I`ve lived long enough in Mexico to start craving Mexican food whenever I am out of the country. When I went to Russia for 3 weeks I felt an absence of something important in my food life, almost a void,I knew that it was definitely chile. Who would have imagined, that me, someone who was not accustomed to spicy food, would end up having chile cravings. Russian food is bland, I guess the most spicy ingredient is mustard. I am definitely not even close to tolerating the typical level of Mexican spiciness. However, with every bite I take I develop my appreciation – it is like mastering yoga – nothing but practice.
My first meal in Mexico was accompanied by a small container of habanero sauce. I was warned that it was hot but very flavoursome. I dipped a prong of my fork into the sauce and put it on my tongue. It immediately felt as if I had stabbed my tongue with a knife and after 2 minutes it got even worse. It was nothing but pain at first, but with time I understood that habanero can be really tasty. I also remember my husband`s face as he bit off a piece of ¨chile de arbol¨ and how he could not speak for 15 minutes after. Being Turkish he is much more tolerant of spicy food than me which made the situation even more memorable.So, why do people do this to themselves?
Spicy food is like a drug, you suffer and then you ask for more. Why? What is so good about spicy food?
1.It makes you feel high
Capsaicin – the compound that gives heat to that chilies causes pain in your mouth and your body starts producing endorphins.
2.It makes you look better
You can loose weight and fight acne while eating spicy food on daily basis. It speeds up your metabolism and makes you feel more satisfied. Regarding acne, the reasons are vague – it could fights bad bacteria in your digestive system or be because of its high vitamin content, especially vitamin C.
3. It promotes better health
Capsaicin lowers bad cholesterol, helps prevent heart attacks and fights some cancer cells.
A conversation with a Mexican taxi driver comes to mind. He told me that he always carries a chile in his pocket because he does not trust that the food that he eats outside his house will be spicy enough. Will I be like him when I leave Mexico? Whilst I initially thought it was ridiculous, the anecdote seems more and more reasonable as time goes on.