This essay, is singularly distinguishable, from (upwards of 400, in number of) its predecessors. We have consistently, written, with the intention to express our observations, thoughts, and critical commentary on universally vital subjects. These subjects have included, evolution, man in society, morality, truth and justice; as well as other material subjects, relative to man’s advancement, and the human condition. By contrast, this writing is a rare deviation, from that normal proclivity. It is instead, our personal expression, regarding a non-esoteric subject of interest to us.

Additionally, we disclaim any suggestion of inference, of a moral or ethical principle, herein, and desire to simply state our personal opinion on a subject, with no more profundity, than the elective selection and taste, of cuisine. We candidly confess, that our presently expressed, point of view, is strictly personal, nuanced, and probably, shared, if at all, by a small minority of our readers.

The present subject involves the sense of taste, man’s “fifth” sense; and so, it may be useful, to initially refer to that subject’s, scientific (largely, neurological) dynamics.

Taste, refers to what is detected by our taste center, located in the front and back of the tongue. We are instructed that the receptor cells (taste buds) bind with molecules of the food, or drink, to render a personal report, known by our fifth sense. The resultant tastes are professionally, categorized as, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent (viz. generally, “hot”) and astringent (viz., light, airy, dry like popcorn). It should be said that “smell,” an essential ingredient in taste, as advised, can, actually, be employed to change taste.

“Mild” taste, refers to a particular sensory response, which is understood by food experts, to be highly pleasing to the palate, and often is included in descriptions of food favorites, such as, fish dishes and “comfort foods”. We are told that “mild,” is the preferred choice of true food lovers. The addition, as desired, of modest amounts of salt and/or pepper, as flavonoids, is an acceptable practice, as enhancing, rather than altering, this desirable class of taste, in food.

At restaurants, parks, and other places of public consumption, we have observed, an increasing use of hot sauce, and other chili containing condiments, specifically, hot peppers, in one form or another, specifically, jalapeno, habanero, serrano, cayenne’s, and the like. (We have chosen to exempt, mustard and wasabi, from this critique, since they, like salt and pepper, seem to enhance, and not alter, the taste of food). We refer to, and, personally critique only, the addition of hot peppers, known as, ”chilies,” to food.

Hot peppers have a component of “capsaicin”, which is the heat supply (the fuel) of the vegetable. The greater the content of capsaicin, the hotter, the pepper. We have frequently seen copious quantities of hot sauce, or hot peppers in a powder form, generously applied to desirable foods, even, at times, before they are taste sampled. The very sight of this practice, is unsettling and confusing. The anticipated item of food, was, chosen by the consumer, presumably, for its previously experienced, and personally, preferred, taste. Why adulterate that preferred taste with hot chilies? Hot peppers, themselves, do vary in intensity, but, as advised, not very much in taste. If hot chilies are added, as a general practice, to desired items of food, doesn’t all food taste the same (like hot chilies), rather than the unique taste of the selected eatable?

In addition, we found, at various times, the ingestion of food with hot chilies, somewhat disturbing to the gastric system, as well, at times, to the tongue and lips. However, the populist practice is most principally disturbing, as man’s casual ingratitude and lack of appreciation, for the (natural) food of the planet.

The frequent practice of adding hot chili sauce to food, creates a boringly repetitious, common denominator, adulterating the unique natural taste, of the bountifully varied fruits of our planet, resulting in a trite, repetitious and unwaveringly, predictable (and sometimes, irritating) result.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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