Hot Pepper

“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.”

No.

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:

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