Cooking with Aspirin

Sure, there’s the chance of gastrointestinal ulcers and stomach bleeding, but part of me wonders why aspirin doesn’t appear to be used in any foods. In fact a search for cooking with aspirin reveals no recipes whatsoever. This is fairly surprising to me. After all, acetylsalicilyc acid has a light sour taste that is not unpleasant, and would go nicely in certain types of sweet foods, particularly in something like these.

Now, I should reiterate — I’m not a physician, so please keep that in mind; but think of the application of pain reliever as an ingredient! Consider a Belgian waffle with stwarberries, whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar mixed with powdered aspirin. Strawberries already contain salicylates, as do many other berries, and, as regular ingestion of these fruits has been linked to lower incidences of a number of maladies, it would seem to follow that regular ingestion of foods prepared with low-doses of crushed pilules might offer similar benefits. Indeed, this article would seem to get us through most of that line of reasoning. As for preparation… well, in addition to not being a physician, I’m also not a chemist, so I cannot speak for the possible interactions that would make cooking with acetylsalicilyc acid difficult or not worth the endeavour, but I feel most of those worries and doubts could be circumvented by using it applied as a dusting to the final product (as with the above suggestions), thus preventing breakdown of the product with excessive heat or prolonged hydrolysis. Raw foods would seem a good match. (Roquette salad with lemon juice and aspirin anyone?)

Now, in terms of the psychology of such use (something I’m more at home commenting on), a food that simultaneously provides pain-relief and fever-reduction (while avoiding liklihood of stomach irritation, in that the drug is definitionally not being delivered on an empty stomach) should become regarded with positive mental associations. After all, bodily benefit or harm produces most of the taste associations and aversions that we form. Most people I know, for this reason, have an aversion to a particular kind of alcohol, having spent a night reliving / relieving their over-consumption. Somatic feedback in taste associations is even strong enough to get us to start liking things that initially seem unpalatable. Consider coffee. Perhaps you remember your first cup of joe. I certainly do. I hated the dominant bitter tastes, which rested solidly over the sub-dominant earthy flavors of of vegetable mold (from the compounds formed by the autoxidation of the linoleic acid) and burnt egg (consistent with the sulfur compounds). (For more on the taste components of coffee, a remarkable reference on the taste chemistry of coffee is available here.) However, I, like 80% of Americans, came around to the beverage and now partake of it at least occasionally. What suckered me in? The caffeine, mostly. College… aero-space engineering… lack of a proper sleep schedule — these things were made more tolerable by the sweet effects of espresso drinks served hot at least thrice daily on busy days. Appreciation of the flavor of coffee eventually followed, but only after my body had come to crave the java perk. Similar on a psychological level, no doubt, would be the effects of aspirin-laced foods. A banana that cures my headache? Amazing! I barely even like bananas, and already I can see myself starting to eat more of them!

This could lead to two immediate problems, of course. One: addiction to analgesic foods. Bad for the liver, if nothing else. And two: amplified food cravings. Bad for the figure, if nothing else. Still, I maintain that both of those can be overcome with a small dose of moderation. Aspirin foodstuffs — still lookin’ good!

Before I actually start suplementing my comestibles (and before I start bringing aspirin tortes to picnics), I will probably sit and think about this for a few months. There are probably factors I’m not giving enough though to (asprin sensitivity or intolerance, for example, not to mention Reye’s syndrome). I’m still in favor of the concept, but I welcome additional comments below as to why this might be a good or bad idea.

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