For most of my childhood, our household meals involved a pretty bland selection. Part of that had something to do with the fact that it seems to be the cultural way back home to basically throw everything into a pot with water and stew it until it’s mush. But another big part of it is the fact that my older brother had gotten a kidney replacement shortly before I came along and had a plethora of stomach and digestive issues, so spicy foods (any spices in general, actually) were taboo in my childhood home.
This meant that I was stuck eating a bland Acadian diet with very little to no exposure to spices and, well… flavour! Picture your pasta being nothing but the noodles and plain tomato sauce with fried hamburger meat. That’s the basic idea, except for every meal. Every. Day. So it’s no surprise that the past twenty years or so have seen me taking advantage and making frequent visits to “flavour town.” this has included experiencing and enjoying a wide variety of ethnic, spicy foods. This has earned me the unfortunate nickname of “Butter Chicken,” for that and others reasons. But that’s a story for another time…
It’s a rare occurrence to look in my refrigerator and NOT find a bottle of hot sauce, Buffalo Sauce or both. And some of my favourite snack foods of choice involve Buffalo Chicken in some way, shape or form. This is why a recent concoction prepared by my wife has had me drooling and begging for more. I’m talking about a slow-cooker Buffalo Chicken dip. See the below image…
As you can see from the image, the ingredients and their respective amounts are all included. It’s a pretty simple recipe. My wife made a batch last week and we gorged ourselves on it using tortilla chips. But once prepared, it can be added to a tortilla wrap on a bed of spinach to make a decent spicy Buffalo wrap or eaten in a kaiser bun as a spicy pulled-chicken sandwich. It’s a pretty versatile recipe. She made another batch this weekend and I gotta say, it’s been a pretty good weekend!
People have a love/hate relationship with hot, spicy foods. Given that consuming too much of it can cause all sorts of digestive issues, including heartburn, diarrhea or ultimately compound or aggravate any of those conditions, it should come as no surprise. But what likely WOULD surprise some folks are the actual health benefits from consuming spicy foods. And just to be clear, when I refer to “spicy,” I mean the spices that bring heat.
According to an article posted on HealthLine.ca, there are a number of benefits based on some studies, including potentially lowering mortality, speeding up the metabolism and suppressing fat cell increase, fighting cancer cells and killing bacteria. The article even makes mention of spices helping to reduce inflammation, arthritis, headaches and even nausea. With all those potential benefits, who WOULDN’T want to bring the heat.
The article goes on to mention that the belief that spicy foods were a leading cause of ulcers has been disproven, and that certain short-term symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea are temporary and are caused by overstimulation of the nervous system. Good to know. I’m glad I get to add a bit of spice to my life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go finish the leftover Buffalo Dip. ☯️