It’s almost Thanksgiving in the United States, the holiday when people celebrate early European settlers nearly starving to death by gathering together and stuffing ourselves until we’re sick. And you probably have that one guy—it’s always a guy—in your family who tries to impress everyone by bringing and eating some ridiculously hot peppers. So here’s something for him to try: the euphorbia resinifera plant, while technically not a pepper, produces a resin that’s four and a half million times hotter than the jalapeno. That should shut him up for a while. In fact it may even do more than that. It destroys nerve endings and may be a non-addictive alternative to opioids for those in need of pain relief. So the heat may actually do some good.
Skipping over to the subject of hot foods in general, though, I don’t mind some heat in my food but it should bring some flavor with it. One of the best things my hometown of Nashville has contributed to the world is hot chicken, which was then stolen by Kentucky Fried Chicken which hoped people wouldn’t know that Nashville is in a different state, slightly to the south of Kentucky, which brings up the question I raised in a previous post: should some things be kept strictly local? Maybe not–I’m thrilled that I can pretty much circle the globe, in a culinary sense, just by venturing a few miles from home, and KFC’s real sin wasn’t stealing Nashville hot chicken but ruining it with a terrible recipe, but that’s another story.
Also there used to be a small store near where I work that sold almost exclusively hot foods: salsas, chili mixes, hot peppers, hot sauces, hot chocolate—with levels of spiciness ranging from mildly hot to inedible. When all it tastes like is burning is when I bow out. That level of spiciness is only good for keeping squirrels out of your bird feeder, since squirrels get the same heat sensation as humans but birds don’t, although putting euphorbia resinifera in your bird feeder would probably still be a bad idea.
That place that sold hot foods is no longer there, by the way. It burned down.
I’m not making that up.