you are a thrill-seeker or not by enjoying their heat, there’s more to chillies than that but, if you are here for the pain, we get it, we love it too! So much that not only our food includes spicy dishes but also delicious spicy salsas and even our beloved spicy snacks!
Do you want to know how Mexican chillies rank on the Scoville Scale? Check our previous blog Our Chillies Ranked here.
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