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The spicy food law - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

The spicy food law [May. 18th, 2008|04:45 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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People often ask me: "so which is the spicier cuisine again, North or South Indian?" It appears that the law (in the sense of natural law) that describes the spiciness of regional cuisines is not as well-known as it should be. Here it is, behold its simplicity:
The spiciness of a regional cuisine is completely and accurately determined by the average temperature of the region.
This explains why Thai and other South Asian cuisines are very spicy, South Indian food is spicier than North Indian, and Russian food is impossibly bland.

The reason for the law is equally simple. Historically, the function of spices was food preservation. Our taste for them is an evolutionary adaptation to a survival need, rather than the other way around. Before the invention of refrigeration, you had to put spices into food to keep it from going bad. And naturally, the hotter the environment, the faster bacteria grew, and the more spices you'd need to dump into food you wanted to preserve.
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[User Picture]From: sunson
2008-05-20 08:29 am (UTC)
Actually not. Spices are grown along the hilly sides and rainforests. The hottest regions are where there is lesser growth and more perpendicular exposure to sun's rays at noon (plains of the equator - Andhra, etc.,.)

So I'd say, it depends on whether spices are available in the given region. I mean, its not like people 'knew' they should add spices to protect the food. Secondly, like theswede asks, do spices actually protect food? I thought it didn't matter.
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