Ruchira Paul in Accidental Blogger:
Do you like hot foods? What is the limit of your personal “heat” index – black pepper, jalapeno, serrano, the slinky Thai pepper or the more daunting Habanero? When does mouthwatering enjoyment deteriorate into agony? The Aztecs utilised chilli peppers in a traditional drink. With heat levels spanning a wide range of “burn,” chilli peppers are an essential ingredient in cuisines across the world from Mexico to the Far East, to suit every type of dish and palate. My own palate is far from fire-proof, but I do love hot foods. Sadly enough, as I grow older, my level of tolerance for “heat” is dwindling although I have heard that the opposite should happen with advancing age. I could handle Thai foods at a respectable 3.5 to 4 level of spicy with relative ease just a decade ago. Now I order a wimpish 2. Even then, my refrigerator is always stocked with a fresh supply of jalapeno or serrano peppers which I like to bite into during meals and an assortment of hot sauces to spread on bland dishes. I read once that the Indian born conductor Zubin Mehta carries hot peppers in his pocket when he is invited out to dinner, even to the fanciest banquet.