Next time salsa marked as “mild” beckons from the shelf at Whole Foods, check to see whether it’s made by a company specializing in vegetarian products. If so, do not buy it thinking the heat level is the same as mainstream food marked as “mild.”

I don’t know what it is with vegetarians and hot peppers, but from what I’ve seen, 95% of people who are vegetarians seem to be unable to eat anything savory that’s not doused liberally with their favorite El Scorcho. Some people have suggested that it’s because vegetarian food has no flavor in and of itself, which I know to be complete bull. (No pun intended.) I order vegetarian food from restaurants and pack it in my lunch for the same reason that I order dishes containing meat–because it tastes good. But I’ve heard that a good number of vegetarians started out finding the taste of meat to be disgusting, so maybe their taste buds are just different. How anybody’s mouth could transmit signals of anything other than pain when chewing on capsaicin-loaded food is a mystery to me, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Just so long as people with high pepper tolerance realize that not everybody floats on nuclear-strength Tapatio.

2 thoughts on “Note to self

  1. Not every veggie is a pepper-lover Kelson–I gravitate to the mild end of the spectrum myself. But that may be because I’m also a supertaster–the day we did the PROP tasting experiment in the sensation and perception class I was TAing, I barely let the PROP test paper touch my tongue before I had to run to the bathroom and wash that bitter bitter taste out of my mouth…..

  2. I guess you’d be in the 5% then. In fact, I think you’re the first self-identified vegetarian I’ve “met” who does fall into the 5%. But that could be because my veggie-friend deck is stacked toward the Indian side.

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