Pepper: I Put That Spice On Everything (& It’s Healthy Too!)
I am well aware that I stole/paraphrased a certain hot sauce’s slogan with the title of this blog post but it really is true – I do put pepper on everything. I have always loved the taste of pepper, specifically when it is freshly ground. I love big pieces of pepper and keep my grinder on the coarsest setting that it can handle. It just enhances the flavor of so many things in such a wonderful way I cannot begin to describe it. Salt is a great – and mainstay – on my table and in cooking but if you want your food to go beyond the acceptable to the awesome, in my books toss some freshly ground pepper on there. I sometimes see on review sites people complaining about peppercorn steaks and wonder what the hell they’re talking about when they say the pepper ruins the flavor, in my books their nuts! Pepper pushes the flavor of foods to new heights almost invariably! I can throw a steak on the BBQ with a little bit of olive oil and grind some pepper on it and I am good to go, no barbecue sauces required.
Now remember I said it’s healthy too and I am going to get to that. I recently read – the specific article I can’t find right now – that pepper has a whole whack of health benefits. This Health.com slide tells how if you sprinkle pepper you’ll “detox your skin and even help fight cancer.” Who doesn’t want to fight cancer I ask you? Also, this WHFoods.com article about black pepper (and they have quite a healthy references list) tells of the thing which recently pushed my love of those little black peppercorns to new heights. Pepper improves digestion and promotes intestinal health! It “stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation.”
Three cheers for pepper!
What’s your favorite spice? Is it esoteric or is it a staple, go-to spice that everyone has/uses?