Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

How Hot Do You Like It (Sometimes)

Iron Throat – I'll take it as hot as you can make it
5
16%
Very Hot
6
19%
Hot
6
19%
Medium Hot
9
29%
Medium
3
10%
On the Mild Side
1
3%
Mild
0
No votes
El Wimpo (Shel's term, not mine, but appropriate perhaps)
1
3%
 
Total votes : 31

Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:09 pm

It is said that there are fire-breathing dragons in parts of Yemen and Ethiopia. Truth is, I have never encountered any of those charming creatures but if they do exist it is quite possibly because of the level of hot sauce used in some of the foods of those areas.

"Heat" in the sense we are using comes from one thing only – the use of various kinds of hot peppers. It is true that any monkey can add hot peppers to any extent they so desire. It is also true that it takes a good cook to know just how much heat to add to a dish to make those peppers complement and not dominate the flavor of the food. This week's poll, for which my thanks for the suggestion to Shel T. – where do you place yourself on the scale of the appreciation of hot/spicy food. Obviously a rather generalized question as one might easily select very hot for appropriate Thai, Ethipian, Mexican or other cuisines and mild for some French or Italian dishes. In general, however, where do you place yourself? And of course, any comments you may care to make on the issue….
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:20 pm

I voted for medium-hot, because I need at least that level of heat in something I eat every day. But, when I have a taste for something hot, I want it hot enough to prickle my tongue for awhile after eating, but not destroy my tastebuds along the way.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Matilda L » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:08 pm

I enjoy hot spicy flavours, but agree with Jo Ann: once it starts to impair the tastebuds, it's counter productive. Sometimes lesser heat can allow subtleties of flavour to develop that would be masked by too much hot spice. Hot's good, but in balance with the other flavours.

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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Shel T » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:47 pm

I voted for "very hot" and that's the way I've liked it for mucho tiempo. This of course applies to the cuisines where this kind of heat can be the norm, like Indian, thai, some African cuisine, Mexican, Tex Mex etc.
And although I've been accused of heating up everything I eat to the max, LOL not true, so French, Italian type cuisines remain unsullied!
I'm also very conscious of not overheating dishes I'm making for others to eat, like chili E.G. and will make separate portions for the "heat seekers".
I have ventured into the realms of the 'super-hot' and quickly returned, one visit usually being enough. I love 'hot' but not to the 'agony' level and have gotten way past trying to prove how macho I am!
Dave's Insanity for example, and well-named it is, is up around a million Scoville units and I really don't believe anybody who says they enjoy that kind of pain!
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Mike Wolinski » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:13 pm

I'm a medium hot kind of guy, past that level the taste of the food gets overwhelmed by the heat.


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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby EY Han » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:07 pm

I voted for hot, although from reading how Shel described and with what cuisines "very hot" was associated with I not sure where the line crosses from hot to very hot to iron throat. I totally agree with Daniel that "heat" is supposed to match the food and not overdominate the flavors. Thinking about the foods that I grew up with, I can only think of raw, green chili peppers being dipped in red chili paste dipping sauce as being in what I think of a very hot category. I associate iron throat flavors as being practically inedible and/or not enjoyable from the food's savor.

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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Bill Spohn » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:56 am

When you go past the point where you can taste anything but hot pepper, it is pointless and boring.

A hot dish can have a dozen interesting spices interplaying - why anyone would want to add enough pepper to overwhelm all of that is beyond me. Bunch of gustatory masochists, either that, or engaged in macho contests. I have observed that some people (well, men) will order hotter when in company than when eating at the same place alone.

I once observed some mildly inebriated gentlemen making bets about who was 'man enough' to eat a Jamaican Scotch Bonnet pepper (really a version of the better known Habanero). One of the idiots did, for a $10 bet. Better him than me.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Alan Wolfe » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:24 pm

I voted for "hot," my definition of hot being the pickled jalapeno peppers commonly available in U.S. grocery stores. Much more than that and I am overwhelmed. A touch of heat, say in Thermidor sauce goes very well from my point of view, but just a touch. I wouldn't like to live in a world without spicy food.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Shlomo R » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:04 am

I appreciate some heat - even enough to produce a light skin sweat, but if I venture beyond the minimum necessary to produce a light skin sweat it burns every inch of my digestive tract. Not pleasant.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby MichaelB » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:24 am

I voted "Iron throat," though I do draw the line at stomach convulsions! Seriously, it depends on the food--with plantain chips, a salsa with plenty of chiles habaneros is appropriate while javalina with arroz y mole con chocolate needs just just a lurking chipotle or two to provide a background that hints of power. But this is a wine forum, and I have to admit that while a fine Mexican aglianico wine works well with pork and rice, nothing but cold beer will work with really hot salsa.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Shel T » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:25 am

Probably worth a separate thread someday, the hot sauces we like and use most, my current fave being the Tabasco habanero sauce and others depending on the grub.
More on the subject of ludicrously/stupid hot and the folks who have to prove how hot they can stand it, there was a restaurant here in L.a., now closed, called Canard De Bombay, the owner's little quirky play on words, as "Bombay Duck" is dried fish eaten as an appetizer and an acquired taste to many.
The owner was Indian and prided himself on being able to make the hottest food in L.A., maybe the planet.
For those of you familiar with Indian Cuisine, you'll know that 'vindaloo' apart from its origins as a Goan pork dish, has evolved into a definition for a heat level, commonly 'very hot'. The level beyond that is called Phall, sometimes spelled phaal or with a 'f' instead of a 'ph'.
The owner of the Canard De Bombay graded his hot levels by 'stars', so that vindaloo was 3 stars and phall 4 stars. Now the kicker...he went up to 10 stars!
You might ask who the hell would risk life & limb to eat 10 star hot food, and the answer is, (probably obvious) drugged out stoned types who most likely didn't even notice their insides were being eaten away.
You also won't be surprised that many of these consisted of well-known rock bands and pride of their accomplishment went up on the resto wall as a framed certificate of their 10 star craziness and how many times they did it.
No was never tempted, and much rather be called a sissy than try to put out a 10-alarm fire!
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:50 am

Shel, Hi...

Your post reminds me that there was (alas, now defunct) an Ethiopian restaurant not far from Tel Aviv's old Central Bus Station that, when food was put on the table the waiter also brought 10 different versions of hot sauce, each in an identical small glass bowl, each with a number from 1 - 10, ten being the hottest of all. Non-Ethiopians who came to dine were almost always warned that even the sauce rated #5 was "terribly hot" and those rated #7 or higher were likely to cause severe digstive problems unless you had been weaned on this stuff.

The closest I ever got was dipping the tip of my small finger into the #10, placing the few drops on piece of flat bread and tasting that. Two drops at most.....couldn't taste wine or food for two days afterwards. Delicious yes. Outrageous also.
Number 6 was as high as I could venture and that in very small quantitites.

What added a touch of friendly humor to all of this was that the restaurant was populated primarily by Ethiopian, Indian and Yemeni Jews, each group of which enjoyed little more than stating that theirs was the hottest cuisine, some of the Indians eating the #10 sauce wi6h a sppon and teasing the owner about why he could not make it "really hot".

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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Shel T » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:45 pm

Daniel, and once was in the Canard De Bombay with a friend of mine from England and the girl he brought with him from the Netherlands, who despite all the warnings, ordered a 5-star meal, claiming that she being Dutch had no problema with super hot food! So it came, she 'saw', it conquered! Talk about being reduced to tears... And the fini to this story is that at that time I was determined to prove that a guy in America could stand it hotter than some Dutch girl. Prior to this, had only eaten at the 4 star level, more than hot enough for me, so casually ate a few bites of her meal and then did an Oscar winning performance of not showing her that it was killing me!
I assure you it was a one-time act, and now shall we discuss the true meaning of the 'ring of fire'!
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Jenise » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:01 pm

Alan Wolfe wrote:I voted for "hot," my definition of hot being the pickled jalapeno peppers commonly available in U.S. grocery stores. Much more than that and I am overwhelmed. A touch of heat, say in Thermidor sauce goes very well from my point of view, but just a touch. I wouldn't like to live in a world without spicy food.


Here's where the poll gets wiggly. To my tongue, pickled jalapenos are mild-to-medium, spicy but definitely not hot.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Leanne S » Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:50 am

Jenise, I too can eat a pickled jalepeno, no problem. But it's hard even to describe heat in terms of chiles. I grow lots of diffeent chiles in my garden in summer, and the heat can vary tremendously even on one plant, depending on how the seeds have developed. There have been times i've thrown in the same amount of chiles as always, and almost killed my family.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Liz Gray » Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:42 am

I am a very hot kind of girl. My mother taught me well! I'll order Indian food at a restaurant "Indian hot." Significantly hotter than what they typically serve American's as "hot". I wouldn't exactly consider myself an iron throat. I do have my limits....I'm just not sure what they are. :twisted:
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:14 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote: where do you place yourself on the scale of the appreciation of hot/spicy food. Obviously a rather generalized question as one might easily select very hot for appropriate Thai, Ethipian, Mexican or other cuisines and mild for some French or Italian dishes.

I chose very hot because I love the world's fiery cuisines (which tend to be tropical or subtropical, perhaps because that's where chile peppers grow). But I'm not insane, so I stopped one tick short of the top.

Let's not be so quick to dismiss the possibility of fiery French or Italian food, by the way. Sure, it's rare, but I've had some pasta arrabiata dishes that were better served by birra than vino. And once in Sete, the seaport town of Montpellier, I enjoyed a plate full of the most delicious calmar farci, two-bite-size squid tubes packed full of a stuffing fiery enough to burn your face off.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:35 am

Let's not forget padron peppers in Spain, one of the best snacks ever created by humankind. A bowl of them will be 99% mild. But there's always that one hot one lurking...
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Shel T » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:17 pm

Just a comment on the votes so far, actually surprised that 15% voted as 'Iron throat', guess there's more of you asbestos-lined people then I thought there were. Although this is just a small sample, it's still impressive!
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:49 pm

For those in Israel, the two best places in the country (almost as good as the spice market in Istanbul) for buying a wide variety of hot pepper - the many shops on Levinsky Street in Tel Aviv; and the shuk in Akko (Acre if you so choose). Both are also excellent for a broad variety of herbs - dried in Tel Aviv, fresh and dried in Akko.

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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:05 pm

I am a very hot kind of girl. My mother taught me well!


Must... resist... obvious... response...


Err, OK, taking a quick survey around our household, I find that there's a 100% Iron Throat contingent.
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Re: Culinary Poll # 21: Some Like It Hot

Postby Jenise » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:35 pm

Leanne S wrote: I grow lots of diffeent chiles in my garden in summer, and the heat can vary tremendously even on one plant, depending on how the seeds have developed. There have been times i've thrown in the same amount of chiles as always, and almost killed my family.


Oh sure! But that's in fresh--I once read that on average, one jalapeno in twelve is super-hot. But when they're pickled, they're all pretty tame and I don't notice differences between one and another.
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