Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Chili Pepper Angle

Source: Wikimedia Commons
I really don't find food and nutrition writing all that interesting (sorry to those who do but its just not my cup of tea) but I wanted to highlight this article on chili peppers from the New York Times. A Perk of Our Evolution: Pleasure in Pain of Chilies by James Gorman because I think he takes a really interesting approach to talking about a food item.

The angle the Gorman uses is answering the question of what makes humans want to eat foods that are hot/spicy with chili flavor even though at times it can be painful? I think this is an interesting way to approach writing about peppers, and honestly I was just impressed that Gorman was able to write such a long article about the topic without it becoming boring or redundant. 

There are also parts of the article that Gorman writes in first person, which is an interesting choice. The article starts off as would be expected, a soft lead that describes a chili pepper festival - hinting at the allure of the vegetables and then goes into expert opinion. So when Gorman inserts his own narrative later on in the piece and discusses his own feelings toward chili peppers I was a little surprised. I do think it works though, because with a topic that could easily slip into the mundane, the more casual feel later in the piece actually works to hold me attention. 

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