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Spicy To You May Be Bland to Me

Why is it that when you serve the very same meal to three different people you might get three different responses?

I’ll never forget the evening I tested a new Glorious One-Pot Meal recipe at a family gathering. “It needs a little more spice,” my aunt confided at the table. “I would go heavier on the oregano.”

“No!” my mother (her twin sister) insisted. “It’s too spicy already! There are too many herbs.The flavors are too confusing.”

I looked at the other family members licking their plates. “What did you think?”

The husbands thought the meal had been appropriately seasoned.

Lesson: you can’t please all the people all the time.

As it happens, taste is a complex interaction between taste buds and olfactory receptors. Some people are more sensitive to taste and smell, while others are less so. Head injuries and viral infections can rob some of their sense of smell, sending them running for chile peppers to get some sensation to call “taste” on their tongue.

My philosophy is to try to hit the middle ground with my recipes and offer people the option to add more or less spice, according to their personal preferences.

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