Many moons ago, I had my first experience with seriously spicy food. It was spicy popcorn at a restaurant called Stallones in my home town of Dunedin. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t very spicy at all, but it sure felt like it was at the time!
Years later, I started making my own cayanne pepper flavoured popcorn and I’ve been hoofing down quite a lot of it lately. It’s an excellent combination of low calories and low carb, but with a nice tasty zing of chilli. The perfect food to chomp down on a regular basis when you don’t want to worry about eating too much junk food.
I thought I had learned my lesson from eating excessively spicy food when I lived in Canada. My flatmate at the time was Gregor McEwan, an über cook who used to dish up all sorts of yummy food from spicy stir fries to remarkably green blueberry muffins. One day he was chopping up a little pepper and commented on how it was quite hot. It was a dinky little orange coloured Scotch Bonnet pepper. I’d eaten “hot” raw peppers 4x as big before as if they were apples, no big deal. So I asked if I could have one to munch on. He looked at me as though I was nuts, and said “no, but I’ll give you this little bit”. It was rather pathetic really, he just cut off a teeny tiny sliver and said “be careful, it’s super hot”. Since it was such a teeny tiny bit, I just laughed and grabbed it with my hand and turfed the whole thing in my mouth … bad move #1. I then spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to remove the burning searing pain from my mouth, then from my face because I touched my face repeatedly with the hand I touched the pepper with. Then 15 minutes later I decided I should pee, and well you can see how that would have ended badly.
Then a few days ago, I figured “damnit, this cayanne pepper shit isn’t cutting the mustard!” and so I did what I always do, and went on Amazon looking for some nice hot chilli powder to dump on my popcorn. But you see, this is German Amazon, and one thing I’ve learned about Germans since living here is that they suck the proverbial fat one when it comes to handling anything but the mildest of spiciness. I almost thought I was going to have to call an ambulance for a few of them when they said “is this spicy” and I said “not really” and then they proceeded to run around pointing at their face, crying and saying they couldn’t speak after having a tiny bit. So when the Amazon Deutschland ad said “warning, super hot!” I just figured “meh, German chilli, whatever!” …. bad move #2.
I just finished a 30 minute session of sitting by the cold tap and rinsing my lips/mouth with it every few seconds. No milk, cold water, beer or anything else could save me from the burning sensation of eating popcorn laced with the chilli powder sent directly from the depths of hell. Seriously, this shit is nuts. My face still feels like it’s on fire, albeit I’m not feeling the burning need to keep it submerged in water now. Thankfully I learned one lesson from Gregors Scotch Bonnet pepper, as I knew not to touch my face and most certainly not my dick or balls! Seriously, some places aren’t supposed to be burned with chilli! Well actually nowhere should be burned with chilli, but some places are WAYYY worse than others. Trust me, I know.
The picture below is of the devil popcorn. I ate four kernels. The rest is sitting there tormenting in it’s plastic container. I only put a tiny bit in there. No more than some powder on the tip of a knife. I was intending to start with a tiny bit, and ramp it up from there. The tiny bit was too much. Ryan has been beaten by the chilli once again. Don’t try this at home 😉
EDIT: So after posting this, it’s started to make a little sense. It turns out the chilli powder I bought has 500,000 Scoville units (Scoville units are what is used to determine how hot a chilli is)! That’s basically enough to burn your freakin’ innards out! For comparison, the current world record holding raw chilli is 2.4 million Scoville units. This definitely explains why my lips felt like they were on fire.