A Brief Explanation of Why Spices Are Spicy
Spices hate us. That’s my big take away from a new video from the YouTube channel Mind of a Chef that asked food science expert Harold McGee to explain how spices work.
“The wonderful flavors of herbs and spices are actually chemical weapons that the plants are deploying in order to discourage animals like us from eating them,” McGee says. So following that metaphor, anytime we eat herbs and spices we are basically swallowing up chemical weapons and literally excreting them out of our behinds. It’s the culinary equivalent of catching a bullet in your mouth and then spitting it back out.
Let’s be honest, if someone said, “I will use the most powerful weapon you have to garnish my salad,” you would hate that person. So I can only assume that spices think that humans are just arrogant a-holes.
That said, McGee also points out that the way our brain processes spice is “still a mystery.” So maybe spices are doing some sort of mind control that we don’t know about. Maybe spices will have the last laugh after all.