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May 08, 2011


Fifth Elephant! Gotta love those fat mines.

a collaboration between Rubens and Jan Brueghel

The minute I came across this, I glanced at the picture a bit harder and thought: you know, it looks exactly like that. Busy like a Brueghel, with Rubenesque semi-undraped woman.

Now "impossibly unpleasant for humans to ingest" struck me as a wacky statement. I mean, *I* can't injest a whole raw Scotch Bonnet pepper, but I've seen someone (from Jamaica) happily eat them out of hand. "Really spicy" strikes me as closer to "acquired, sought-after taste" than "inedible".

I think it's all a matter of taste, but you're right: spicy is a term that's abjectly uninformative. I think what the author is trying to convey that it's spicy in a way that's unpleasant to humans. I'd guess that it's the iridoids, which are extremely bitter. Extreme bitterness along with very spicy doesn't seem like a taste combination that humans would line up for at the grocery.

Anyway, a possible explanation. The human tongue is wired up for particular tastes. Some humans are wired up slightly differently to the point of being nearly intolerant of foods that most eat with gusto.

Weighing in on the BCBs, though: I'm a huge fan. I'll overcook meat sometimes just to get more BCBs. I'm sure they're perfectly awful in terms of health (because in part that they require lots of fat to get properly crunchy) but my tonsils adore BCBs.

Thin pork chops fried crispy! Yum!

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