The secret's out - spicy food is incredible. Unfortunately a lot of people never get to experience the true wonders of a wide range of culinary tamales out of the all-too-common fear of not being able to handle the heat. As always, we here at College Chefs are here to help. Here's some tips on how beginners to the world of spicy foods can inch their way into some of these delicious meals.
The first tip is an old stand-by. This one also seems to work for those who would rather just jump into super-spicy foods rather than work their way up. It's a simple process really. Eat whichever spicy food you'd like to start with. But be sure to have some sort of dairy product on-hand while you're sampling. It can be yogurt, milk, sour cream, etc. Just make sure it's dairy (although some research suggests yogurt is the best way to go). If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the mouth-quaking spiciness of your dish, simply pop some of that dairy in your mouth. In seconds the heat will dissipate and you'll be free to sample your next spicy dish.
This one seems a little strange to grasp, but stay with us. The idea here is that you'll want to gradually increase the heat of your food's spiciness but NOT its temperature. You want to keep the actual temperature of the foods you're sampling somewhere between chilled and room temperature. The thinking here is that spicy foods which are also served hot can be way too overwhelming for those not yet inundated to the world of spice.
Enjoy the Burn
One common mistake a lot of new spicers make is diving too deep in the waters before they're ready. Then, when they can't handle the heat, they turn away from spicy foods forever. The best advice we can give you in this regard is to take it slow. Find a level of spiciness that you thoroughly enjoy and stick with it for a while. Don't rush from mild to extreme all in one week. The trick is to find that perfect spot and try a lot of different foods in that same spiciness range. After a while, your tastebuds will become acclimated to the burn and, before you know it, you'll be moving on to spicier meals.
In our opinion, no one should miss out on the wide range of spicy flavors floating around out there. While it's a shame that many people seem to shy away from spicy cuisines, there are many available steps that can ease the would-be connoisseur into the world of spice. These three are just a sampling. We encourage you to investigate further and jump in as soon as possible.