Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feeling the Burn

I love food, especially spicy food. The sting of chillies adds a good kick to any meal, and makes even a bowl of plain rice palatable. Why should it be so, though? After all, the pain we feel from eating chillies is very real - capsaicin, the active ingredient in chillies, directly stimulates pain receptors in our taste buds. It doesn't make sense that we should enjoy doing something that hurts us, and indeed other animals shy away from them. James Gorman at the New York Times writes about why we like to punish ourselves with chillies, and why these plants are so spicy to begin with.

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