It burns. It burns like Vermilion’s cooking.

If you’re a Nightstar denizen, know that I’m misusing that phrase. Vermi’s cooking burns because it’s very, very tasty, and it’s always served straight out of the boiling pot. This combination of factors results in burnt mouths.

But in my case, it’s this reheated curry I made. It’s HOT!

I think I’ve mastered the process of currying from pre-packaged ingredients. The curry pastes take care of all the tricky seasoning, and I’ve found the right way to prepare the meat and veggies so that the final product tastes just right. And last night’s curry was made at full-strength, mixing the milder masaman paste with the spicier panang paste. In fact, it’s quite a bit stronger than full-strength because I’m low-carbing. I left out the potatos and the rice, and then left out the additional water because if I’m eating it like soup I’d prefer it to be a bit thicker.

My mouth is aflame. Sandra had a tiny taste last night and said “Yum!” I waited the requisite three beats, looked back up at her, and she said “Ow! That’s HOT!” as she ran for some water.

That was a tiny taste. Sandra likes hot salsa, too.

Me, I’ve been shoveling it down by the bowlful. And I’m getting inured to it, because today’s bowl does not have my bald pate spackled with fresh sweat yet.

(Yes, you can tell when I’m eating something I consider “hot enough” because my head will go all sweaty and shiny. No lie.)

Okay, back to the funny mines. These capsicum-induced endorphines should help me dig up the really GOOD jokes, right?


21 thoughts on “It burns. It burns like Vermilion’s cooking.”

  1. I specialize in vindaloo, myself. And I am always sure to keep the milk nearby, as a sort of fire extinguisher.

    (This is the first time I’ve used my “fire” icon to indicate taste rather than annoyance!)

    1. One of the best fire extinguishers possible: a teaspoon of sugar, and a swig of water. Just swish it around, and let it soooooothe.

      Water (or any liquid) can push aside the capsicum that has latched onto your pain receptors, but if your food is hot enough, there is surplus capsicum just waiting to be washed into place. This is why water alone often makes hot food seem hotter.

      Sugar, however, can bond in that same spot, preventing fresh capsicum from lighting you up again when you wash your mouth out.

      Milk works well because lactose and other sugars are present in solution. But concentrated sugar-water works even better, because there’s more sugar.

      Better living through chemistry!

      (Food is “too hot, but not really” when I stamp my foot and squint, and then mix up a little sugar water. And that hasn’t happened for a while.)


      1. actually, most people I know who do REALLY hot food say milk is your best bet – do the same thing as you do with the sugar-water.

        not to say that a heavy sugar/water mixture isn’t greate…but whole milk seems to be just a bit better.

        on another note, I realized I’m approaching a frightening point on my capsaicin journey (capsicums are the berries and plants containing capsaicing, btw…) when I noted that the “super hot cayenne” sauce was “mildly tangy”. my wife refuses to even smell my chili these days.

        1. er…”capsaicin”, not “capsaicing”
          mmmm….capsaicing…sounds like a spicy cake frosting.
          randy? send your brother to the kitchen…

    1. Yeah… some convention or another, maybe next year, maybe the year after that:

      HOWARD TAYLER: “Waiter, we need this stuff hotter. I need you to challenge the chef’s honor, but don’t insult his family.”

      D.C SIMPSON: “No, go ahead and insult his family too. And cancel the milk order. And don’t bring any water to the table until Tayler begs for it.”

      HOWARD: “Oh, and don’t bring any rice, either.”

      D.C.: “No starches or sugars anywhere on the table. Forget the side orders.”

      HOWARD: “Just have the chef come out here and chop the peppers straight into our mouths. We can take it.”

      WAITER: “I’ll make sure I’ve got ‘911’ on speed-dial.”

  2. Sounds yummy. But me, I tell hot by my head itching. Haven’t figured that one out.

    How about doing a spicy food thing at Linucon this year?

    1. It’s simple, really. My head sweats, and there’s no hair up there. Your head probably sweats, too, but because there’s hair, it ends up itchy. It’s the same effect.


  3. Okay, that does it. I’m staying away from your place when you’re cooking. I like a little spice, but when your idea of “hot enough” is when your head sweats……..


  4. Masochism anyone?

    I’m sure you’ll say “you just don’t get it,” but I don’t get it. Why is eating spices that literrally burns away your mucous membranes a good thing? Is is a macho kind of thing or what? It has never made any sense to me. Pain and food just don’t seem like they belong together. For me, hot spices drown out all the other flavors, so all you are left with is BURN.
    Yeah, I just don’t get it.

    1. Re: Masochism anyone?

      1) It’s not acidic. It’s not burning anything.
      2) The pain is literally “all in your head.” it’s just nerves being tricked into THINKING your mouth is on fire.
      3) Over time, eating hot food depletes the neurotransmitter that communicates the hurty part. Thus, over time, it hurts less.
      4) There’s an endorphine release associated with the spicy foods. In short, I do it because it makes me high.


      1. Re: Masochism anyone?

        I’m not sure if that doesn’t make it more scary. It does explain why people get used to it and want more and more.
        Thanks for the explanation. Though I doubt my mouth will ever be convinced it’s not battery acid burning my lips ;P

  5. What is “too hot” for you? IS there such a thing?

    I think you should write a nice ten-step guide to near-total capsicum immunity.

    1. Drink Taco Bell hot sauce.
    2. Snort Taco Bell hot sauce.
    3. Flush eyes…

    You get the idea.

  6. I don’t understand how you freaks are able to do this. If I eat anything hotter than “medium”, my tongue breaks out in burn-sores for days. Then it burns again when it hits the stomach, and again when… well. Uh, yeah.

    “Big Red” burns my mouth. Seriously. If I chew it I get the burn-sores. Does this make me less of a man?

    1. It is possible (though unusual) for capsaicin/capsicum to result in superficial burn symptoms — if your nerves think you’ve been burned, sometimes you’ll get a blister.

      I’ve never had this happen to me.

      I HAVE had tummy upsets and “ring of fire” after some meals, though. Typically that happens when the peppers used are whole or coarsely chopped, so that their precious payload of pain is released further downstream. Usually the straight capsicum additives (Dave’s Ultimate Insanity Sauce, for instance) don’t cause problems because the capsaicin gets broken down fairly quickly in the gut.

      (while googling, I found this page which talks about capsaicin. You’ll have to scroll down, though.)

      Big Red has cinnamon in it, obviously. I don’t think there’s capsaicin in there, but there might be. There might also be something else, including somethingy you personally are allergic to. My Google mojo failed me on this one.

      1. I see. Perhaps I can Neo my way through my next hot-sauce experience, then. “There are no burns.”

        Kudos for Googling. And kudos for not impugning my manhood, even though I set all the pins up for you to do so. Way to take the high road.

      2. yah, I’ve had this happen when I chop jalapenos without latex gloves and don’t wash my hands thoroughly enough. the capsaicin left on my fingers starts raising welts after a few hours.

  7. Point of order…

    The PiBot’s trigger for “It burns like Vermilion’s Cooking!” is the word “chili” and there is some justice there.

    I don’t make my chili as hot as Howard’s cooking, though. I’ve got a strong stomach and high pain tolerance, but unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to get the endorphin high any more.

    Meeting The Man was enough to get me flying, though.

    Take care!

    Vermilion aka Mister Flames.

    What can I say? Someone already beat me to Vermilion here.

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