October 07, 2016

A milestone

For the first time in my life, I have added hot sauce to my food.

In our family growing up, food was hot if it just came from the stove or oven. We didn't use any kind of thing that made food the other kind of hot. So it wasn't until I was out of college and started experimenting with kinds of food I had never eaten in my life (such as Mexican) that I started experimenting with chemical hotness. But I've always been a lightweight.

It's possible to build up a tolerance to the chemicals that do that to your tongue. I worked with a guy originally from Korea, and his mother spiced everything up to the ceiling, and as a result his tolerance for hot food was legendary. When we'd go out to lunch at an Indian place, the waiter would ask "How hot do you want it, 1-10?" and he'd say "20". And they'd make it, and he'd eat it, with no sign of distress. I never had the nerve to try to taste it because I knew I'd be in pain the entire rest of the day.

Over time I have built up the slightest bit of tolerance, I tell myself, to the point where I really do like a bit of pepper in my Mexican food. Which brings us up to today.

I make taco meat a pound at a time. I put it in ice cube trays and freeze it, then transfer the hard cubes into a freezer bag. When I want to make something with taco meat (for instance, a quesadilla) I put a few cubes into a micro-wave safe bowl and nuke them.

The taco sauce I've been using is really tasty but it's labelled "Mild" which means "safe for Anglo Methodists". Today I put 12 dashes of Tobasco sauce in with the rest. I did it in stages; 4 dashes, stir and taste it, then another 4, and I probably could have stood another 4 or 8 beyond what I did.

12 dashes isn't really a lot; the batch turned out to be 23 cubes of meat.

But it really tasted good, and I could feel the heat, just a bit. It's in the ice cube trays freezing now, and I might have it for dinner tomorrow. If this is a success I'll try using even more next time.

UPDATE: And I decided to have that meat for dinner tonight. And it tasted great. It wasn't outrageously hot, especially since I ate it covered in melted cheese.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 03:40 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 428 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Tabasco is lovely, isn't it? Great flavor and just a touch of heat.

Never thought of using ice cube trays like that, though. Going to have to try that...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at October 07, 2016 08:41 PM (/lg1c)

2 "How hot do you want it, 1-10?" and he'd say "20".

That's Ph.Duck right there.  He was born in India to a pair of missionaries, grew up there for the most part, still goes back every couple of years.  One time, he made and authentic Indian dish for Momzerduck and myself, the way he eats it over there.

Mind you, at the time I loved spicy food, and Momzerduck knew her way around good Tex-Mex.  Ph.Duck served it up, and he dug in with gusto.  I was somewhat more circumspect, as my nosehairs had shriveled when I sniffed it, but still had a good mouthful.  Momzerduck had a smaller amount.

After our eyes stopped watering and we could breathe again, I ordered us a pizza.  But for those five minutes, the Sweet Meteor O'Death would have been a blessing.

Never again.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 07, 2016 08:50 PM (vZvpB)

3 (My wife's family comes from Szechuan, so I've had to learn about this.)

There's a spice that smells like star anise but actually numbs your tongue.  There's a chicken dish that is pretty much 30% fried chicken chunks that were coated in something that contains szechuan peppercorns and 70% red chili peppers.

Szechuan people eat all of the dish.

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at October 07, 2016 08:59 PM (w0U7L)

4 Sichuan pepper oil.  Made that mistake once.  Dish came out great.  Then things started to get weird.  Then my entire face went numb.  Then I looked up details on the "pepper".
I laughed as I could.  It's hard to laugh when your tongue & face are numb.

Posted by: sqa at October 08, 2016 10:08 AM (vgdzt)

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