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My mouth is on fire! Memorable spicy food moments. [moved from Not About Food]

I’m a spicy food lover from birth. I especially love hot peppers and put them on just about everything. I do a lot of home canning and have an eager crowd of tasters who await their jar of peppers during canning season.

On this particular occasion I brought a couple of jars to a get-together. I explained that one was medium hot and the other one was a flame-throwing, habanero hot.

Taster A says, “Gimme the hottest you got! You can’t make it hot enough for me.”

Taster B says, “He can eat the hot stuff like you wouldn’t believe.”

So we crack open the habanero jar and Taster A start throwing peppers on everything: crackers, burgers, beans, you name it. After a few minutes he starts clearing his throat, then coughing, eyes watering, nose running, turning red, and sweating profusely. I thought he was gonna explode! He then vanishes from the room leaving a vapor trail like a cartoon character.

After about 20 min he sheepishly returns and Taster B says, “That’s what you get for doing all that braggin!”

I know there’s some Hounds out there that have some spicy food stories to share. Let’s hear ‘em!

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  1. I am not sure why some men seem to have the "the hotter I can handle, the more macho I am" gene, but I have seen it at work many times. It's always a hoot!
    One gathering, we were one of two couples dining out, and decided to go to an Indian place. Well, SO decided he wanted it spicy, and the other guy sorta upped the ante a bit, so they badgered the waiter into making it "full" spicy hot. The other woman and I just rolled our eyes. Sure enough, the dishes they ordered were blisteringly hot. In fact they could not get past the first bite. In an exchanged looked, the other woman and I sealed the deal that we were not sharing our delicious dishes with anyone. The guys deserved to be hungry as well as having to watch us eat and enjoy our meal.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Or maybe some of us are wired so that we like spicy. I've never had something I found *too* hot. That's not machismo; I don't give a fig about showing off--which is why I have hot sauce for use when I'm not with other people. I just like it hot. And my tolerance is enough that high heat doesn't blow out the other flavors for me.

        1. re: Scott_R

          but other people do show off and then are proven to be chili-intolerant.

          1. re: Scott_R

            It seems to be a largely American things--I haven't seen it in other countries. In Chile, where the food is less spicy than the US (yes, really), no one brags about liking or withstanding very spicy food. There is none of this competition about it. I have seen that in the US where some guy starts to turn the eating of spicy things into the contest. I have never seen this in South America, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland.

            1. re: Wawsanham

              I've seen it in Germany. There even is a currywurst stand in Berlin claiming to have the hottest currywurst in town.

              Might be a rather recent development, tho, given the general mildness of German cuisine.

              1. re: linguafood

                except the horseradish-heavy mustard I got ahold of by accident at a stand on the Hohestrasse in Köln, which left me standing in the street gasping for breath while tears ran down my cheeks (but man, I could BREATHE!) LOL

                Not a pepper hot, but not to be trifled with, either.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Ve Germans do like our horseradish and mustard to be rather on the spicy side.

                  I love all the different sources of hotness - all of them.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Incidentally, the Thai restaurant I mention downthread was *also* in Köln (so much amazing food in that city...!!)

                2. re: linguafood

                  OK, maybe at some stands--I certainly haven't been everywhere. But, I've generally not seen it when people get together to eat--then of course the food isn't HOT. Of course, there might be some spicy mustards, horseradish, the occasional currywurst--and these would be hot by Chilean, Argentine, or Brazilian standards--consequently, possibly, making German cuisine overall hotter than those.

                3. re: Wawsanham

                  There are tons of video posts from all over the world with people eating Trinidad Scorpion Butch T s, Naga Viper Pepper,Bhut Jolokia and many other super hot varieties so it really is not just an American thing.

                  1. re: Wawsanham

                    It's a competition for some, not all. I have never had the urge to take part in a spicy food contest. I simply like spicy food.

                    1. re: Wawsanham

                      It happens in the UK. My brother and his friends egged each other on to eat a sample of some ghost chilli relish at a market stand. It was... spectacular. I've never seen a bunch of young men turn so scarlet and bug-eyed and start clutching their throats before.

                      The guy at the next stall was selling yoghurt smoothies and doing a -roaring- trade. I joked with him that it was clearly worth the extra he slipped the organisers of the market to place him next to the chilli relish stall. He smirked and nodded :P

                4. I like my food with a little kick so often add chili flakes and have a bottle of Siracha in the fridge.
                  But....one day I went to an Asian restaurant and ordered a spicy dish. Looked and smelled good. Took one bite and nearly passed out. It felt like I had lit a match and placed it in my mouth. No flavor, no anything...just fire and pain, and no way to put it out.

                  I also don't understand the popularity of canned chapotle in adobo sauce. I've seen chefs on TV use a half can in recipes. I once used a tiny bit in a recipe and it was way too hot to taste anything else.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: noodlepoodle

                    Chipotle: not only spicy, but very smoky - a little goes a long way

                    1. re: noodlepoodle

                      I decided to try a new thai place that opened up near my work a couple weeks ago. I ordered the "spicy mint leaf pork." I expected it to be spicy, but wow was it ever over the top spicy. My mouth was on fire after a few bites. It didn't wipe out the flavor though, the flavor was fantastic. Worth the pain, I would order it again.

                      1. re: noodlepoodle

                        I like spicy food but not crazy hot, and chipotle in adobo doesn't seem that spicy to me. I've used it in many recipes and never gotten flavors blown.

                      2. LONG time ago, both of these, early-mid 1970s:

                        My then-girlfriend was curious about a local (to her, not to me) Chinese restaurant. Her exact words: "Order it hot, I dare ya!". So I did. "Hot" was not common at all in those days. It was delicious! The next day I am awakened by a phone call: "D*** you, Wayne Keyser! That stuff's as hot coming out as it was going in!" I'm sorry for the character flaw this shows, but I was breaking into laughter on and off for the rest of the day.

                        Even before that, I was out working with a friend from high school, lunching at a Chinese restaurant. He very politely suggested that I try something. Rube that I was then, I was shocked: why would anyone want HOT and SOUR soup? Wasn't brave enough to try it. Those were the days when menus would "talk around" potentially hot-button names, offering "tasty and pungent soup", for instance.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wayne keyser

                          that comment by your former girlfriend reminds me of something my dear departed Dad used to say about the food he ate in Thailand..."so spicy it made your a** pucker." ;)

                        2. I was out to dinner at a Thai restaurant with my friend's family. We ordered not spicy and apparently it was still too much for her mom. She turned bright red and started sweating. We were all laughing, but the kicker was when our Mexican waiter came by and saw her and yelled back to the kitchen "Gringo on fire!"

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: caffinatedmints

                            Hilarious! I'm seriously in my cubicle dying of laughter.

                            1. re: LN2008

                              I find that stereotype to be a little baffling. I can think of many places where the people seem to prefer less spicy food than in the US: Basically all or most of the South American continent, Costa Rica, Europe in general. Compared to those places, "gringos" seem to be massive spice consumers.

                              1. re: Wawsanham

                                Yeah, the image of the heat-averse American gringo was probably quite accurate in 1972. But 2012? Not so much.

                          2. Ahh! I love this! My best friend grew a garden with tomatoes and jalepenos. Let me add she's mildly forgetful and kind of lazy-ish. Anyway.. she never watered the plants, but still ended up with loads of peppers. She gave them to me and I turned them into poppers. Those things were so hot I drank all the dairy in our fridge and ate a bunch of yogurt. I honestly thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. Needless to say, that's the only one I ate.

                            1. It was New Year's Eve about 10 or 11 years ago. My husband (it might have even been before we got married) and I had tickets for a show in NY at the show was at 9:00 and went into the midnight hour. I decided to make dinner for us before we went to the show.

                              I made a Mario Batali pesto recipe and ohmygod it was so spicy that it was painful. I am pretty sure is was this one for Ziti with Spicy Pesto Pantesco and Locatelli.


                              The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of crushed red pepper. I wasn't such an avid cook at that time, so it didn't sound like a lot of crushed red pepper to me, but let me tell you, it was spicy! I am convinced it is a mistake in the recipe. We still laugh about it and at some point we learned from Alton Brown that when your mouth is on fire, drink milk, so we spent the rest of the night drinking milk!

                              1. In 2006 I traveled to Liberia, West Africa to marry my sweetheart who is from there. One of the first ” local” dishes I had was barbequed whole fish with a pepper sauce that they put on everything. Unknown to me the peppers used are the ones we know as Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets! The fish was delicious, but I seriously hurt myself in my gusto and enthusiasm to keep eating this yummy, but HOT dish.

                                1. When I moved to California in the mid 70s I discovered all sorts of food I never heard of before, including avocados and guacamole. A couple of years later I went to a sushi place for the first time. There was a mound of green stuff on the plate. "Ah, guacamole!", I thought, and took a big bite. Luckily horseradish is one of the few hot herbs I grew up with.

                                  There used to be a pub in San Mateo that served habanero burgers. The burgers not only had a good quarter-inch topping of diced peppers on top, the habaneros were mixed into the meat. It was a department challenge to eat one of them (and go next door for ice cream afterwards). I like the flavor of habaneros, but they're something I prefer in small doses. (Yes, I did the challenge - once was enough.)

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: tardigrade

                                      that burger joint doesn't exist anymore? sad....

                                    2. my now-husband and his friends used to go to an amazing hole-in-the-wall turkish kebab shop run by a bunch of slightly seedy turkish men.
                                      One of them made "secret hot sauce" that you could only get if you knew about it (secret menu).
                                      So when I went there with the boys of course I ordered it too.
                                      The guy behind the counter said "you will cry little white girl, you will cry"
                                      Got it anyway and cried. My husband ate the rest of my kebab.
                                      We moved away shortly after that and when we went back a few years later, my husband asked for the secret hot sauce to be told that the guy who made it had left and "he was crazy man, crazy hot sauce"

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: piwakawaka

                                        i LOVE "you will cry little white girl, you will cry" and love that it actually made you cry, instead of it being someone who THINKS he makes hot sauce but underestimates everyone else's heat tolerance.

                                      2. I too am extremely fond of the glories of heat. Ol' Capt. Saicin is a lifelong friend, one whose presence is always welcome. Consequently, I have grown quite accustom to his fury and nearly immune to his wrath. Every once in a while, however, the old man has a trick up his sleeve and a couple summers ago he reminded me.

                                        I made some chicken wings on the offset barbecue, coating them in a rub, then smoking them for about an hour before finishing them over hot coals for a couple minutes. I decided I wanted to make them very spicy, so a sauce of roughly 50-50 butter to Dave's Insanity was concocted and placed in the bottom of my mixing bowl. A fingertip taste brought the instant realization that the sauce was, shall we say, overwhelming.

                                        Anticipating the mitigating effect of sugars on chiles, I added about half a jar of rasberry Allfruit to the sauce before throwing in the wings. I resumed my normal preparations, tossing the wings, coating them liberally, and serving them with a dressing consisting of blended blue cheese, olive oil, and garlic. My wife and I sat down to eat, hungry and excited for a new taste.

                                        The first bite was glorious, slightly sweet, smokey, a bit tart, and exhibiting a slight sting of heat. By the time I finished the second wing, sweat was beading on my upper lip and temples and my nose had begun to run. A hearty swallow of beer was necessitated, if not wise. I finished two more wings and watched my wife put down her third bone. We shared a look of "holy shit what did we just do" and laughed. The plate of wings, now only partially diminished, sat. We continued to shudder.

                                        I got up, got a couple more beers. I think my wife may have had a spoonful of the dressing. We each took a lot of deep breaths.

                                        Five minutes, perhaps ten, passed. My arm reached out and somehow I found another wing in my fingers on the way to my mouth. I delighted in watching my wife as she grabbed another for herself. We wound up finishing the plate, giddy from the pain and consequent endorphins, numbed by the beer. Hours passed before the burning fully subsided.

                                        I've never bothered to make the wings the same way again. I've decided once was probably enough, chalking the experience up as a Nietzschean strength builder.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          You and your wife are fine human beings. I salute you.

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            MGZ, I always knew you and I were kindred spirits, but I never knew you had such a hardcore wife! You lucky dog.

                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                              The little lady is quite the trooper indeed. It's quite funny when a server condescendingly warns her that a dish she's ordering is "very spicy" then sort of spies on her as we start to eat. My only problem with our increasing preference and tolerance for heat is when we entertain. It gets harder all the time to figure out how to dumb the heat down enough for company without compromising the flavors we find essential to a dish.

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                I also find that to be an issue when dining out and entertaining.Ordering mild to medium at our favorite Thai and Malay restaurants to accommodate our friend's tolerances and toning down our favorite dishes when they come over.
                                                My chili crab,spiced rubbed beer can chicken and souse cutters lack bite to us but as good hosts we just keep a bottle of pepper sauce on the table at all times.

                                            2. re: MGZ

                                              Dave's Insanity! Impressive indeed.

                                            3. I am what they call a chile head. I used to detest spicy food, but I have come around about a decade ago, and now love it -- there are cuisines (Thai and Indian come to mind immediately, duh) where I would never order a dish that isn't hot.

                                              When my eyebrows are sweating, that's when I know the heat level is a-ok.

                                              We got take-out once from a local Indian joint and ordered a lamb dish 'spicy'. Holy crap. You know how Indian heat takes a couple bites before it sneaks up on you? Well, we had to stop after a couple of bites. The next day, I added a can of tomatoes, 2 cups of broth as well as some veggies to the lamb dish, hoping to dilute the heat.... and it was still just barely edible.

                                              A more recent experience involved a 'special' burrito at a Mexican hole in the wall place in Berlin. A diner we shared a table with claimed that this was his favorite, as it was just the heat level he liked. I took a bite, being the spice macho that I am. About 2 minutes later, my entire mouth filled up with saliva. I've never experienced anything like it. Took a few spoons of crema and guac to deal with the aftermath.

                                              What I love about hot food is how differently the peppers work. Thai & Mexican being the most immediate offenders, whereas I find that Indian takes a bit to fully develop the pain.

                                              I also love munching on those dried red peppers at our local Sichuan place. If only the next day never happened '-)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                AND Indian for me takes a while to ease off, and then it's like a timed-release thing - it ramps up and then it's hot, it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot and then bam! it's over! at least, my hottest indian meal in the 80s in L.A., went that way.

                                              2. I love spicy but only if there is flavor behind it. I love habaneros for their floral essence as well as the heat they pack.

                                                1. While in Cancun one year, we went to a little restaurant and they brough some salsa with chips. I asked if they had some spicy stuff and they said how spicy. I replied with muy picoso. The waiter nodded and left. A few minutes later, he returned with a little bowl of neatly diced orange habaneros, white onions in a lovely vinegar....followed by what appeared to be the entire kitchen staff. It was exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I both took a taste, chewed and savored. I remarked it perfect. The staff was waiting for the gringos heads to explode but it didn't. We had an enjoyable meal with most appropriate seasonings on all our dishes after that.

                                                2. While visiting Kimeh, TX we wandered into the Tabasco Store. Tabasco has just started making jalapeno, habanero and garlic sauces but they were not yet available on a larger level. We were at the tasting table with nothing but the bottles of sauce; no crackers or anything to cleanse your palate before moving to the next sauce. My typical way of tasting is to put a line of sauce on my index finger and taste from there. I started with garlic, progressed to jalapeno and finished with habanero. Two guys were watching me taste and listening to me reporting back on the flavors. Their eyes bugged out when I put a neat one inch line of habanero on my finger and tasted. I remarked it had nice heat on the finish and had the floral notes I expected. No gasping, turning red or eye watering experience for me. The two guys decided it wasn't hot and proceeded to do the same thing.....I walked away thinking they would understand the heat of habaneros. A few minutes later, the two guys were clamoring at the drink cooler grabbing water (mistake....I know). After about 15 minutes, they walked over to me and asked how the heck I tasted that without my head exploding. I told them I was used to habaneros and they kind of freaked out.....then they asked me to taste it again to prove that I could tolerate it. So I did and they totally couldn't believe it and thought I had some secret up my sleeve.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Dee S

                                                  Had the same orange sauce in Cancun during Christmas, 1976. Asked them to make it "like you have at home." I did cry, but the taste was so good!

                                                2. My fam-jam and I were at an Indian restaurant, and although we are Indian my grandmother never really believed in my spice tolerance when I was younger. At one point during the meal I was adding some Indian pickle to my dish (which is COMPLETELY unlike dill pickles for those who are unfamiliar with it) and she warned me that I might not be able to "take it". I decided to prove myself and stuck a teaspoon of the stuff directly into my mouth. My eyes popped and my hands clenched, but I managed to chew and swallow without too much pain. The best part was that afterwards I was still able to keep adding bits of it to forkfuls of my curry or whatever it was, which is how it is supposed to be eaten, rather than plopped straight into one's gullet.

                                                  1. Summer mornings in Playa del Carmen are pleasant, for the first couple hours. The sea is so flat it looks like one could skip a stone all 13 miles to Cozumel. The air is calm but not yet hot. I would clean up and go to breakfast at one of a large number of al fresco restos and enjoy the sunrise. I would order my eggs, either frito con tocino, rancheros, or motulenos, and stare at the ubiquitous little dish of fresh habanero sauce. Will I do it again? If I don't, I can leave with only modest perspiration. If I do, I will soon resemble a lawn sprinkler. But of course I did, every time. I can't hep it. It's crack. Along the way I bought a lightweight Lakewood fan that REALLY throws air. I began to carry it with me in my ubiquitous green bag, with an extension cord, and it became part of my morning eccentricities around town. I love me them simple pleasures. And my hot sauce.

                                                    1. I just recounted a story on the Montreal board. We were introduced to authentic Szechuan a few years back. Seemed every table in this one joint had a honkin large vat-o-soup. The waitress said its "beef in water", so we ordered it (its sometimes called Szechuan hot pot). Its a cauldron of hell-fire with handfulls of dried chili, szechuan peppercorn, and a healthy layer of chili oil.
                                                      I was reminded of the Bourdain episode where they eat a similar dish and everyone is sweating. This doesn't let us down and soon everyone is sweating and sniffling with the combined chili heat and peppercorn burn/numbness.
                                                      My buddy swallowed wrong and coughed. This had the broth forcefully backed up into his nasal cavity and out through his nose. There was some orange-y Szechuan hot pot coming out of one nostril!
                                                      He was on the verge on panic, ran outside and spent 15 minutes in the sub-zero weather coughing up 1/2 a lung - one of *the* funniest things I ever saw!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        One dish of Szechuan Unhappy Spewing Nose coming right up!

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          When looking for a mild Szechuan dish many people see water boiled beef or fish and think "oh, that sounds mild". So wrong!

                                                          1. re: porker

                                                            Hilarious!!!! I like the hot stuff but see no point in overdoing it because your arse will burn the next day when you go to the bathroom. Just no point to it

                                                            1. re: zzDan

                                                              Ah, a little flamin' kiester never hurt anybody. ;)

                                                          2. I was at a really excellent Thai restaurant in Germany with customers. We ordered the special dinner for a big group, and crispy fish was one of the dishes.

                                                            I thought it was excellent -- I prefer my heat with flavor, and I *loved* the fish, so happily accepted when the dish made the rounds a second time.

                                                            I didn't see the little pepper -- whole -- laying just under the fish on my fork, and I bit into it.

                                                            Just like the cartoons - my eyes bugged out, steam shot out of my ears -- and I had to sit there and deal with it in front of the clients, instead of giving into my urge to run shrieking out of the room....

                                                            1. One more.
                                                              I used to run a small take-out joint that was known for Buffalo wings. Since I sold suicide and under-the-table-suicide wings, people assumed I liked everything spicy.
                                                              One day, after shopping, we stopped into a local watering hole. I was playing pool, Mrs. Porker sat with friends.
                                                              While playing, the subject of spice came up.
                                                              "Hey, Porker, you like spicy stuff, huh?" someone said.
                                                              "Well yeah, but not crazy hot.....hey wait a minute, we just came from shopping - I have some habaneros in the car"
                                                              I got the package and tore a few peppers into pieces with my fingers. A few guys tried it and we all laughed. After everything died down, I put the peppers back in the car, continued playing pool and pretty much forgot about it.
                                                              Then I had to take a leak.
                                                              I did my business, not thinking, and washed my hands on the way out.
                                                              About 5 minutes later, standing by the pool table, I notice a slight tingling in the general crotch area. Hmmmmm, this is strange......
                                                              A minute later, my pecker is ON FIRE! Then it hits me: habanero on my fingers - my fingers on my......AHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOO.
                                                              I rush over to Mrs Porker, lean over to her ear and in a rush say "I gotta go home, I gotta wash up!"
                                                              She's looking at my pained face, I'm hopping from one foot to another, she's confused, so I explain, "I got habanero juice on my fingers, then I got it on my pecker, now its burning like hell. I gotta go home and scrub it off!!!"
                                                              I double timed it home, ripped my shorts off, washed my hands with a brillo pad and soap, then moved on to the more private part.
                                                              Painful and intimidating experience....

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                Wow, double whammy. Habanero juice, then brillo.

                                                                I'd love to hear Mrs. Porker's version of this tale.

                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                  Mrs. Porker's version is quite dull. She simply wouldn't come near me for a week, making sure all the capsaicin washed/worn/faded/rubbed? away.....

                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                    Mrs. Porker is one smart lady!! *grin*

                                                                2. re: porker

                                                                  During a cook out one summer, I decided to make a raw seafood salad with habaneros. After a few hours of chatting around the barbecue and drinking beers, I was quite at ease at my chopping board, carefully slicing the habaneros, although after a few hours spent drinking beers, nature's call had become too insistent to ignore so I excused myself to visit the lavatory. The sound I made about 30 seconds later has been compared to a kettle coming to boil as it was hit by a speeding locamotive. 30 min. and a ruined glass of milk later, I learned to wear gloves when slicing chilies. Though that was little comfort the first time I made ghost chili hot sauce and the hand blender splashed me in my face.

                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                    Haw haw.

                                                                    I had a somewhat similar experience.

                                                                    After dicing several habaneros for who knows what sort of concoction, my contact lenses became a bit bleary. With brain thoroughly disengaged, I went into the bathroom to rinse my lenses.

                                                                    Have mercy...

                                                                    When my fingers reached my eyeball to remove the first contact it felt like Andre the Giant hit me in the face with an iron-studded cudgel. My knees buckled and I almost fell to the floor. After the tears subsided somewhat I looked in the mirror to see an eyeball that looked like a date poached in blood.

                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                      Buffalo wings were new to our area in the 80s. We asked for the house suicide and were enjoying ourselves when, for an odd movement, some sauce flicked *under* my eyeglasses and into my right eye. The sting was instant. In a panic I started to use the water glass as an eye flusher right at the table. My sister and brother-in-law laughed their ass off and nearby tables just looked at me wierd.
                                                                      I had to go to the washroom to finish the flushing and get cleaned up a bit.

                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                        Dignity dies quickly in the service of the endorphin rush.

                                                                  2. re: porker

                                                                    I had a similar experience once. Ended up doing naked pushups while dunking myself into a glass of cold milk. A sight to be seen, let me tell you!! LOL

                                                                      1. re: Novelli

                                                                        I did the same, but required a tankard rather than a glass. ;)

                                                                    1. Picture it...a Thai restaurant in Columbia, Missouri, 1996.

                                                                      Lone grad student walks in and looks at the menu. Orders a dish called Dragon Chicken. Thai waiter asks how hot prospective victim wants it on a scale of 10. Grad student hems and haws a bit before resolving on 7. Dish arrives. Fantastically delicious and very, very hot, but not quite intolerable.

                                                                      Dragon Chicken was so excellent that grad student returns to Thai restaurant next night and orders the dish at 10. Thai waiter looks down at floor, shuffles feet and looks generally uncomfortable. Student asks if there is something wrong. Waiter coughs a bit, rubs hand across cheek and murmurs, "White people never order 10."

                                                                      Blustering student replies, "Give it to me anyway!"

                                                                      Fifteen minutes later Dragon Chicken arrives. The ceramic dish upon which the food lay is warped and melted in spots. Sparks are shooting from one section of the food; smoke and fire billow from another, and the center is surmounted by a small mushroom cloud.

                                                                      Student, throwing caution and good sense to the wind, digs in.

                                                                      Murder! Agony! Pain of a medieval nature!

                                                                      Nevertheless, student, slaked by pitcher after pitcher of ice-water, perseveres and slays the Dragon Chicken.

                                                                      Thai waiter, upon seeing the empty plate, pulls a dusty tome off of a nearby wall and reverently places it in front of the student. Waiter produces a pen and says, "Anybody who finishes Dragon Chicken 10 gets to sign this book." Student felt more pride at that moment than he did when he walked with his doctorate several years later.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. Fun thread. Autumn of '74, I shared a rambling colonial house in Westwood, MA with 5 rabbit and squirrel stew kinda guys. It had been a peaceful domicile and sanctuary for Harvard educators for 100 years that took an abrupt Animal House turn for the worse. Frank, AKA 'gramps', wandered into the kitchen with a Cheshire Cat grin, dangling a diminutive pepper from his garden, daring anyone to eat it. Roger, AKA 'bear' for his six and a half foot size and musculature, rose for the bait and scarfed it down. Within 30 seconds, he was on the kitchen floor, flapping around like a marlin. We marveled at the sight of Roger being felled by something the size of a bullet, and then we darted away from his flailing extremities and out of the room, thinking "I'm glad I'm not him."

                                                                          1. The first time my dad grew his own horseradish, he excitedly popped some fresh dug & peeled roots into the blender & ground them up. Then dipped in a tablespoon & popped the whole blob into his mouth. From 3 feet away, shot out of him like something from the Exorcist, hit the kitchen window & slid down, while he coughed & choked.

                                                                            Watching this like the dutiful young daughter that I was, I laughed myself sick. ;)

                                                                            1. Thread - likey.
                                                                              I ran a full service resto in a different life. Waitress comes into the kitchen and says 3 guys want the hottest wings possible.
                                                                              I go out to the dining room and explain that it'll likely be inedible. "No, no, we *want* it that hot"
                                                                              OK, I'll fix their wagon, I thought.
                                                                              I fried up 20 wings and added a tablespoon of Da Bomb Ground Zero
                                                                              to my under-the-table-suicide sauce (ground habaneros).
                                                                              Admittedly, Da Bomb Ground Zero isn't the hottest "sauce" available, but it does pack a punch.
                                                                              The waitress said they wanted to see me in the dining room.
                                                                              I was greeted by the 3 guys, on their knees, in a crowded dining room, bowing and bowing, red faced and sweating - they couldn't eat the wings.
                                                                              We had a few laughs.

                                                                              1. I eat a lot of spicy stuff on a regular basis so it is not typically any sort of an event for me, and I can handle very high heat though I prefer medium- high. I find that if something is too caustically hot it can obscure enjoyment of the other flavors. The last hottest thing I hate was a torta ahogada at a Mexican restaurant near to DC. The owners are not from Guadalajara and so don't make it traditional style with a tomato sauce drenching and you add your own chile sauce. Instead, they blend the tomato sauce and chile sauce into one sauce for the drench (I think the sauce is rehydrated árbol chiles pureed with tomato, garlic, salt and vinegar) and they are very heavy handed with the chiles. That sandwich was blisteringly hot but delicious. Imagine eating a sandwich which is soaking in delicious, thin tomatoey-fiery hot sauce. It was simply scrumptious. My dining partner that day also eats spicy food on a regular basis, but she couldn't finish her portion of the sandwich we had split. Her face and lips turned red and she gave up. I enjoyed the sandwich so much that I simply ate her portion. It was excellent! I can handle my chile well, but my lips did swell a bit and turn redder. I loved that sandwich and await an opportunity to have another one.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                  It sounds like by the end of the meal you were looking like Angelina Jolie! Without the tatts, presumably. ;)

                                                                                2. About twelve years ago i tried sushi for the first time. i took a piece and scooped on the guacamole that came on the side. one swallow educated me - the hard way - that the 'guacamole' was actually wasabi, and scooping it on is not the way to enjoy it!

                                                                                  1. I lived in a dorm for all of my years of college, so never REALLY had to cook regularly until the summer after graduation, when I was living in a house with friends. A couple of months after I started grad school, I came back for a visit, and seasoned cook that I was, decided to make chili for my friends. When shopping for the ingredients, I fell victim to a poorly labeled produce section - I could have sworn that those peppers looked like what I thought habaneros looked like...but that's not what the label said!

                                                                                    Not one of us could find enough milk, cheese, or sour cream in the house to get through a bowl of it. The general consensus was, "it tastes great, I just can't eat any more of it!" What's funny is that now, many years later, I have a much higher spice tolerance and would probably lick the bowl clean.

                                                                                    1. I put some type of hot sauce on almost everything. Even mild hot sauce like Sriracha is always on stand by. I have had wings made with Smack My Ass And Call Me Sally Sauce, that is about twice the heat of Dave's Insanity. Those were hot, but still really good. I've dabbed a toothpick in a 500,000 sauce and tasted it....a completely bad idea, but not really an eating experience. As far as true heat is concerned I have one very memorable moment.

                                                                                      I went out to an Indian place with a buddy and he was a little more well versed in Indian Cuisines. He ordered the Chicken Vindaloo which on the menu had two of three peppers next to it. I looked and I went with the only one which had three peppers and that was the Lamb Phall. As you may know, it's made with the ten different chilis and includes the ghost chili which is over 1,000,000 Scoville units. The waiter explained to me that it is very hot and only 2-3 people have ever order it and they are from India. I said what the hell and went with it. The dish comes out and I take the first bite. Nice heat, great lamb flavor and I'm psyched. I take a second bite and a swig of beer. About two seconds later, it hits me. The heat wasn't so much in my mouth, but in my chest. My eyes started to water and I excused myself and went to the bathroom and washed my face. I came back and proceeded to eat the entire dish. I couldn't help but notice that every staff member in the entire restaurant was watching me. When I was through, I ordered a last beer and noticed my friend hadn't finished his. I asked to taste it. I ended up finishing his and it actually cooled me down. The real "test" was about two hours later as the meal made it's way down into my stomach. I swear, I could feel the burn inside my stomach for about eight hours. To this day, I have never had an actual dish that was that hot and tasted so good. I'm dying to try the place in NYC that has a 16oz lamb phall challenge.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                        I made jam from my bounty of homegrown bhut jalokias last year. Gave a jar to a heat-loving friend. Next morning, her husband woke her up, asking what the he!! he just slathered onto his breakfast toast. Guess he learned not to be piggy with bhut jalokia jam.

                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                          Ouch. That reminds me of a neighbor whose girlfriend, recently arrived from Indonesia, made him tuna salad for lunch one day and decided to add some chopped peppers. Only she picked a few of his prized bhuts, minced those up, and added copiously to the tuna. Knowing nothing about this, neighbor went to eat his lunch several hours later, after flavors had melded, took a big bite, and had quite a shock.

                                                                                      2. A couple of years ago a few coworkers and I decided to show off our chili pepper creations and everyone brought a condiment to lunch at a pho place. First, we sampled them on tiny crackers, then those who wanted used their favorite to dose up the pho.

                                                                                        One friend grows the hottest peppers she can find - bhut jolokia and that ilk. She made sort of a chunky paste with chopped peppers, sauteed briefly with garlic, then put in a jar with a hit of vinegar. Extremely hot and delicious. The tasting went fine; problem was when I got a bit show-offy and put a large spoonful in my soup. Every bite was an extremely painful pleasure. The last couple of sips of the scorching broth nearly killed me. Bubble tea helped a little bit to mitigate the burn.

                                                                                        1. I'm enjoying this thread. In the early 80s, Szechuan (or Saskatchewan food as it was known In Canada) was becoming known and trendy. Growing up without heat, I decided to train my palate to tolerate chiles by making fried noodles with increasing amounts of dried whole chile peppers. I had to stop when my upstairs German roommate would choke from the fumes. I'm now pretty tolerant and can enjoy the full palate of flavors with all but the hottest dishes.

                                                                                          1. Sitting on a rough bench in front of a Roti shack, the proprietress offers me a fresh red scotch bonnet pepper to compliment my goat roti and I declined because I know just how hot they can be.
                                                                                            After some gentle ribbing from my predominately West Indian workmates I finally accepted the offer and bit off half of the pepper quickly followed by a large bite of my roti which had already been liberally seasoned with pepper sauce.
                                                                                            The heat built slowly after the fruitiness faded and just kept building until I could no longer see but for the tears,long swallows of mauby had no cooling effect and I was buzzing with pain and what can only be described as euphoria.I was invited to 3 Indian weddings that year and the time the foolish white boy ate the whole Trinidadian scorpion pepper came up time and again much to everyone's amusement.

                                                                                            1. Great topic! The Buffalo Wing Factory in Sterling, VA, circa 1999. They have one of those crazy eating challenges with their "Flatliner" wings, which I after-the-fact discovered contain powdered capsaicin in the sauce. I finished one wing and spent the next 30 minutes flushing my mouth with water, milk, beer, SOAP, and pretty much any other liquid I could find. My friend who finished 5 wings didn't make it to work the next day as the wings hurt him badly on the way out... I have a pretty good tolerance for spice but this was ridiculous.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                Sounds like inspiration for Dumb&Dumber when they eat @ Dante's Inferno

                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                  I have to check that out... let me tell you, i worked at one of those late 90's dotcom startups so there were a lot of stupid moments. I think 3 or 4 of my co-workers either failed to make it in or were horribly late the next day. I was the "smart" one for only eating 1...

                                                                                              2. I guess I was born with a taste for spicy as I was the only one in my family who threw Tabasco on just about anything. I clearly remember using it on a cheesebuger at my own seventh birthday party and getting a lot of looks froms cousins. My best spicy food moment was the first time I tried singapore Chow Mei Fun extra spicy, the blend of heat and curry was and still is outstanding. My close second is drunken noodles from (thai spicy) Frankly Thai, Franklin Square. It's everything Thai is meant to be.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Toreii

                                                                                                  My little brother and I used to have Tobasco drinking contests. We'd down capful after capful until one of us gave up the ghost. My brother inevitably won, but I think I could take him these days.

                                                                                                2. i'm in the hot camp. habanero chilis are my default, and I have some pickled ghost peppers in the fridge that get used judiciously. and i've definitely said "make it as hot as you can" because usually what you get is only semi-hot, or not at all. I'm not trying to be macho, I'm trying to get it hot. Once, many years ago, at an Indian restaurant, I was proven wrong - tears streaming, choking, the whole bit. never since, but i still like to ask.

                                                                                                  1. DH cannot tolerate even pepperoncini...those are too hot for him, and can ruin a meal...no amount of milk, buttered bread, etc can "clear it". I am amazed at the range of heat tolerance in folks!

                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                      It is funny how heat affects some and not others and for me some chilis bother me and others don't. I can eat habaneros easier than I can eat jalapenos. For some reason Jalapenos, especially chipotles bother me more.

                                                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                        I understand that the smoking process makes chipotles a bit hotter than jalapenos.

                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                          I love chipotles, but have had serious indigestion many occasions after eating them, so I usually stay away.

                                                                                                        2. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                          maybe the inherent fruitiness of habaneros makes them more tolerable to you...?

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            I think that is exactly it. They have that almost bell pepper flavor + heat. I also think, because Jalapenos are pretty tame that they leave the seeds in, where as most places are fairly careful to strip the seeds away from habaneros

                                                                                                        3. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                          I have a friend who can't stand any miniscule amount of spice. Any bit of spice will sent him right off sweating. Nowadays when something has a little heat but would not really be considered hot, if a friend asks "is it spicy?" I reply "Not spicy. Spicy for Mike, but not spicy spicy." And any time I eat spicy food in front of him, I offer him some as a joke... don't know why, it never gets old.

                                                                                                          1. re: Firenzilla

                                                                                                            My former father-in-law (RIP) was extremely spicy averse. The man would order a bowl of oatmeal in a restaurant and say to the waiter, "And I want it lightly seasoned." Sheesh...

                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                              black pepper and ketchup were too spicy for my mom.

                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                black pepper is too spicy for my sister. heaven forbid she gets a grain of it in her food, oh, the theatrics that ensue! ;) Mom's okay with black pepper but not much more than that. i must have gotten my asbestos palate from Dad - he was a total chile-head like me.

                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                  I have a friend like that...I served her some chicken noodle soup (no chilis, standard american recipe) with some black pepper ground in and her response was "whooh! that's spicy!" We still laugh about it to this day. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                    I make a dish called Tamil Nadu Pepper Chicken, which features two whole tablespoons of ground black pepper. Turns out black pepper can be fairly tuff stuff if you use enuff.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                      My mother was an incredible cook, but when she was going through chemo, she developed a real aversion towards pepper. She said it actually hurt to eat it. So she stopped using it, which made some of her famous dishes a little odd to say the least.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                        There are even people who don't like any aroma or smell whatsoever coming from the food. It's a big criticism when the say "you can smell the food being cooked in your kitchen." They're not even talking about "smelly" cabbage, fish, or garlic dishes.

                                                                                                                2. Not my hot food experience, but my young nephew's. When he was a preschooler, we were eating cheese pizza at the Danbury Circus (?) mall.

                                                                                                                  All of a sudden he got the most alarmed look in his eyes and opened his mouth wide and was fanning it frantically with his hands. He was speechless. I figured he had gotten a red chili flake on his plain cheese slice, so had him spit it out in my hand.

                                                                                                                  I'd guess that since he had no conception of hot chilis at the time that his experience rivals that of all the chiliheads out there.

                                                                                                                  1. When I lived in Thailand, I became friendly with a family who owned a local tailor shop and they invited me to dinner. She asked me ahead of time what foods I especially liked, and I said I liked tom yam soup. So the big day arrived and out came the tom yam. I saw that it had lots and lots of those killer tiny green chilis in it and I hesitated. But they had made it especially for me, so I took a spoon of the broth, making sure to avoid the chilis. It was hotter than anything I had ever eaten. I was really in pain, but I continued, with smoke coming out my ears. An uncle, who spoke no English, was eating huge spoons of it with several chilis in each spoon and had a lot to say about it. My host translated that he was upset with her as it wasn't hot enough. When asked how I liked it, I croaked, with tears streaming down my bright red face, "Well, it's a little hot." My host said, "We knew foreigners can't take this kind of heat, so we made it mild just for you." I realized then that I was out of my league. In this country, I can always take and enjoy far more heat than anyone else I know, but in Thailand? I'm a total lightweight.

                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                          Speaking about a league of their own, have you heard of the man who is apparently immune to capsaicin?
                                                                                                                          The article talks about a TV contest he won. Theres a better description of the battle here (it was actually a tie
                                                                                                                          I get a kick how the woman rubs it into her armpit....fascinated and mortified at the same time...

                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                            There was a young lady in India who would demonstrate her tolerance by rubbing a ghost pepper in her eye... much like our Mexican friend...wonder if she's single?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                              aaaaaaaaarrrggggghhhh!! why? WHY? WHY!!!

                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                .....simple.....because it hurts so good.

                                                                                                                                I just finished a new batch of sauce and now contemplating new ways to hurt myself and loved ones.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                  There once was a girl from Mysore
                                                                                                                                  Who chuffed bhut jolokias galore.
                                                                                                                                  Surfeited with heat
                                                                                                                                  She laid on a sheet
                                                                                                                                  And scrubbed them into every single pore.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                    I am astounded that you found an apt limerick....even more astounding is if you are the author....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                      Dashed it off while sitting at my work desk, o Duppie. And I imagine it shows...

                                                                                                                              2. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                I was in Thailand before I had my chile head epiphany, unfortunately, so most things were inedible for me.

                                                                                                                                My girlfriend and I had travelled up north to visit some aunts of hers who lived somewhere halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We stayed at the aunts' house, who basically were cooking most of the days, most of the afternoons.

                                                                                                                                Once they started, it took about 4 minutes tops for the insanely hot vapors to escape the kitchen, making everyone cough and leave the house. Not the aunts, obviously, they just went on their merry way and continued.

                                                                                                                                I also remember taking a very large spoon full of a fantastic looking eggplant dish, only to realize that it tasted like pain, and not much else. The copious amounts of sticky rice the other Thai folks were using to dip into the eggplant dish should've perhaps ticked me off? Nah, I'm dense like that.

                                                                                                                                So glad I like hot food now. It is truly addictive.

                                                                                                                              3. I’m loving this thread! Much love to those who replied. The visuals on these stories are hilarious!

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Spice_zing

                                                                                                                                  Pretty sure you never thought someone would mention peppers and armpit in the same sentence, ahha

                                                                                                                                2. A gazillion years ago, my husband and I were on our honeymoon. We were on our way to London and for reasons that escape me now, we were flying Air India. Now, this was back in the day when meals were served on airplanes, and sometimes they were even halfway decent. I should add that we were flying First Class, so maybe the food served was even good. Anyway, we were served our lunches and my husband had ordered a selection that was (supposedly) authentic Indian cuisine. He began to eat his salad and the next thing I knew he was grabbing bread, water, whatever he could from his tray and mine, shoving stuff into his mouth, and all I could see was that his face seemed to be beet red and his eyes were shut tightly and he seemed to be in some kind of pain. When he was finally able to speak he told me that he'd taken a bite of something he thought was a green bean, and suddenly his whole body seemed to be on fire. When the flight attendant came by, he showed her the part of the "bean" that was still left on his plate and asked her what it was that he had chomped on. She looked at him with this incredulous look as if to say, "how could you be so stupid?" and told him it was a hot pepper that was on the plate as a garnish, but certainly not meant to be eaten. To this day we don't know what that pepper was, or why it was on the plate if it was not meant to be consumed, but those moments of chile-induced pain live on in both our memories.

                                                                                                                                  1. A couple of years ago we went to Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Rumor is that they "invented" Buffalo chicken wings. We enjoy spicy dishes so we ordered the extremely spicy "Nuclear" wings. I never had a dish that was too hot for me to eat but this was it. We left most of the wings on the table.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                      A place in Scarsdale, NY named the Candlelight Inn is famous for wings. Years ago they had mild, hot, very hot, chernobyl and chernobyl II. They have long since done away with Chernobyl 2 and added Teriyaki, Hot Teriyaki and BBQ, but the chernobyl II were no joke. I remember a friend and I got a dozen each and the only real way to handle the heat (they had not flavor at all, just heat) was to keep eating. Once you stopped the pain set in. I did a dozen, but figured the flavor was lacking, so why ever attempt it again. from what I heard, nobody ever ordered them, so they stopped putting them on the menu

                                                                                                                                    2. I had recently opened a take-out joint in the early 90s in a small town. A souped-up hot rod pulls up and 3 guys get out. They're a few years older than me, the playboy type, and are well known around town.
                                                                                                                                      They strut to the order window (jean jackets with collars turned up) and order 20 wings;
                                                                                                                                      "The hottest you got"
                                                                                                                                      "yeah, the hotter the better"
                                                                                                                                      "put *gas* on it if you have to"
                                                                                                                                      they joked with the window girl. She turned to explain, grinning 'cause she knew, but by the fryers, I had heard everything.
                                                                                                                                      So I fixed them up with our ground habanero, under-the-table suicide sauce. Served them myself, placing the take-out box on the counter.
                                                                                                                                      "here you go, boys..."
                                                                                                                                      The entire staff of 3 crowded the window, waiting for the show.
                                                                                                                                      We watched as they opened the box, took a wing each and started eating.
                                                                                                                                      "Not that bad"
                                                                                                                                      "yeah, we asked for H-O-T"
                                                                                                                                      "This the hottest you got?"
                                                                                                                                      Ahhh, the sweet hell of habanero likes to wait a moment before striking....
                                                                                                                                      Suddenly these guys were spitting into the bushes, coughing, turning red, sputtering - it was practically a scene out of bugs bunny!
                                                                                                                                      They begged for 3 bottles of water.
                                                                                                                                      The leader grabbed the box of 17 wings off the counter, threw it into the trash, turned to us and choked out "what're you nuts?, trying to sell this? this is crazy"
                                                                                                                                      As they stomped to the car, I asked "Did you want *gas* on it?"
                                                                                                                                      They peeled out and roared off.

                                                                                                                                      20 years later I still occasionally run into these guys. If theres company around, I like to tell the story. Mellowed now, they sheepishly grin and say "yeah, that was crazy hot..."

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                        Funny....I worked once with a African gentleman who found out some how that I grew up in the Islands and liked hot foods so he brings me some of his special hot stuff which I believe was basically Peri peri sauce.Tasty but hardly the hottest I've had. The next day I brought to work a small bottle of my mother sauce, which I don't even eat without diluting with vinegar and mustard first as a lark. He claimed it smelled good and proceeded to disregard my warnings and ate a teaspoon full....like your hot rod friends, scotch bonnets takes a little time to build and within a minute he was scrambling for anything to drink and turning noticeably redder and sweating.....I still send him a bottle every once and awhile but make sure to dilute it first.

                                                                                                                                      2. This isn't a fond memeory but it's recent. At work we have a nice community garden, and I joined the garden committee. Last fall we were touring the garden and I asked the grounds supervisor what the cherry-pepper plant was. He said it was a Cherry Bomb, so I picke done and took a little bite out of the bottom end. I might as well have opened my mouth and poked a burning propane torch in it. I have a very high tolerance for heat, but this damn pepper nearly killed me. No fooling, my lips and tongue burned for a good three hours afterward. Pissed me off. So I got a little plot in the garden this year, and was looking at some of the volunteer seedlings coming up from last year, and asked Brad what was growing there last year, damned if he didn't say it was where the Cherry Bomb was growing. I'll have to kill it off before it ruins my serranos.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                          A few months ago I was making a dried chilei-red wine infusion, basically by soaking dried red chiles in wine, then simmering the whole mixture in a shallow pan for several minutes. I wanted to see how it was coming along, so I had the brilliant idea of sniffing it while it cooked.
                                                                                                                                          My face felt like it was burning from the inside out, and I ran to the bathroom unable to open my eyes from the pain! All facial orifices tingled and burned for a good half-hour after that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ragtime_6

                                                                                                                                            The ways of the capsicum are mysterious and malefic.

                                                                                                                                        2. not exactly the type of story you are referring to, but...

                                                                                                                                          My grandpop used to grow REALLY hot Italian frying peppers

                                                                                                                                          One Sunday afternoon, went to Grandmom and Grandpop's house for dinner and Grandmom was frying peppers (I was about 6 years old) she kissed me on the lips and immediately, MY lips were on fire. I was crying while her and my Grandpop were shoving bread in my face

                                                                                                                                          She had just tasted one of the peppers she was frying and it was so hot, that the residual oil on her lips burned mine!

                                                                                                                                          My first intentional taste of "really" hot peppers, I actually got the hiccups the food was so hot
                                                                                                                                          we were at an Italian Restaurant and they had the fried hots on the table, I reached over and laid one on a piece of bread, took a bite and almost immediately started with the hiccups that lasted about 20 minutes!

                                                                                                                                          (I have a much higher tolerance for hot foods now)

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                            Wow. Awesome story, the first anecdote. Almost verges on food porn.

                                                                                                                                            I do love those hot italian frying peppers. My fav farmer at local FM sells them; I keep meaning to save some seeds but always forget once I have them in hand.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                              totally o/t and I apologize, but my grandfather used to cultivate his peppers every year, picking the hottest plants each year, and then starting them from seed every spring
                                                                                                                                              he always had more seedlings than he could plant and he'd trade them to his friends. Those seedlings were coveted amongst those old Italian men every year so the trades ranged anywhere from jugs of wine, pastries, home made salumi and once a live chicken

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                What are these I-talyun frying peppers? Surely not pepperoncini?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                  If you scroll down to the "Calabria" on this page it is a similar pepper to that

                                                                                                                                                  this lists as a medium heat, the ones he grew weren't very big, but they had a nice thickness to the meat and BOY they were hot!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                    Pretty pepper. Looks somewhat like a New Mexico chile, although darker.

                                                                                                                                                    And that's one heck of a website! I predict I will waste much time there in the future. :)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                      You can grind these peppers and mix with olive oil.
                                                                                                                                                      Heavenly on just about anything, not to mention bread and pizza.

                                                                                                                                            2. I made the mistake of trying some nuclear wings that were then dolloped with Dave's Insanity Sauce. Ugh. too hot. my mouth tasted like I ate vicks once the burning wore off. Luckily the bar I was at had some milk to help cool the burn.

                                                                                                                                              Lately been eating a lot at Peter Chang's which has certainly increased my hot quotient!

                                                                                                                                              1. Several years ago, long before ghost chiles were a household name I asked a friend from that area of the world if he could score me some. A year later I saw him and he gave me a bag of dried chiles 1 I had completely forgotten why I had wanted them.

                                                                                                                                                A few weeks later I made a curry stew and threw a handful of them in. I'm a veteran of many a very hot thing but that was the single hottest thing I'd ever put in my mouth. The next day we cut it on a 1/1 ratio with coconut milk and it was still hard to deal with

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                  I had a bounty harvest of ghosts last year, but when I gave 'em away--both fresh & dried--I added a note about their heat, open a window when cooking, wear gloves, and caution around young children. Was afraid someone could come back with a lawsuit!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                    "I had a bounty harvest of ghosts last year, but when I gave 'em away"

                                                                                                                                                    So you gave up the ghosts, eh?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                      well, that gave me a "wait, what?!" moment...

                                                                                                                                                  2. Tip: apples, pears, grapes, bananas & blueberries seem to reduce the burning. (If you don’t want to go the dairy route.)

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Spice_zing

                                                                                                                                                      Fruit is indeed a good way to put out the fire. Sugars neutralize the heat of capsaicin. It is the fundamental concept behind Scoville's method for determining the potency of a pepper. That is, in part, why the dairy products work, as well as why Coke is better than beer (though significantly less enjoyable). I once simply gave a child a sugar packet to pour onto her tongue after she cautiously sampled a too spicy pepper.

                                                                                                                                                    2. As I read this thread I am sitting here chomping on Candied Ginger from Trader Joe's. (It's in the dried fruit and nuts department, $1.49 for an 8-oz bag, a steal.)

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                        A few years back went to a new Desi/Chinese restaurant. Since it was new, you could BYO...so we brought a six pack of Cornona's...the appy' and soup were so hot my friened and I sent the waiter out for another six pack...fortunately they had some icecream on hand for us at the end of the meal....we never got to the main course

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                          were you using the candied ginger to cool a chili burn? i'd never heard that ginger would do that... or is the sugar on the candey, as MGZ mentions?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                            Just managed to score a bottle of Ebesse Zozo hot sauce-made here in British Columbia by a Togolese immigrant not easy to find.

                                                                                                                                                            Very reminiscent of sauces found in rural kitchens throughout the Caribbean with it's layers of complexity no matter what the ingredients to hand.


                                                                                                                                                            And just to help celebrate also picked up a mass produced bottle of Jamaican style yellow sauce-slow/steady & deadly!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                              I believe the poster was categorizing the ginger itself as being spicy.

                                                                                                                                                          2. We were a group of Americans studying in Rome. Everybody at the dorm had a hot plate. Frequent late night meals were spaghetti with aglio, olio and pepperoncino. This dish was so popular because you can store all the ingredients at room temperature. No refrigeration needed.

                                                                                                                                                            I think most of you are familiar with aglio olio, but it's the pepperoncino (hot pepper flakes) that MAKE the dish. So the Italians made it for us, possibly throwing in more pepperoncino just to test us. :o) We ate it with gusto, tears streaming down our eyes and noses sniffling. We loved it. Ah, memories.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                              (the ingredients also fit a student budget pretty well!)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, do I LOVE Aglio Olio!!! It's one of my favorite "go to" dishes, since I always have the ingredients on hand. Hubby doesn't like it as spicy as I do, so I make it hot-spicy in general, & then add my own additional crushed red pepper flakes at the table.