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Cooking Skills - 3. page

Habanero and green peppers

The Spice Must Flow

Along the lines of last week’s cream crisis, but much less direct, today’s post is inspired by interactions had at ACC about one of the samples we were giving out: the Spicy Black Bean Dip (page 50).

The “problem” we ran into was that a lot of people’s first reaction was,

Oh, I don’t do spicy.

To which I would counter: Not it’s not pepper-spicy, it’s garlic and cumin-spicy.

Because, and here’s the crux of the matter:

Spice does not equal heat.

Habanero and green peppers

Yes, these peppers pictured above (from a coworker’s garden) are the type that will add heat to a dish.

But think about some other spices (i.e. the dried, sometimes powdered, bark, roots, and seeds of aromatic plants). Think about cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cloves, cumin, coriander… the list goes on. All of them are spices, none of them add actual heat to the dish. (The argument can easily be made that spices like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, etc. “warm” a dish, but that’s a different type of warming, an atmospheric effect, for lack of a better description, than the burning effect capsaicin has on our tender mammalian flesh.)

So, when Todd asked why I just didn’t call it Black Bean Dip instead of Spicy BBD, the answer is simple: it’s not merely black bean dip, it is black bean dip bursting with flavor from the elements of garlic and cumin.

Flavorful Black Bean Dip just sounds silly. And a smidgen pretentious.

Leave the pretension to the Beef Wellington–it comes by it honestly!


In other news–literally!–I’ve been interviewed in the recent SP! Magazine (free download of the pdf at that link). I also had the opportunity to interview Amy Letts from the Epic Fail webcomic and wrote up a post-con report from ACC. The August issue also includes several reviews of comics, other stories and interviews lots of other fun stuff, whether you’re interested in self-publishing or not. Give it a download and a read, you’ll make all of us that worked on it very happy 🙂

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