Friday, October 7, 2011

hot stuff

Some of you may remember that Marc does the cooking around here. Well, he does the dinner cooking and often provides lunch as well.

Since he's usually had a couple of drinks before he gets started in the kitchen (we eat dinner late), sometimes dinner is, well, unusual. But I always eat what is presented and always say thank you because I am thankful.

And he's become a pretty decent cook.

Fast forward to last night. I was working late filling a mold when he came through and out the back door, flashlight in hand.

Directly he comes back in again with a handful of small jalapenos.

We've been enjoying the peppers off our two plants all summer. He stuffs them with cheese, wrapped with bacon and grilled (or broiled) and they have been really good. Lately though, we haven't been getting much from the garden. The only things left is the okra, bell pepper and jalapeno peppers. As the drought deepened, the fruit has been slow to grow and is not getting half the size of what we got earlier in the summer. Well, except for the okra. It would grow three inches overnight.

When he called me for dinner, he had fixed a pizza with pepperoni, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and jalapenos.

Here's a thing you probably don't know about me. I have a sensitive spot in my throat that when something stimulates it it sends me into a paroxysm of coughing and eye watering followed by sneezing and my vocal chords seizing up so I can't talk to reassure people that I am, in fact, not choking for all the world that that's what it looks like is happening and I'm OK followed by more coughing until it finally eases up and goes away.

This is not to be confused with the times when I actually am choking from having aspirated whatever I'm drinking or in some cases the syrup certain candies make when you eat them (weird, I know, that candy wants to get in my lungs) or the time I was just dreaming I was eating candy and my mouth started watering and I aspirated my saliva. Let me tell you, that wakes you up in a heart beat. Things got a little woozy and Marc had to give me the Heimlich.

I think these two things are related in some weird way. Maybe I was hanged in a previous life or was a glutton that finally choked to death. I am a Taurus and I read somewhere that the throat is the body part assigned to that sign. And all my stuff seems to happen in the throat. In addition to the whole choking/not choking thing I have had to have my tonsils removed and my thyroid is cranky about working too hard.

Generally, jalapenos (or really any kind of pepper but hey, oatmeal has done it too) will stimulate this reaction. And usually, once I make it through the seizure, I can eat whatever set it off with impunity.

So last night when I saw the jalapenos on the pizza I didn't really give it a second thought. I'd been eating them all summer and they had only set me off once or twice. And they were small, maybe only as big around as my little finger. I did notice that he had not seeded them. I usually avoid eating the seeds but I shrugged it off.

I'm sitting down with my plate and he's pointing out to me the jalapenos...easy to see and pick out, he says.

Yeah, yeah, I say. I'm not worried.

Famous last words.

About a third of the way through my piece of pizza, I felt that tell-tale little tickle or scratch and knew what was coming. I always know when it's coming and there is no way to stifle it like you can sometimes with a sneeze. Marc shoots me the 'I told you so' look and keeps eating.

So, calmed down I continued to eat thinking I'm good to go now.

About two thirds of the way through my piece of pizza, I thought I was going to die.

I chewed and swallowed the hottest piece of pepper I have ever eaten in my life. My head exploded, coughing, gasping, rivers flowing from my eyes as it continued to get worse. Burning, oh man, burning. I have my head in my hands, wheezing, when he asks me if I'm OK.

NO. I am not 'ok'.

We don't keep milk in the house so I got up and got some salt out of the kitchen and dissolved that in my mouth. A little tea and I felt like I was going to live.

Oh, man. That was seriously painful.

I went and got my second piece of pizza and carefully picked off all the jalapenos.


  1. Yikes! I like the flavor of jalepenos, but I tend to eat one & then pick the rest off - that's enough for me.

    Mmm - but I think I might want pizza for dinner now :)

  2. You aren't kidding aspirating your saliva in you sleep will wake you up and fast. It scares me to death [doesn't do a whole lot for Pooldad either.] Sometimes I can just be sitting at the table, playing on the computer and do it. You feel like you are never going to breathe again.

    The pizza sounds wonderful, but ixnay on the jalapenos. Poor thing. [And who knew that about salt. Interesting.]

  3. You never know how hot those peppers can be, but I love the flavor.

  4. I got the spittle from a Peppermint Pattie down the wrong tube once. I'd say peppermint syrup in the lungs is pretty bad too.

  5. good lord. you're brave to go for a 2nd piece!

  6. Yikes!! I'm glad you're OK. Breathing is rather important.

  7. Blimey, that sounds painful! I never knew milk was good for a burning throat - or salt, either, come to that - so thanks for the tip, I may well try it, next time I ingest something too hot to handle.

  8. Forgot to mention, yes, our garden harvest is just about through as well (except for the pumpkins and spuds), hubby stripped the apple trees today to take to the apple orphanage (they juice them and give us cartons for a month or so, in return). Winter is a-coming.

  9. Glad it all worked out. I love spicy foods. I'm getting too old to eat them, though.

  10. You continued eating? Crikey!

    Actually, I suffer from something that makes me choke fairly often now, a kind of wrong swallow, where the individual movements of the throat and oesophagus don't harmonise and things get stuck.

    There is a word for it but I'm too lazy to go and look it up.

    Beloved has a permanent sore patch in his throat and he coughs and splutters like you, so all in all, our meals are quite noisy affairs.

  11. Oh GEEZ You poor thing- I can so relate! My sister in law and i decided to harvest jalepenos one summer- We were Ok in the field but when we got home to process them it was as though we had been gassed, as though we would never recover, burning from every spot of us-ness. My brother can eat them like candy!

  12. Oh no!!!!!!!
    I guess you will avoid so much eagerness next time!
    You might talk to a doctor about that,btw. I had similar reaction to milk products, and the doctor gave me a med that cleared it.

  13. Ellen dear, you may want consider altogether eliminating jalapenos from your diet.

    We want to continue to see lots more of your gorgeous work. (And read your always pithy posts.) ;)

  14. Ack that sounds miserable but I understand why you keep on eating the culprit foods. I've heard that the best things to counter the effects of hot foods such as jalapenos is the combination of yogurt and cucumber. You might want to keep those on hand.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.