Sunday, August 10, 2008

Full of Beans

Note: I wrote this 2 weeks ago but kind of forgot about it (and the blog) (again).

Recently, I was watching this series of TV shows by the British multi-Michelin star chef and molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal called 'In Search of Perfection'. These are all a bit ridiculous but fascinating at the same time.

The particular episode I am discussing today was about chili con carne. Note that he calls it 'chili con carne' and not just 'chili' as most Texans (eg, me) would. I'm just not sure I trust a Brit's chili recipe no matter how many Michelin stars he has. Star anise? Carrots? Butter? Really? Not to mention that it contained both beans and ground beef (in addition to beef chunks). True Texas chili is cubed beef only-no beans and no ground meat. It did look pretty tasty, though.

Some day I might divulge my recipe for my award-winning chili (from the Wharton hockey annual chili cookoff 2005). But that's for another day. (I will tell you that it's based on this recipe, which was kindly brought to my attention by my brother.)

The interesting part for my scientist side was that they used MRI to look at how the brain responds to chilis and found that they activate the limbic structures, which are the part of the brain that process emotions. So, it turns out that eating chilis activates both pain and pleasure responses at the same time. Pretty cool, no?

That's it on this topic. I'm trying to think of something worth posting a recipe and photos about that doesn't involve pureed chicken. Give me another 2 weeks...

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