Pepper Pandemonium

I had a kitchen disaster over the weekend. Following an online recipe, I added a tablespoon of cayenne to a crock pot of rice and veggies.  The recipe actually called for TWO tablespoons, but at the last minute, I said “that can’t be right” so halved the amount, even though that amount seem excessive to me.  Long story short, I should have followed my instincts as it was painful to dump the whole crock pot.  It was too hot, even for me and none of my usual tricks could save it.

There wasn’t a lot of hot food in my house growing up. My mom didn’t cook anything Mexican or Spanish that I can remember, nothing Indian or Caribbean that might have had any added heat.  I found hot and spicy when I was in college (from the special vegetarian dinner line at school).  Since then I’ve been lucky to eat some really hot foods around the world and I love it.

Once, in the early days of learning to love hot foods, I made a critical error. I was with a client in Sedona, Arizona when she spotted a little gift/food shop that she wanted to stop in.  The shop had a salsa bar filled with many kinds of salsa, peppers and crackers and chips, as well as a container of little teeny sample spoons and a sign that said “Try Me”.  One of the salsa was called “Habanero” which I had never heard of at the time.  Knowing I probably wouldn’t be buying anything, I didn’t want to eat a lot of chips so I just put a good dollop of the salsa on a little spoon and popped it straight into my mouth.  Suffice it to say, it was much hotter than I was expecting; my throat burned a bit, I got flushed and dizzy and I had to go outside and sit down on a bench for a bit.

I haven’t had a reaction that severe since, although to be honest, I’ve never been stupid enough again to put something in my mouth that I wasn’t really sure what it was!

When has it been too hot for you?

35 thoughts on “Pepper Pandemonium”

  1. i have a friend who’s idea of meditation is to raise stuff. he bought an incubator to put pheasant eggs in and grows a couple hundred of these each year to be released near a farm house he goes to for weekend respite. he raises squash tomato’s peppers and okra. apple trees to feed the deer as it turns out and hops.
    he likes to try different things so he planted ghost peppers a few years ago. he brought a little jar to our monthly card game a couple years ago and proudly displayed his harvest. i unscrewed the kid and stuck my nose in the little jar to get a whiff and was slammed by a burning i wasn’t ready for. your tongue gets nailed every now and again in this life but a fire in your nose is so intrusive that it’s confusing. i have since seen videos of kids tricking their friends into the ghost pepper challenge where they pop a pepper into their mouth only to realize there is no undo button. he brought a bottle of this year’s peppers a couple months ago and he laughed when i took my whiff from about 9 inches away from the bottle top.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Working at Minot Air Force Base on a new air traffic control building. No windows. No air conditioning. One little fan. 90 degrees outside. 99 inside. High humidity. The boss said to dip your T-shirt in water and put it back on. It’s what he had done working at the Panama canal. Still too hot.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. there is a physical trick where cool on the back of you neck and inside if your wrists cools your sensory receptors
      i was doing that in a steam room a month ago and the guy next to said “oh that’s good, you’ll be nice and cool in your brain as your body shuts down”

      Liked by 3 people

  3. In summer during my high school years I worked in a silk screen processing plant. Like Wes said: no windows, no AC, just a few fans scattered about. At the center of our little plant there was a conveyor belt that took wet, freshly screened products, running them about fifteen feet under heat lamps to dry the paint. The heat lamps were never turned off. The heat they cast reached every corner of the plant. Workers sometimes crumpled and dropped to the floor, fainting from the heat. On the hottest days of summer when you opened the front door to start work the heat of the plant would hit your face and you just knew what misery you’d be in for the rest of the day.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Son loves really hot food. We start Thai peppers for him every winter, and he grows them in pots on his patio. He also grew habanero peppers last summer. I made a turkey chipotle chowder last weekend and put in a whole jalapeno pepper, seeds and all, and it was just nicely warm.

    I ti pretty non-humid out here, so summer heat never really bothers me. Husband had heat stroke once as a young adult, and he can’t take much heat at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I had a similar incident to VS’s. Made some chili years ago, with guest coming over. Recipe was either wrong or I misread Tsp and thought it was Tbsp. So—three times the amount of chili powder went into that chili. I diluted it as much as I could with extra tomato sauce, beans, water, etc. But too hot in the chili world is always TOO HOT.

    Most of us managed to force down a respectable amount, with lots of tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and gulps of water. But I was embarrassed and profusely apologized for a less than excellent meal. (I’m normally an excellent cook.)

    But hey, heat happens. *shrug* Didn’t kill anyone.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  6. We bought a new down comforter for our bed this Christmas. It is way too warm for me. Even sticking my foot out from under it doesn’t help. When Husband was at the rez last week I coped by opening the bedroom window. I probably keep it too warm in the house at night, so the comforter will help me save money by turning down the thermostat. I like it cool in the house at night but warm during the day. Husband is just the opposite.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of my all time favorite LGMS bits was one where the boys were taking a non-Minnesotan to a restaurant (maybe Asian) in Duluth. The waitress took the newcomer’s order and asked if he wanted that spicy, mild, extra mild, or North Shore style. It was one of those “you had to be there” bits, and I can’t do it justice, but it was hilarious at the time.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. Any dairy is good. If you are trying to fix the dish before it’s being served dairy or sugar depending upon the dish, or an acid, either vinegar or lime juice, again depending upon the dish.


  7. That picture for today is a little tiny Loco pepper. They’re not usually any bigger than your thumb nail but they do have a kick to them. This is what I grow in my straw bales every summer. Not a habanero or a scotch bonnet but plenty hot for your daily living.


  8. People sure differ in terms of how “hot” (spicy) they like their food. I’ve long wondered if some people like hotness for physiological reasons. Or do some people just get habituated? I’m inclined to think habituation affects this more than any physical differences. Anyone have an opinion?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. my mom was a campbell’s soup can cook and my dad’s idea of exotic was sukiyaki in his birthday
    i found most veggie recipes so gray tasting that i started messing around with spice
    mexican is so enjoyable but finding the right heat for you and the others at the table is primary in the consideration dept
    my family is mild medium i am med to hot but those who say make it hot are at a level i will never appreciate
    i saw a documentary interview of the tobasco family operations and it was very interesting
    the way to make hot sauce correctly eats the finish off the pans and the paint off the walls. your eyes and lungs tell you to run away. a drop or two makes it interesting as a flavor enhancer. a pool to dip potato’s in kills me


  10. While I’m a little beyond Ben’s definition of ketchup being spicy, I’m not into burning sensations in my mouth. I find that when I work with hot peppers, it can affect my breathing some, so I try to minimize doing much with hot peppers. So, I no longer make my own salsa.

    As far as being too hot, I know there are summer days and nights when it’s too hot for me – but it’s hard to believe that on a day like today. I have trouble keeping warm now; I feel like I’ve haven’t been warm enough for months unless I use warming aids – wrapping up in blankets, turning up the thermostat, etc.


  11. Early in our marriage, we had attended some free movie screening at Uptown Theater I think. Afterward, there was free food at an Ethiopian restaurant on the West Bank. It was fun, because we ate with our fingers, using flat bread to scoop up the food. But holy moly – that was some of the hottest, spiciest food ever. I don’t like real spicy food, so it was painful to get it down. Not fun.

    A friend of mine related to me an instance of an acquaintance of hers who made the most devilish, hottest, hot sauce ever. One time when she started to feel the ill effects of food poisoning, she swallowed a big spoonful of this nasty brew. Stopped it in its tracks. She probably had longer side effects from taking the hot sauce, but it killed whatever nasty bugs were infecting her stomach.


  12. The first, and only, time I tasted wasabi, I thought I was going to die! I knew it would be hot, and thought I was being cautious, but not cautious enough. It was at a very nice restaurant at the Galleria, not sure any more which one. There was a small puddle of wasabi on the plate next to what ever I was supposed to eat it with. I tasted just a tiny bit, neat. I instantly felt like a hot skewer had been thrust through my sinuses. It was the most horrible feeling I have ever experienced. I don’t recall any sensation of flavor, just intense pain. I too have a Minnesota palate, maybe just slightly south of Ben’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a healthy respect for wasabi, but love it with sushi. A few years ago I took my friend Ken, who is of Japanese descent, to a small Japanese restaurant for lunch. Ken has dementia, but a that time was still functioning well enough that we could eat out, and I knew he was very familiar with the cuisine. Unfortunately, he apparently had forgotten how hot wasabi can be and took a healthy mouthful before I realized what he was doing. Fortunately there was only one other customer in the restaurant at the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I love hot and spicy food! Rarely is it too hot, although I now know not to order the food HOT in a Sri Lankan restaurant. That was a lesson I learned the hard way.

    Living, as I do, in a neighborhood with a fair amount of Mexican restaurants, I often indulge in fresh hot salsa. Last night I fixed a pork chili with four different peppers, some for flavor, some for heat, and it was wonderful. Fortunately Hans likes hot and spicy food as much as I do.

    Our little local farmers’ market attracts several vendors who offer unusual wares. We have a young couple who make wonderful hot sauces (Isabel Street Heat), some of which are very hot. There are a couple of Hmong farmers who offer a variety of pretty hot peppers, and there’s an African man who has introduced me to herbs and spices I’ve never encountered before, including some treacherously hot tiny peppers.

    Temperature wise, I’m not into extremes. Anything below 0º F and above 85º F is out of my comfort range.

    Liked by 1 person

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