Does heat enhance flavour for you or destroy it? Watch

Poll: Do you like spice?
I don't like it and I have my own resons (2)
16.67%
I don't like it for the reasons stated in the OP (3)
25%
I like it and I have my own reasons (4)
33.33%
I like it for the reasons stated in the OP (3)
25%
Powpowpowpowpow
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#1
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#1
Heat as in spicy heat, the type you'd get from chillies.

I've seen two very opposing sides, I've seen people who cannot eat anything spicy whatsoever because it just tastes like pure pain and nothing else, even destroying any flavour the food might have had.

Then there are people who regard spicy heat as an actual flavour, not just a pain sensation, and who find that heat enhances the other flavours in the food.

I belong in the former category, so not knowing what it's like to get pleasure or flavour from spicy food I am naturally a bit curious and interested as to how many people sincerely do. Obviously we're experiencing the world in a very real and different way, it triggers my imagination into wondering if perhaps some people have a physical difference that allows them to taste the flavour of spicy heat, but some people might lack that physical feature, if it exists, meaning that they can only taste the pain and the taste-numbing part, and no flavour or enhancement.
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Sabertooth
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#2
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#2
I don't like spicy food but I think that's because I never had it when I was a kid so I have no tolerance. I don't think there's an innate difference in people who like and don't like spicy.

I think it's something you can learn to like. My mother never ate spicy food for 50 years but her partner has gradually been increasing the amount of heat in his cooking and she's enjoying it more and more.
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Powpowpowpowpow
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Sabertooth)
I don't like spicy food but I think that's because I never had it when I was a kid so I have no tolerance. I don't think there's an innate difference in people who like and don't like spicy.

I think it's something you can learn to like. My mother never ate spicy food for 50 years but her partner has gradually been increasing the amount of heat in his cooking and she's enjoying it more and more.
I used to think this too, used to eat a lot more spicy food for that reason. I believed if I kept eating it I'd get used to it, so I ate a lot of fiery but to me tasteless meals, tasteless because the spice destroyed any flavour.

What actually happened was the reverse. I became more and more sensitive to it to the point where I now feel the heat in mild things I never used to feel any heat in.

So I still wonder if people do have something innate in them that determines this because I've met other people who have had similar experiences.
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Guybrush Sheepgood
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#4
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#4
I don't think the question really makes that much sense because you don't just get 'heat' from hot food you get the taste of whatever ingredient made it hot. So if I like the taste of the ingredient and it's not super duper hot then it's good. I love curries and mild curries can get really boring after a while.
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Powpowpowpowpow
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Guybrush Sheepgood)
I don't think the question really makes that much sense because you don't just get 'heat' from hot food you get the taste of whatever ingredient made it hot. So if I like the taste of the ingredient and it's not super duper hot then it's good. I love curries and mild curries can get really boring after a while.
The answer you gave makes sense in relation to the question, don't see where we're in disagreement. I did acknowledge that there are people who can taste the flavours in the spices used and regard spiciness and heat as flavour enhancers, but that there are also those who find that the heat in spicy food cancels this out rendering food tasteless and painful to eat, and no amount of getting used to it fixes that. I wonder if there's a biological reason for this, maybe something genetic?

For an example of this in action, I love the smell of food spices, amazing aroma. However, no matter how good the food tastes and no matter how long I allow it to cool, I'll probably not taste a single thing because the heat part of the spices, not the flavour, is overloading my tongue rendering me unable to taste. I have no idea what any of these spices actually taste like.

For example of a similar experience, you got a hot bowl of chicken soup, it's just hot enough to cause pain, and you stick a whole spoonful in your mouth without giving it a chance to cool. No matter how well cooked and seasoned that soup is you aren't going to taste a thing because your mouth is in a lot of pain. Different source of pain but same feeling.

Think about it, you know how some people are genetically predisposed to tolerate alcohol better than others? Maybe there could be something similar with spices.
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Gofre
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#6
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#6
If it tastes good and within my pain tolerance spice-wise I'll eat it, but I don't think I've ever eaten anything and thought it was tasty/tastier simply because of how spicy it is. I'll quite often lace chips with tabasco like most people would do with vinegar, but I'm not after the heat, I just like the taste of tabasco on chips.
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Manitude
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#7
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#7
I like a bit of heat to a point. My friends consider me to have a very low tolerance. A little zing to a dish can make it more interesting although when I'm cooking myself I've found that spices I use only taste strong enough in large quantities, at which point they become excessively hot.

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mikeyd85
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#8
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#8
Too much heat can ruin a tasty curry.
Just the right amount though leaves you with that wonderful spice high! :yep:
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cole-slaw
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#9
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#9
There's a sweet spot, where a little bit of heat can really be delicious/pleasurable, but beyond that and it just ruins the meal. I always think something around a medium/medium-hot is about perfect. A Madras is good, but a Vindaloo is just a waste of ingredients.
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Spacey Sprocket
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#10
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#10
I love spicy food but yes it can runin food if you use alot. Take Nandos hotest spice chicken for an example, its spicy but not so overpowering you can't taste the chicken.

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Rakas21
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#11
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#11
I love spicy food, it's definitely its own flavour and adds to the experience.
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IanDangerously
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Powpowpowpowpow)
Then there are people who regard spicy heat as an actual flavour, not just a pain sensation, and who find that heat enhances the other flavours in the food.
I'm very much in this category. There's different kinds of spicy heat depending on the ingredients used to create it that can accentuate the other flavours in the food in different ways. It works best with food that can hold it though, like Indian or Thai. I tend to fall into the trap of putting hot sauce on everything from steaks to pasta dishes when it doesn't really need to be there.
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vmama
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#13
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#13
I like a bit of heat to a point. My friends consider me to have a very low tolerance. A little zing to a dish can make it more interesting although when I'm cooking myself I've found that spices I use only taste strong enough in large quantities, at which point they become excessively hot
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