I’m not sure you all know this about me, but I’m an Italian girl, 100 percent. Both of my parents’ families are from Italy. Mom’s family is from Calabria, and Dad’s is from Bisceglie. Even though we’re not known for it, Italians can eat spicy. My Nonna used to eat hot peppers from the garden that would make my eyes water just smelling them. Mom and Dad would sometimes spice up their meals with crushed red pepper or hot Italian sausage. Me? I stayed far, far, far away. I was the queen of mild. Bell peppers were too hot for me. So when I married a Mexican man, I figured he was screwed. He would never get homemade spicy meals for dinner. Instead, he had to slather his food with Tapatio.
Then, a funny thing happened. I got pregnant with a Mexican baby, and craved all things spicy. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “You silly girl. That’s just a pregnancy craving. Some pregnant women eat dirt. It makes sense you craved something you didn’t normally eat.” Yes, that may be true. But how does it explain the fact that, nearly one year after I gave birth to my little Mexi-talian, I’m still all about my mother-in-law’s tomatillo and chillies salsa?
Well, now there may be a scientific explanation for that! Allow me to get nerdy for a second. I recently came across an article that says during pregnancy, the mother and fetus exchange cells and some of those cells live on forever in the mother’s body. These cells take residence in the lungs, spinal cord, skin, thyroid gland, liver, intestine, cervix, gallbladder, spleen, lymph nodes, blood vessels, and even the heart and mind. My theory is, Lucas’ cells decided to chill out on my taste buds and in my stomach. Because one does not go from sweet and sour sauce to sriracha overnight. So thank you, Lucas, for my new tolerance for all things spicy. Now pass me the jalapeños!