Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Some Like It Hot!

Sacha Pfeiffer’s Boston Globe article Some Like IT Hot explains the spicy trend in foods is because aging boomers are losing their olfactory senses.

“In the restaurant business, that change is well underway. Thirty-five percent of all chain and white-tablecloth restaurants mentioned the word "spicy" on their menus a decade ago; by last year that number had risen to 54 percent, according to MenuMine”….

…Chiefly because of degenerating olfactory nerves, most aging people experience a diminished sense of taste, whether they realize it or not. But unlike previous generations, the nation's 80 million boomers have broad appetites, a full set of teeth, and the spending power to shape the entire food market.”

Tyler Cowen at the Marginal Revolution blog has a different take.

“Spicy foods are addictive. Most importantly, spicy ethnic food is often better than what we had before, which indeed was usually horrible.”

Clearly the introduction of geographically diverse foods into the American diet has spice things up. Chili peppers in New Mexico, hot sauce in Louisiana, red pepper on pizza, cayenne on meats used to provide a little spice. Those are no longer enough.

It would seem that many, not just Some Like It Hot!