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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How Chefs Manage Their Own Business

09 Jun 2021

If you’re a talented chef, you probably know the rewarding feeling of cooking for friends and family and being met with rave reviews. They might ask you when your restaurant is opening, half-seriously urge you to start a catering business, and proudly proclaim that they would pay good money to eat your food. But even as a chef, the idea of opening a restaurant or catering company is daunting. It certainly is fulfilling to share your cooking with people, but you may not want the risk or commitment of trying to launch your own business.

What if there was an easier way, a way to earn money cooking the food you love, but in a casual setting, without the all-consuming obligation of running your own business? Well, for professional chefs and skilled home cooks alike, CookinGenie is just that.

(Also ReadWhat is CookinGenie)

With CookinGenie, chefs have a platform to essentially manage their own business but in a flexible manner. CookinGenie allows chefs (genies) to create their own menus, set their own prices, and make their own schedules to fit around their busy lives. They can do all this while building their personal brand and establishing a base of regular clients. At CookinGenie, the genies have total creative control of the food. They can change menu items seasonally and can source ingredients from the local stores they love. To fulfill an order, they arrive at the client’s home, cook a meal, clean up, and earn money sharing their talents with satisfied customers.

This setup is dramatically different from most traditional chef jobs. Typically, the life of a restaurant chef entails working long hours in a hot, sweaty commercial kitchen, all while under the pressure of trying to satisfy a packed dining room. It’s hectic, stressful, exhausting, and often doesn’t pay well. Plus, most chefs in a restaurant are preparing someone else’s menu, either the head chef’s or the owner’s, so it’s hard to let creativity and passion flourish. Although the hours may be a little more normal, working in a catering company offers many of the same challenges.

CookinGenie, on the other hand, provides all the joy and excitement of cooking for others without the serious drawbacks of other chef jobs. The genie decides what’s on the menu and when they want to be available to cook. All of the cooking is done in a relaxed setting in the client’s home; there’s no pressure to keep up with the pace of service. The genie gets the personal satisfaction of interacting directly with the people enjoying the fruits of their hard work, instead of the food being sent out into the void of a dining room. CookinGenie chefs are compensated competitively and even have the opportunity to collect tips from happy customers.

(Also ReadFresh Home Cooked food: A CookinGenie Perspective by Michael Booth)

All told, CookinGenie is a fantastic way to make money and manage your own business as a chef. The flexibility allows chefs to continue other pursuits while also earning extra income as a genie and building a following. From a work perspective, there is simply no beating the creative liberties and stress-free atmosphere CookinGenie provides. In the crazy world of cooking, CookinGenie proves that there really is a better way to be a chef.

If you’re a talented local chef or home cook and CookinGenie sounds great to you, then we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at: careers@cookingenie.com

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28 Mar 2020

The other day, I picked up some ham from an online retailer. It was a premium 8-pound spiral-sliced ham, slow-cooked and smoked for 24 hours featuring a delicious torch-glazed brown sugar crust. Tempted? I certainly was. However, I happened to glance at the nutritional facts & noticed a detail – 41% (990 mg) sodium per serving. Is that good? Or bad? Should I care about this number? Or, just enjoy the ham?

Let us dig deeper.

The terms “Sodium” and “Salt” are sometimes used interchangeably. Salt is made of sodium and chlorine & occurs naturally in some foods, & is added in canned, processed or cooked foods. In the right amounts, in our bodies, sodium is vital. It supports our nervous system, muscles & fluid balance. Take too much though, and you start to see high blood pressure. Additionally, heart & kidney diseases are common effects of having extra sodium in the body.

But, what about my ham? Is it safe to eat? American Heart Association (AHA) suggests having around 1500 mg of Sodium per day. You may be permitted a bit more if you lose body fluids due to sporting activities. This boils down to a teaspoon of salt every day. But, on average 9 out of 10 Americans consume almost double the recommended sodium. Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that of our daily sodium intake, 65% comes from food bought in stores, 25% comes from restaurants and 10% comes from home cooked foods. Eating fresh homemade meals can go a long way in keeping us within the bounds of recommended amounts of Sodium. This is exactly what CookinGenie helps our customers with. All you do is pick your favorite foods from www.cookingenie.com & we will show up with the groceries at your kitchen & cook the food right there. 100% control over what goes in your food.

As for my ham, I did eat it – but now with the awareness that just one serving of the ham gave me almost half the daily sodium I needed for my body for the entire day.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/potassium_and_sodium_out_of_balance

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/9-out-of-10-americans-eat-too-much-sodium-infographic

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29 Oct 2019

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.

Refernces:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-meal-kit-delivery-service-market-worth-usd-8-94-billion-by-2025-hexa-research-300811555.html

https://slate.com/business/2017/06/blue-apron-customer-retention-low.html

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