Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Stupid hot

Say hello to the Fatalii pepper, Latin name: capsicum chinense. 

The Fatalii is a relative of the famed habanero pepper and according to Wikipedia (where I've recently lost my editing privileges for desecrating several low level Michigan GOP officials for their compliance in the Trump election stealing scheme) the pepper originated in the Americas but was brought to Africa a long time ago.

One can only speculate that white traders brought these indigenous plants in order to barter.

"Give me 10 human beings and I'll give you this magic plant that makes food spicy."

Fuck that long dead scalawag of the seas.

Back to the pepper, which you can tell from the picture above is growing in my garden. A raised bed garden that produced very little in the way of tomatoes, cucumbers and tomatillos this year and hardly recouped my $150 investment. How very 2020.

When the overgrown but barren tomato plants were cleared out, the remaining pepper plants started taking off. Judging from the strength of their fruit, I believe these peppers are impervious to the elements. Soon I will have two dozen of these nuclear-powered mouthbombs.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to eat them. They are that Hot. Or as Wikipedia says: 

"...they have a fruity, citrus flavor with a searing heat."

I take that as the understatement of the year. 

Keep in mind, I have an iron gut. As my occasional Chinese food eating compatriots, John Shirley or Jean Robaire, will tell you, I will casually pop those tiny red peppers that give Kung Pao Chicken its Pao as if they were bar nuts.

My taste for extremely hot peppers was forged in the kitchen of the very first restaurant I managed shortly after my arrival in Southern California. The head chef, Fernando, wanted to introduce me to authentic Mexican food. Not the tacos, enchiladas and burritos made famous by cheap American chains, but real Mexican food, like the kind eaten by ranchers and farmhands in the state of Coahuila.

He sat me down to a plate of humongous beef ribs, a bowl of slow cooked pinto beans, a mini-baguette of Mexican sourdough bread (that we baked on the premises) and a handful of jalapeño peppers. Then Fernando demonstrated how this utensil-free food was eaten. A bite off the rib, bread dipped in the soupy beans followed by a nibble of the crunchy jalapeño pepper.

Under the watchful eyes of Fernando, Paco, Abel and Guillermo, the dishwasher, I cautiously imitated the ritual. Then quickly made a dash for the sink to put out the fire in my mouth. There was much laughter.

"Pinche jeffe gordo no es muy fuerte."

That would be the last time I would be mocked over my inability to handle hot foods. In no time I had built up a tolerance for jalapeños. Then graduated to the Serrano, slowly working my way past the tiny Thai chiles, the tabiche and the Scotch Bonnet.

The Fatalii is aptly named. And I take issue with the folks at Scoville that have it ranked below the habanero. I have eaten habaneros, whole, and this my friend is no habanero.

I have another week to go before the pepper in the picture is fully ripened. And chances are I'll probably sear up some beef ribs and boil some beans and give this mother another shot. Only to suffer wildly. 

Both before. And after. If you catch my drift.


Because, as my wife will tell you, I'm stupid that way.

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