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Why Eating Painful Foods Feels So Good | What's Eating Dan? [VIDEO]

By Cook's Illustrated Published

The tingly science behind spicy foods like chili peppers, ginger, olive oil, and bubbly drinks that make our eyes water and throats burn.

It's not perversity that drives us to suffer the burn of chilis, the sting of carbonated beverages, or the back-of-the throat cough elicited by olive oil—it's chemesthesis, the chemical stimulation of tactile nerves. In this latest episode, Dan digs into how these sensations can ultimately be pleasurable and make food taste better. He also shows you how to make prepared horseradish that packs a wallop and retains its punch for weeks.

Recipe Fresh Horseradish Bloody Mary

A classic cocktail with real horseradish heat.

Recipe Spicy Gochujang-Glazed Pork Chops

The best way to produce tender, juicy chops with a stay-put glaze is to take it slow. Bonus: You'll have built-in time for making a side dish.

Recipe Gōngbǎo Jīdīng (Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken)

Spicy chiles and tingly Sichuan peppercorns team up with lightly sauced chicken and peanuts in a stir-fry that's literally sensational.

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JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.