You know that lady in Chocolat? She’s a wuss.

There’s a point in the movie Chocolat where Juliette Binoche’s character tells us she puts a pinch of cayenne pepper in the pot of hot cocoa.

Bah. I just added three drops of Blair’s Sudden Death Sauce to 6 ounces of hot cocoa. Drink THAT with your gypsy buddies, Vianne!

Someone posted a link to me describing research in which theobromine (the it’s-not-caffeine-but-it’s-similar ingredient in cocoa) was tested successfully as a cough suppressant. In order to make patients cough in the first place they had them inhale capsicum/capseicin. The message to me was “hey Howard, look! Two of your favorite ingredients in the same place!” Well, now I’ve GOT them in the same place. Two great tastes that OW IT BURNS OW OW OW!


24 thoughts on “You know that lady in Chocolat? She’s a wuss.”

  1. I actually did just laugh out loud when I got to the OW IT BURNS OW OW OW. 🙂 Nice. Definitely an upper after the SETI downer. You know how to keeo them coming. 😉

    I actually just read a book of short stories by David Brin, including various far fetched and possibly less far fetched ideas regarding why “out there” is so quiet, for all its vastness and unpredictability. Signal encryption was not one of the ideas, though that is painfully plausible. On the other hand, one would think at least some significant percentage of societies intelligent enough to encode their transmissions would also be interested in sending out “plaintext” signals ala voyager (or whatnot).

    1. Given the lack of results so far, I actually find Howards SETI post more of an upper than a downer.

      It’s a downer if you just want SETI to work, true.

      It’s an upper if the lack of results was making you think we’re alone in the universe – it’s another explanation rather than just “We’re alone”.

  2. I’m sure you know this, but v. hot peppers and chocolate have a long history together 🙂 So you’re just a traditionalist at heart 😉

      1. Re: A long history, yes.

        I suspect those lie along the road after the bloody sacrifices, myself. 😀

        “Hey, Xochlub, pass me the crushed habaneros we distilled, willya? Swinging that knife all night sure makes one thirsty for more cocoa.”

        1. Re: A long history, yes.

          “I’ve got an idea, Uxltchotu! Make her drink some of Xochlub’s cocoa, first. Then she’ll BEG us to cut out her heart with an obsidian knife, and the gods will think we actually got a volunteer this time.”

          1. Re: A long history, yes.

            “Eh, Uxltchotu, Chicomecoatl never cared whether they volunteered or not. She just doesn’t want them too spicy, if you know what I mean. Xochlub, just pass the habaneros, willya? You aren’t fooling me with that look.”

  3. I think you substituted your Nesquick thing for a capsicine addiction. Which is no surprise, since capsicine really can give you a “rush”.

    Beware of ulcers, tho.


    1. To my knowledge, the ulcer danger lies not with the capsicum/capsaicin itself, but with the pain-gated stomach being fed highly acidic foods. See, if your stomach has been taught through repeated torture not to pester you with these burning sensations, you’re that much more likely to eat too much heartburn food.

      Mixing highly acidic foods with capsicum is where you run into trouble, and salsa, chili, and curry dishes fall into that category (or so I’ve been led to understand.)

      My preference is a mixture of capsaicin with sugar — really spicy/sweet barbecue sauce, God Emperor Tso’s chicken, and now some spiced hot chocolate.


  4. Chocolate chili ice cream

    If you’re ever up in Vancouver BC, I’ll have to treat you to some chocolate chili ice cream from La Casa Gelato. I’d send you a tub but I suspect it’d melt en route. 😉

    It’s great stuff – the taste of silky smooth chocolate, then you swallow and your throat goes up in flames. 🙂

    He makes truly amazing stuff. From the standards (rum raisin to die for) to the exotic (garlic, kimchee, corn, etc), it all tastes PERFECT and is delicious – if you like that flavor of course. 🙂 It is a bit odd sometimes, having (for example) bannanna fudge, and it tastes wrong, because we’re all used to the terrible artificial bannanna flavour, while his tastes like real ones.

    1. Re: Chocolate chili ice cream

      And if you ever get down to Melbourne (Australia, that is), there’s an ice cream shop (whose name I can’t remember) that does the same. It’s in the Southgate shopping area, anyway – very close to the city centre, and easy to find.

  5. You all are crazy, hot cocoa needs nothing to enhance it, chocolate in and of itself is the greatest single food ever, why defile it with something like that?

    1. Because sometimes you have to tear the tastebuds open to get the full effect of the chocolate. Besides, unless you’re adding chili peppers to it instead of sugar, milk, and marshmallows, you’re defiling the spirit of the original drink. 😉

      It’s like saying that French Fries are the ultimate in French food… 😀

      1. Chili peppers and vanilla bean, actually. I think corn meal was also added for body (and buffering); because otherwise it’s a pretty thin drink.

        1. The hot cocoa you’re drinking is about as close to the original as French fries are to French food – if you drink hot cocoa, the stuff you’re drinking is an English refinement of the Spanish reinvention of the original Mayan and Aztec drink. The Spaniards were the first to sweeten the cocoa, and then the English added milk to it in the early 1700s to make it an after-dinner drink. Then the Dutch invented cocoa powder, which was a lot easier to work with than the original cocoa beans, and a lot easier to mix into drinks. THIS is what you’re drinking – a Dutch reworking of an English modification of a Spanish drink, based on the original Central and South American one.

          It resembles the original only in the fact it comes from cocoa beans and drunk, in the same way French fries with cheese resemble a potato gratin – they’re both potato dishes with cheese and come from potatoes, but the preparation method and ingredients are otherwise completely different, so they’re not the same dish or recognizably of the same origin outside of the fact they’re served hot and on plates. And if you’re drinking hot CHOCOLATE instead of hot cocoa… well, cousin of a cousin. 😀

          1. It should be noted the Aztecs and the Spanish, along with the English, used to drink GROUND cocoa beans in their hot cocoa. The cocoa powder you buy in the store is pressed and processed cocoa, which is missing all the cocoa butter which ends up in chocolate and gave it the original rich flavor… but also made it slightly bitter and acidic, and difficult to mix into drinks.

            Hot chocolate, which is made from chocolate (which had cocoa butter retained, but sugars and other things added) is a cousin of a cousin, but at least it’s a tasty relative. 😀

  6. You know, putting something into Hot Chocolate that has a BIG Yellow warning notice declaring “This sauce contains the hottest ingredients known to man” is just not right!

    I’m not sure WHY, it just isn’t. AND it’s a waste of good Chocolate, which is something that should be felony or at least a misdemeanour punishable by attending “Chocolate School”.

  7. Howard, I know you don’t partake of the Deomon Liquor, but a local winery (local to me, that is) does a white wine with peppers. I’m not sure what he actualy uses, I think wussy little jalepenos.
    Maybe you should try white grape juice or sparkling grape juice spiked up with peppers.
    Mmm, OW!

  8. At Linucon, Eric wanted me to make hot chocolate ice cream. Capsasin in chocolate. We never did quite get around to it, but next year we hope to be more organized.


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