Why do we Love Spicy Food? The Science Behind the Heat

Why do we Love Spicy Food -CookinGenie blog

09 Sep 2021

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Why do we Love Spicy Food? The Science Behind the Heat

We all know at least one person who loves their food insanely hot. They insist that their hot wings “aren’t spicy enough unless I’m dripping with sweat.”  On it’s face, that doesn’t make sense. Spicy foods cause physical pain, not just in the mouth, but sometime through the entire body. Why would we deliberately eat, and enjoy, something that causes pain? Well, it turns out, there are actually some pretty compelling reasons why so many people around the world love the way it hurts.

Spicy Foods Can Cause a “High”

Spice is not a “flavor” but rather a sensation. The sensation of spice comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, which is the substance that makes hot peppers hot. Capsaicin causes pain and triggers the body to think it’s in danger. In response, the body releases endorphins, which are pleasure causing hormones, this is the body’s way of trying to eliminate the “threat” it feels when you eat spicy food. This chemical release causes some people to associate eating hot foods with happiness, creating a “high”, similar to that of the good feeling you get after exercising.

When the body feels it’s in danger, it will also release the survival hormone adrenaline, which can give someone eating a fiery hot bowl of noodles a sense of heart-pounding excitement, just like if they were riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping. In short, for many, eating hot foods is a kind of thrill seeking.

Hot Peppers are Full of Antimicrobial Properties

It stands to reason that since the chemicals in hot peppers cause us pain, they can also be harmful to bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Before refrigeration, hot peppers were often used to help preserve food and ward off bacteria in hotter parts of the world. This was integral to food safety; hot peppers were literally life savers.

That’s why hotter countries like India and Mexico have developed very spicy traditional cuisines while more temperate climates like England and Scandinavia produce much more mild food. So, because of these antimicrobial properties found in hot peppers, many cultures created spicy traditional dishes and over generations, billions of people have come to love them.

Hot Food’s Health Benefits

One reason we may love spicy food is because it’s so good for us. Extensive amounts of scientific research point to all kinds of health benefits from eating spicy foods. Capsaicin, the chemical compound found in chili peppers, is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Capsaicin has also been linked to improved digestion, an increased metabolism, better heart health, reduction in cancer risk, and a strengthened immune system. Turns out, hot peppers are one of nature’s true superfoods.

CookinGenie Brings the Heat

At CookinGenie, we offer a range of fiery, delicious dishes that appeal to even the most avid of heat seekers. Try genie Jared’s Red Thai Curry, which uses bird’s eye chili peppers along with a blend of aromatic Thai ingredients to make a vibrant, spicy curry sauce filled with stir-fried vegetables. Perhaps order genie Dylan’s Jerk Chicken, which takes juicy chicken legs and slathers them in a tangy, sweet & spicy Jamaican sauce made from habaneros, ginger, cinnamon, and more.

Whatever, your spice preference may be, CookinGenie can accommodate you. You can always request that a dish be more (or less) spicy, and our genies can even make separate plates so that some portions are really spicy for the heat lover in your family, and the rest are milder. To bring the delicious, healthy heat to your kitchen, book a genie today.

Written by:  Jared Kent


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Personal Chef Vs Private Chef Vs Catering Services - CookinGenie

13 Dec 2021

It can get confusing when you hear the words personal chef, private chef, and catering services. Are they all the same and can be used interchangeably? The truth is that while these services can all help with meals and special events, they are each different in their own subtle ways. So, before discussing when to use these various services, let’s discuss what each of these terms means, what they typically include, and how much they cost. 

What is a personal chef? 

A personal chef is a chef that doesn’t work in a traditional restaurant setting. Instead, they chose to have their own clients and often cook at their clients’ homes. They work for as many or as few clients as they prefer and make their own schedule. Essentially, a personal chef is more like a small business owner compared to a private chef or catering service. 

A personal chef includes a great deal of value wrapped up in an affordable package. A personal chef will typically handle all of the shopping for the fresh ingredients needed for the meal you’ve chosen. Then, they’ll arrive at your home and begin preparing your dishes. You’ll be served your food piping hot and ready to be enjoyed. They’ll follow up by cleaning the dishes and items that they used in your kitchen before taking their leave. When it comes to cost, you can typically expect it to be around the same amount you’d be spending while eating the same dish at a restaurant. The cost typically includes the service of the personal chef along with the groceries. 

When to Use: Personal chefs are great with their versatility. You don’t need a big party as an excuse to hire one. Thanks to their affordability, you don’t have to wait until a special occasion to plan a date night-in with a personal chef handling all of the cooking. However, they are also great for planning intimate family events, such as dinner parties. The cost and flexibility of a personal chef make them great for just about everyone’s budget.  

What is a private chef? 

A private chef is also a chef that doesn’t work in a restaurant setting. However, they typically will be employed by one individual or family. Rather than cooking different meals at different places, a private chef will often provide a daily menu for all of the meals for their employer. In addition, rather than being more like a small business owners, they are more like an employee in how they are paid and receive benefits. 

A private chef will handle all of the home’s grocery shopping, meal preparation, and meal planning, typically every week. This effort means that they’ll be preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with snacks. The cost can be more expensive for a private chef compared to the other services. As your employee, you’ll not only need to be able to offer them a salary, but also benefits, such as retirement, insurance, paid time off, and other perks on top of also paying for the groceries that they use for the meals and snacks they prepare. 

When to Use: A private chef is a wonderful tool for families and busy individuals that can afford to hire and pay a chef to handle all of their meals.  

(Also Read – What is the difference between a private chef and a personal chef?)

What is a catering service? 

A catering service typically employs one or several chefs who often prepare meals for special occasions, such as big parties, meetings, graduations, or weddings. The meals are usually prepared in a commercial kitchen and brought to the location where they sometimes need to be warmed back up or need some light preparations, depending on the menu. 

While not all catering services offer the same experience, they typically cook the food off-site, deliver the food to the site of the event, make any on-site preparations for the meal. Depending on what you choose when placing your order, they often serve the meal either as a buffet service or table service. Some catering services also offer bartenders and beverage servers for your event. As with most of these services, the cost will typically vary based on the menu you choose, the type of service you prefer, and other similar factors. It can be helpful to get several quotes to help you find the best catering service to use as most of these companies don’t have a set price that works for every event since the details can change from one event to the next. 

When to Use: While catering services can be excellent for smaller events, they really shine for significant events where many guests need to be served. Weddings, class reunions, conventions, galas, graduations, charity events, and other huge events typically can benefit from a catering service being employed. 

To Conclude 

Determining the right choice of these services for you depends on a few factors. First, you may just want to enjoy an occasional meal prepared for you in your home instead of visiting a restaurant, so you’ll want to choose a personal chef. You may be planning a massive event and need a more extensive staff to help you ensure that everyone gets served and fed, so a catering service may be the best choice for you. Finally, you may be in a position where you can employ your own private chef and stop worrying about anything to do with the kitchen except on their days off when you might want to pop something they prepared on a different day. Everyone’s situation is different, and you may find that you can benefit from using a variety of these services to fit your life at that particular moment best. 

Hiring a personal chef through CookinGenie has never been easier. Please scroll through the available chefs and dishes they make to find the perfect menu for your upcoming special event or even weekday dinner. You’ll love the choices you have, the way it fits into your budget in the same manner as going out to eat, and how convenient it happens to be for your lifestyle. 

Contact us today in case you have any questions about using CookinGenie to book your next meal. 

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Celebrate Valentine's Day with CookinGenie

09 Feb 2021

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since ancient Roman times—it began as a pagan fertility festival to celebrate Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, where goats were sacrificed, and women were paired off with men by lottery. The celebration was “Christianized” by Pope Gelasius I as the feast of St. Valentine in the 5th century, but it took centuries for the day to be associated with love. Written valentines first appeared in the 1400s, but it was the Victorians who transformed Valentine’s Day into the romantic celebration of cards and flowers that we now know.

Typically, in a normal world, Valentine’s Day meant scoring a reservation at an ultra-cozy restaurant for a leisurely feast in a romantic, dimly lit dining room. We can hope for those days to be a reality soon again. But if you are looking to celebrate and don’t want to miss out on a fine dining evening with your special someone, CookinGenie can make it happen. Turns out you CAN make the day extra special —and we’re here to help.

CookinGenie brings the restaurant experience to your home so you can enjoy a sumptuous Valentine’s Day meal prepared by a local culinary expert in the safety of your very own dining room. All at below restaurant prices. Our Genies offer a wide variety of special occasion appetizers, entrees, and desserts for your celebration. We’re talking a silky Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, or decadent New York Strip Steak with Potatoes, Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce, or perfectly prepared Fettuccini Mare, bursting with cherry tomatoes and plump, tender shrimp. They’ll show up at your door with everything they need to make your meal, and when they’re done, our Genies clean up and leave your kitchen as clean as (or maybe even cleaner!) than it was when they arrived. All you need to do is dim the lights, pop open the champagne, and light some candles for a romantic dinner for two (and there may be leftovers to pack a lunch the next day).

Book your Genie this Valentine’s Day weekend and see just how romantic “let’s stay in” can be.

PS Don’t see your favorites on our menu? Send us an email and we’ll work to customize a meal just for you.

(Also ReadTracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time)

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Apple Pie_CookinGenie

12 Mar 2021

There are certain things that just evoke America 

 – Baseball. 

– Uncle Sam.  

– Corn fields.  

– Apple pie.  

 

But what if we told you one of these iconic symbols doesn’t really belong on the list? 

 Turns out there’s nothing all that American about apple pie. In fact, neither apples or pie originated in North America: the ancient Egyptians get the credit for creating pie, and modern apples originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, then spread along the Silk Roads from Central Asia to Europe 

While early pies were made with meatEmily Upton, writing for Today I Found Out, reports that the first recorded apple pie recipe was from England way back in 1381. These early recipes bear little resemblance to the apple pies we know today—they rarely called for sugar (which was an expensive, luxury ingredient at that time) and came served in a pastry that went by the rather unappetizing name of “coffin.” This “coffin” was not meant to be eaten; it was really just a container to hold the filling, sort of the Middle Ages version of a paper plate. The first apple pie recipe that resembles the pie we know and loves today, with a sweetened filling and a lattice top, appeared in a 1514 Dutch cookbook. 

So how did apple pie—which is so deeply rooted in Europe—become synonymous with America? European-style apple trees arrived on American shores with the Jamestown colonists, who brought seeds and cuttings to plant in the New World. (And here’s a fun fact from What’s Cooking America: In Colonial times, apples were sometimes called winter bananas.) As colonists pushed westward, they brought apples with them. Upton credits Johnny Appleseed with cementing the apple as part of American folklore, as he roamed the frontier planting acres upon acres of apple orchards. By the 19th century, American farmers had planted and cross-pollinated trees to develop an astounding 14,000 different varieties of apples. And of course, many of those varieties were perfect for making pie. 

(Also ReadA Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue)

Nearly as intriguing as the history of the apple in America is the history of the phrase “as American as apple pie. Upton cites a newspaper article in 1902 that said “no pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished” and a 1924 ad in the Gettysburg Times selling “New Lestz Suits that are as American as apple pie.” The phrase became such a part of the American fabric that by World War II, soldiers told journalists that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie.” 

Apple pie may have become a symbol of all that’s good about Americans, but there is a dessert that’s actually a better candidate for the title. While it might not have the same ring, a more apt phrase might be “As American as a blueberry cobbler.” Unlike the apple, blueberries—along with black cherries, strawberries, cranberries, and elderberries—are native to North America, and cobblers are a uniquely American creation. These fruit and pastry desserts, along with regional variations with such colorful names as Bettys, pandowdies, grunts, slumps, buckles, sonkers, crumbles, and crisps were created by early American settlers who turned to the simple ingredients they had on hand to create satisfying desserts. Nevertheless, it’s apple pie that became the apple of Americans’ eyes. 

At CookinGenie, we’ve recently added fresh homemade desserts to our menu and naturally, our choices include an all-American apple pie. Genie Brande Colson folds tart green apples and warm spices into a flaky, golden, homemade crust. She can even make a gluten-free variety. Cap off your next CookinGenie visit with a slice of this wholesome, rustic goodness—we can’t think of a better way to end a home-cooked meal. 

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