Thursday, December 6, 2007

Peperoncini piccanti

Mistakenly operating on the "smaller is spicier" model, I picked up a pack of five of these red guys yesterday for some Asian chicken noodle soup.

Feeling frustrated by my limited culinary options, I testily predicted to myself that they would be pathetically mild. With definite arrogance I thought something like, let us see what the Italians think is spicy!

My pepper chauvinism was short-lived, however: one conservative test-bite in my kitchen a short time later had me running for the sink in that panicked face-first way that one seeks water when trying to eliminate unwelcome food from one's mouth as quickly as possible. Half a liter later I could feel my tongue; a whole liter later I could also breathe normally. For the rest of the evening, my lips and nose skin felt puffy and prickly. I can only begin to imagine how tender fifth grade Eric Sandberg must have felt after eating an entire habanero pepper straight from our math teacher's pepper plant (the humiliation of thereafter emptying your stomach in front of the class aside).

Our dinner survived because of my antecedent suffering, however. I cautiously used a small (10 centimeter) cube of pepper cut into the tiniest bits possible. The resulting soup, though pleasant, was still warm enough to reactivate my burning membranes. I compare it to drinking whiskey.

Despite repeated washings, my hands burned a little even today, serving as a quiet reminder of my hubris throughout Italian class.

If anyone has suggestions on how to use the remaining 4.9 peppers in a non-health-threatening way, please let me know.


Karl Rove said...

I heard your cat likes treats. Why not give them to him?

Swiss Ms. said...

Yeah, Karl, and while I'm at it, why don't I make some pepper dust to sprinkle over the homes of my enemies?

jenicrob said...

"Feed them to unwanted guests
Stuff the mattress with the rest!"
(That's from Bugs Bunny.)

Linda/Mom said...

You could use them as ornaments on your Christmas tree. Or, send them to Uncle Pete and see if he finally meets his match.