|Why cain't I quit you? |
I didn't mean that Baby, come back!
My family likes the burn, myself most of all. When I was diagnosed with gastric reflux I thought I would never enjoy another meal. Luckily it was just my gallbladder, so I'm back eating Louisiana Red and Sriracha, and of course good old Tabasco.
My father used to love spicy foods before boutique hot-sauces and trendy posters and Scoville ratings were cool. Someone gave him a jar of pickled Yugoslavian hot peppers for Xmas as a joke, and as soon as we got home he broke the seal and popped one in his mouth.
A sudden scream from across the house brought us running back to the kitchen. We found him prone, mouth open, eyes wide and streaming. Red faced, straining to survive.
Anyone else would have called an ambulance, but we knew he was enjoying himself immensely.
In the last few years things have changed for him. He can't enjoy the burn any longer, having wrecked his digestion for good on wine and heavy food. He taught me how to enjoy food and drink, and ... not much else. He gave me his best curry recipe, which I modified over the years and posted recently.
He's not going to see May. We don't agree on much, like whether it's acceptable to hit your children, or what respect is. It's possible that we will speak, for the first time in seven years, this week.
I think I hope so.
* * *
My son was conceived as a vegetarian, going so far as to make his mother a vegan while he gestated.
The minute they were divided she ordered a steak. From the delivery room.
Now he eats no meat, except the odd piece of pepperoni pizza or a chicken nugget twice a year.
So no actual meat, anyway. I try to respect that, which means providing a lot of beans, corn, PBJs, cheese, eggs and carbs. He is Heinz' biggest customer.
As an infant he never put things in his mouth to check them out; he didn't see the point of a soother -- no payoff there. But he would taste anything I gave him, lemons, keys, Naugahyde, steel wool.
OK, lemons and broccoli. I would absolutely never have let him near the rest of that.
If there was anybody watching.
Point is that he was trusting, having virtually no working taste buds.
But we would have to watch him while produce shopping so that he didn't eat our fresh jalapenos.
He would munch down two or three big ones in no time and people would do a double-take before watching him smile and steal another one and not cry or detonate. No tummy troubles or flaming diapers.
During one outing he leaned out of the cart and graced me with a big smooch that started on my cheek and smeared over my left eye with a giggle; it burned like phosphorus.
I managed not to upset him.
Hey there, happy boy! Don't touch me! Stop, drop and ROLLLL!!!
Checkout was hell, with one red, streaming eye, and a happy, venomous baby, still cart-diving for remaining peppers.
Today I'm cold, and it is raining, which is typical mid-April, and I have decided to share my recipe for the tastiest, most dangerous sauce I know. I worked it out from the ingredients of a something I can't get locally now, and then I changed it over the years. It's still vaguely Jamaican.
I had to learn canning to make it, since no one, and I mean not even college students, can handle more than a teaspoon mixed into in a large meal. It lasts a long time in the cupboard before you open it, then it lasts a long time in the fridge. I eat it in tiny spoonfuls on my eggs, my wife puts it in casseroles, and it makes a turkey and mayo or avocado sandwich sing.
WARNING: This will tear-gas your kitchen and leave smoking sockets if you get any in your eyes.
Proper ventilation, double-rubber gloves, safety goggles, and you don't wear contact lenses that day.
I am not exaggerating, in fact I can't warn you enough.
This is delicious, but also as dangerous as an acupuncturist with hay-fever.
|You can temper The Sauce down to a reasonable heat using the Earth's core.|
Yellow mustard seed: 2 teaspoonsCoriander seed: 2 teaspoonsCumin seed: 2 teaspoonsTurmeric: 1½ teaspoonsFenugreek: 1 teaspoonCardamon seed: 1 teaspoonSpanish paprika: 1 teaspoonBlack pepper: ¾ teaspoonCloves: ½ teaspoonCinnamon: ½ teaspoon
Cucumber: 1½ cups (seeded & chopped w onion)
White Onion: 1 medium. Fresh only. Chopped with cucumber.
Mangos: 4 med ripe, peeled & pitted
Scotch-bonnet peppers (or red & orange habaneros): 4 heaping cups (before preparing). Seeded and stemmed, halved for processing. See Note!
Fresh garlic: 4 large cloves minced
Bay leaf: 4 large or 5 med (removed before canning)
White Vinegar: 2 ½ cups
Optional: Citric Acid crystals to protect flavour: 1 tsp (or ascorbic acid).
NOTE ABOUT PEPPERS: Clean them carefully and DRY THEM OFF BEFORE cutting!
If you cut them wet, you will die, and your kitchen will be condemned and sealed forever.
Don't get them wet before you put them in the processor.
Don't! You'll wish they were just a bowl full of Gremlins. OK.
Chop cucumber and onion fine. Process spices (except bay leaves) in grinder until powdered.
Chop mango and prepared peppers, and garlic in food processor, add spices and chop together until fine.
Put mango-pepper mix in pot, add bay leaves and begin to heat to boiling.
Chop cucumbers and onions in processor with vinegar. Add to mangoes and stir.
Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until desired thickness is reached (about 20-25 minutes).
Remove Bay leaves.
Can in ½ pint jars – boil jars for 10-15 minutes.
Makes just over 10 (½ pint) jars of orange-yellow rocket fuel.
Good luck, and Happy Trails!