Alrite, alrite. Lesson learned, jalapeno gods. Thou shalt not touch peppers with bare hands. Got it. LOUD AND EFFING CLEAR.
What happened to make me blog-shout at you, you ask? Well. Let me just tell you about my arrogant ignorance and the consequential smackdown the chili pepper gods laid out to teach me just how much power they have. And it was a good one, as I now bow to their infinite wisdom.
Here’s how it all went down: last week, I got a book in the mail. I didn’t buy this book, or chose it, even. I won it during the July blogging contest over at Culinate.com. But anyway, this book, called Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, is awesome. It has recipes for marshmallows, graham crackers, cheese, and assorted (yum) infused vodka and brandy drinks. And also, it has a recipe for hot sauce. Mmmmmmm, hot sauce. Boyfriend and I are both the kind of people who will eat food so hot that it actually causes pain. We use excessive amounts of crushed red pepper flakes on pretty much everything, and favor cuisines like Indian and Spanish, where there’s a lot of heat to be had. So obviously the first recipe I went after was the hot sauce.
Now, I want to give Karen Solomon credit, because she’s a smart woman, and I’m a dumbass, and I did not heed the large-print warning at the top of the recipe about wearing gloves. I cook with jalapenos all the time, my cocky internal voice scoffed smugly, it’s not like I can’t handle the heat for a minute or two. Not an hour later, that internal voice (which I am vowing to never again listen to about anything) was weeping and eating every last one of those words as my fingers, my poor, innocent-bystander fingers, were ablaze with that devil oil that lives inside the peppers.
And here I sit, twenty-four hours later, and my hands are (I kid you not) still tingling. I did not sleep. I soaked my hands in ice-cold milk for so long that they were shriveled beyond recognition. I took Benadryl. I used rubbing alcohol. I used lemons. I pounded a glass of wine that I literally did not even taste because I was in so much pain. Never again, self. Never forget.
A rational human might have read over the recipe in this beautiful book, heeded the warnings therein, and created the same (lime-green, sear-your-face-off) hot sauce that I did. That same person may have even taken the cautionary steps of, oh, I don’t know, seeding the peppers. Or using all jalapenos instead of replacing half with the smallest, most lethal little buggers the farmers market had. Or even, gasp, using bell or poblano peppers just to be safe the first time. But I think I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I am not particularly rational, and that foresight is, well, not always a strong suit. And if you come back to this blog for no other reason, I can promise you that this will not be my last error in judgment, and that, if nothing else, I promise you at least a few more good laughs.
Till then, I leave you with the hot pepper graveyard, and remind you to beware of its vengeance.