Monday, October 16, 2006

How hot is the curry?

Diagonal Slash

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Read more about the real diagonal slash method here

As a part-time waiter (I spend the other part of my time taking photos and erm… never mind), this is one question I find amusingly annoying.

“How hot/spicy is [some dish or other]?”

For the first few weeks, I had to resist the temptation to blurt something daft (from a business and customer service point of view) but mercilessly logical. Something like, “depends on how much spiciness you can tolerate, doesn’t it?”

Now I just say “moderately spicy, but we can make it mild” and let the customers figure out what my moderately spicy means to their sensory system. And anyway, those who spring this question usually end up asking for it to be mild. Wusses. The heroic ones will usually ask for the food to be made spicy. No probing question, just straight to the point.

To be pedantic, the question ‘how hot is the curry?’ is fundamentally flawed. The adjective ‘hot’ lies in the taster, not in the curry. The curry contains capsaicin (the active ingredient of chilli), but that is all. In no way is the ‘hot’ property imbued in the curry. It is how the taster reacts to capsaicin that results in the ‘hot’ sensation.

Sliced Chilli

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The good thing about ‘moderately spicy’ is the phrase’s vast coverage. No one will ever complain about the food being too mild or too hot (except for the tossers, or if the cook had been wanking. But that’s another story altogether).

Marzipan Cuboids Drizzled in Molten Chocolate

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