Red hot chilli pepper fools


What is it with boys and their desire to commit chilli malice on themselves and others?

I knew a man once who if you asked him which flavour of Nandos chicken he preferred he couldn’t give you a straight answer, he had to qualify it. His answer was “Hot but if it’s a competition, extra hot.”.

I also knew a man who when dared to eat the contents of a dried chilli condiment dish did so, simply because he was lead to believe that another man had eaten half before him. There was a moment of hesitation, a moment of consideration perhaps. Then impulse and chilli-man-must-prove-his-metal won out and into his mouth it all went. He chewed for a long time. Anyone with sense would have bailed and spat at that point, a man in a chilli dare has no other choice.

He put on a brave face but watching him for the 30 minutes post chilli ingestion was painful for me who had no physical investment in it. His eyes watered, his nose ran, his face turned a fetching shade of fuchsia. He swallowed regularly and felt the need to reassure himself and the rest of the table of his probable survival at frequent unsolicited intervals. He must have drunk about 7 litres of water. It was awful.

Tonight at dinner the 8-year-old dared himself to drink Tabasco sauce cocktails that he mixed up himself with water and his leftover chicken juice. He tried to incite rewards for the feats but he had no takers and in spite of absolutely no payoff he continued his hot party for one.

After about the third cocktail, upping the tabasco dose by a drop each round, so influenced by the peer pressure of an older brother and the internal burn the 4-year-old wanted in on the action too. He was most put out that we wouldn’t allow him to singe his taste buds for fun. Even with the what-goes-in-must-come-out explanation there was no less appeal to be in on the chilli one upmanship.

This week I learned that it is not only hot foods that are of interest to the boys I share an abode with, sour foods are hip to the jive as well. The latest twist on the dare to devour flavour is lemons. My son has been sampling lemons. He is quite insistent that he will enjoy eating a lemon segment and nothing has thus far been able to discourage him, not even munching down on the full peal as part of his experimenting. At least he has a zest for life. Boom boom.

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