Why can Tabasco congeal split-pea soup?
April 17, 2006 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Why did Tabasco sauce thicken my split-pea soup?

Last night I ate at Andersen's Pea Soup with some people, and for some reason my soup seemed thicker than theirs. We all put black pepper and some Tabasco in our bowls, but I used about four times as much tabasco than they did. My soup congealed consistency of light mashed potatoes, but my two dining companions' soup was still liquid. This happened with both bowls of soup I ate. (The Traveller's Special is all you can eat.) I'm assuming the Tabasco sauce is the cause for this change in texture, but why? Is it from the vinegar or the capsaicin?
posted by kendrak to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Did you eat your bowl as fast as everyone else?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:29 PM on April 17, 2006

Did you serve them first? This may seem like a dumb answer, but perhaps you served yourself from the bottom of the pot and got a thicker, sludgier portion of soup than they to begin with.

Which is really my favorite part, anyway.
posted by hermitosis at 2:29 PM on April 17, 2006

If you put in a lot of tabasco, I would suppose that the vinegar is acidifying your soup and probably cross-linking the proteins from the peas, which would make the soup thicken up. I'm shooting in the dark here, but think of it like how yougurt is made--the bacteria in yogurt produces lactic acid which causes the milk proteins to aggregate and cause the milk to thicken up.
posted by scalespace at 2:33 PM on April 17, 2006

I'm with scalespace - there's milk in split pea soup (I think) and milk plus acid = chunkified.
posted by sluggo at 5:11 PM on April 17, 2006

I'm ashamed to say - given my username - that I don't know.
posted by splitpeasoup at 6:19 PM on April 17, 2006

Best answer: It was the acid coagulating something.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:40 PM on April 17, 2006

I don't know the answer, but I do know that there is no milk in split pea soup.
posted by mkultra at 7:46 PM on April 17, 2006

Response by poster: I'm pretty sure Andersen's doesn't use milk in their soup because it's not in the cans.

Anyhow... I ate the soup at pretty much the same rate as everybody else at the table. Aparently I put a lot of Tabasco. From what I could tell, all the soup came from the same giant pot, which leaves the Tabasco sauce I guess.

My tangy-spicy-chunky split pea soup was awesome by the way. Eating two bowls of it was over kill though. Thanks!
posted by kendrak at 9:48 PM on April 17, 2006

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