“Are you hungry?” He asked.
“I brought my own lunch today.” I replied.
Little did I know, turning down that offer would lead to one of the most overwhelming culinary experiences of my life.
My friends refer to me as a “supertaster.” This term refers to people who like to pretend to have an over-sensitive pallet preventing them from eating spicy or overly flavourful foods. What it comes down to is that my Dad was a “meat n’ potatoes” kinda guy and I adopted those qualities, not venturing beyond “Chinese” as ethnic food until I moved out of my parents place to go to university. Even then, the first year I was there, I tried pho and sushi.
“Meh.” I thought.
Upon moving to France, I was forced to change my eating habits, because food options were different there and I lived with many people with varying appreciations for different types of food.
“Let’s go to the Carpe Diem!” I would say.
“Brie, we’ve been there twice this week already. We’re going somewhere else!”
And that’s how I discovered Moroccan food. (That, and I went to Morocco.)
Back in Ottawa, I discovered an Indian restaurant down the street, which I frequented often and miss dearly.
Despite having traveled around Israel, I didn’t get into shawarma until moving to Toronto, just a few months ago.
But today’s adventure is about Thai.
I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory. So naturally, when my boyfriend asked me what I wanted for dinner last night, the thought of take-out thai food was at the tip of my brain. He said he knew a place. I ordered a cashew chicken meal (having tried a similar dish at other Thai restaurants in the past.)
It was delicious. Hands down, best Thai food I’ve ever had. (Not that that says much, I’m still very much a beginner.) It was just spicy enough. A little more spicy than pre-France Brie could have handled, but Mmm mmm mmm it was tasty.
And what else? Leftovers? Somebody up there likes me! Or does He?
I brought the leftovers to school today and decided, despite having been asked to go out for lunch, to stick to my leftovers and to stay on campus. I microwaved the dish and got pop as a drink.
“Mmm. This is tasty!” I said to myself. “I wonder what this black thing is? It must just be a burnt onion or something.”
It was not.
What happened next is somewhat of a blur. All I remember is thinking: “Crunch! HOLY SHIT that’s not an onion! Do I… do I eat it? Do I spit it out?”
Quick scan for a napkin.
No napkins in sight.
“Bite the bullet Brie.”
I bit one more time and swallowed, knowing any more chewing would only result in further pain.
I tried to continue eating my meal, but CRIPES was that spicy. The pop wasn’t helping. My eyes began to water. I got up and went for a drink of water out of the fountain and headed directly for the washroom because my nose was running. I wondered if I would make it. I was feeling faint. Suddenly, the room was spinning and I felt like I was in some alternate universe where I could see myself suffering the pains of that god-forsaken pepper. It reminded me of something out of the Johnny Cash episode of The Simpsons.*
Finally, I snapped out of it. Slowly, I began to regain control of my tear ducts and nasal passages.
My only hope is that the pepper doesn’t entice such a painful reaction on its way out.
Also, watching this scene is different languages has been illarious: