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Opening Arguments

Hot stuff

Enough frivolity! Let's tackle a profound question:

Spice tolerance: Is it nature or nurture? As with most things, it’s a little bit of both.

[. . .]

Scientists speculate that some people are born with pain receptors that are less sensitive to capsaicin’s sting, but no thorough research exists on the subject as of yet. However, researchers know that exposing children to spicy food at a young age can desensitize nerve endings.

[. . .]

But then how do you account for spice-lovers who started eating these foods at an older age?

To answer this question, researchers at Penn State University investigated the link between personality traits and affinity for spicy food. They found that “sensation seekers,” or people who enjoyed the thrills of roller coasters, gambling, and meeting new people, were generally more enthusiastic about piquant dishes. Others in the field criticize the study’s predominantly Caucasian test group. However, the researchers argue that homogeneity was essential to observing personality correlations.

I never particularly thought of my sister as a thrill seeker, but, man, can she pile on the hot sauce. I've always thought of myself as moderately tolerant of spicy foods, but she can eat stuff that would send me weeping to the bathroom. I think she may even be at the burned-out taste bud stage now.

Hmm. May be time for a little Szechuan tonight.


judy morris
Tue, 06/11/2013 - 4:14pm

I think I was kind of a thrill seeker in my day, but those are long past....and my taste buds are burnt out now......