Is America ready for spicy food?

Why do Americans not like spicy food? This, my friends, is a problem. Why? Because there is a whole subsection of foods flavored with spice, just begging to be savored-but American’s fear of spice keeps most people away from such foods. Spice is very healthy in so many different ways that we had to devote a whole section to the health benefits of various spices– not to mention it puts the ‘awe’ in ‘awesome’. Don’t get me wrong, I love classic American foods like deliciously salty French fries or blissful Chicago-style pizza-but I can’t help but think that everything can be improved with a little spice. Just imagine- French fries that are salty, greasy, and lightly rolled in chili powder-McDonalds would rake in millions!

Let’s take another classic- Chinese takeout. This is indeed an American variation, real Chinese food being more pungent and placing more emphasis on vegetables. Oh, and the classic fortune cookies you crack open excitedly, hoping you find the numbers to the lottery? These are purely an American invention. American-Chinese cuisine is blander, sweeter, and thicker than Chinese cuisine.  I, like most people, order Chinese takeout as though all the Panda Expresses in the world will close forever (no more orange chicken!). However, I order it for a different reason-I can modify it however I want-and by modifying, I mean taking a big ol’ bottle of hot sauce and squeezing until my fried rice has changed from dull brown to bright orange.  Authentic Chinese cuisine naturally incorporates spices into its meals-no hot sauce required.

Finally, wouldn’t spice add more diversity to the already delicious blend of flavors that is American cuisine? Take my school lunches, for example- they’re consisted of 70% America cuisine, 15% Italian cuisine, 5% Mexican cuisine, 2% Chinese cuisine, and 8% I’m-not-really-sure-what-this-is-actually cuisine. If we took just 10% of the American cuisine and revamped it with spice, I assure you that school lunches will suddenly become (slightly) more popular. Sure, it will take adjusting, like all new flavors, but it would let students open their minds to different, varied flavors of the world.

So next time you’re eating out, go out of your comfort zone a little bit- bump up your Buffalo Wild Wings sauce a couple notches, roll some spicy sauce in your next Chipotle burrito, heck, grab some Chinese takeout and a hot sauce bottle and start squeezing. You’ll find your world to be a healthier, more flavorful place.

Author: Apoorva Malarvannan

My name is Apoorva, and I am currently a high school student in the Greater Twin Cities area. I enjoy reading, writing, speaking, and photography. I have a blog here: www.outrospects.com.

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