Climate and spice around the world

Gastro Obscura looked at the correlation between temperature and flavour across North America, Europe, and Asia, referring to a Nature article that examined 33,750 recipes from 70 national and regional cuisines:

“Variation in spice use is not explained by temperature and… spice use cannot be accounted for by diversity of cultures, plants, crops or naturally occurring spices,” the researchers wrote in the article’s abstract. “Patterns of spice use are not consistent with an infection-mitigation mechanism, but are part of a broader association between spice, health, and poverty.”

Ethiopia got a shout out for being the spiciest despite a lower-than-average temperature compared to the hottest countries:

If you want to know just how spicy Ethiopian cooking can get, try some doro wat, a fragrant, slow-cooked chicken stew that one reviewer describes as, “Very spicy. Super spicy. Like I-don’t-know-how-Ethiopians-have-any-taste-buds-left spicy.” On the other hand, some very hot countries are considerably less spicy: The Philippines is in the same spiciness league as Hungary, and Ghana is as spice-poor as the UK.

Ghanaians, if you reading this, leave a comment because that sounds like a hot take!

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