Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Retirement - Peck of Peppers

Not up to par today, but doing OK

Look before you leap.

Scotch-bonnet.jpgI have always loved hot, spicy food.  Instead of "have", I should say "had".  Over the years, when dining out, I always chose the menu items that had a one or two peppers listed beside them.  Trips to the hospital after eating some of these meals convinced me that my stomach was no longer cast iron, so I have amended my diet.  It was hard to give up, as I like food that has taste and is not boring.  However, time has marched on and what I could once easily consume, can now spell terminal heartburn.

My son always plants hot peppers.  Those little suckers grow like no other veggie, and each produce a very heavy crop of torture.  He is always so proud of his garden, but especially his chilies.  On Saturday, during our family and friends outing to a Wine Festival, Andy brought along his prized crop for people to taste.  A couple of people who have come along with us to this event before, volunteered to try them.  We also had a newbie and he, showing no hesitancy, opted to take the chance.  I have to say, he did very well, and seemed no worse for the effort.  Not sure he was putting on a brave face, and wonder how he felt a little later.  Nothing like meeting new people and then being given a pepper bomb.  Boy, we sure know how to welcome people.

Bowl of pasta with peppersOn Monday, I had family over for a Labor Day celebration.  One of my menu items was small, sweet stuffed peppers.  I had bought them from a container that I thought were labeled "mild".  That morning I made my Italian sausage stuffing and started to clean and prepare the peppers.  I cut the tops off and felt a tickle in my throat.  The more I cut and cleaned, the worse my cough became.  I did not think much of it in the beginning, as I have been having a cough from my allergies and thought this was the cause of my distress.  By pepper #5, I realized I had a problem.  I checked on-line and saw that sweet peppers were mostly light green or yellow, and most of the hot ones were red, like I had. My hands started tingling and then got warm, followed by burning pain.  I washed and washed them in cold water, applied ice, put my hands in milk, all good antidotes, but they only relieved the pain for a few minutes.  My daughter came over a few hours later and suggested a baking soda paste and that seemed to work the best.  However, by this time, my chest hurt and I was not feeling too well.  It is two days later and I still cannot completely bend my hand into a fist and my throat is still sore.  It is getting better though.  It was determined that what I was preparing for my family was not a mild, tasty treat, but rather, depending upon which expert in my family you want to believe, was a Scotch bonnet or habanero, both quite potent.  My days of cooking "gourmet food recipes" is now over.  I may be back to Pablum and white rice.   


  1. Wow..that was quite a reaction. How lucky for you that during the work with the peppers you didn't raise a hand to your eyes. Take care and stay clear of peppers for a while. Oh...and I read somewhere that plunging the affected area into a bag of flour helps. ??? .

  2. Hello Arleen:
    A cautionary tale indeed....not that we need any advice about steering clear of the kitchen!!

    We are pleased to hear that you are on the mend but the whole situation sounds most alarming to us. And, if this is what happens to your hands, it does not bear thinking about how it would affect the stomach!!!

    Stick to just opening a bottle of wine in future...we can recommend it!!

  3. Hi Delores, I will stick to what I know now. Never mess with anything red again, unless it is a tomato.

    Hi Jane and Lance,

    Your suggestion is perfect!


  4. That reaction sounded pretty awful. Glad you're feeling a bit better. Raw peppers tend to give me chronic indigestion, though it's usually OK when they're cooked. Like Jane says - the wine seems a much better option.

  5. Oh, bless your heart. Good thing you don't wear contact lenses.

  6. Man, I am soooo with you! I once ate those things like candy, but now I take Prevacid.

    A hint for the burning hands: use hemorrhoid cream or gel, it will take the sting out. Yes. I tried everything, before doing this. Next time, wear surgical gloves, and wear eye covers.

    What a fun blog!

  7. So sorry to hear about this! My mother has Crohn's Disease and has to be very careful all the time about what she eats and there are so many things she misses. I hate it for you and I'm sorry you miss your peppers!

  8. Thanks everyone for your kind words. I never ate the peppers, I just handled and inhaled them. Those were very powerful chillies and I hate to think of what would have happened if I or any of my guests had put them in their mouth.

  9. The picture does look like a scotch bonnet. It is suppose to be the hottest pepper around. I am so sorry. I am so glad you are feeling better. I love hot pepper but would not every try one. Bonnie

  10. Oh no! I hope you keep feeling better. I can't eat hot stuff either. Hang in there!

  11. Thanks for the warning, sound terrible! I love hot food too, but sometimes it can be so hot that you can't even taste the actual food. My friend's mom always made wonderful Mexican food, but one summer she bought a crop of habeneros and put it in all the sauces. Every burrito we ate was pure fire and pain. But we kept eating! Haha.

    My favorite is chipotle They're spicy, but with a nice flavor.