Thursday, September 16, 2010

Papa Bear says "This porridge is too hot!"

Ghost Chili
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Today is my darling husband's birthday. I'll be nice and not tell you his age, only that he is in fact older than me. It's a tradition in our family to let the birthday boy or girl choose a place to eat dinner as a family. Most of us choose along the line of normal -- Chuck E. Cheese if we happen to be under 5 -- Cracker Barrel, Mamacitas, or Rudy's are some popular choices for those of us old enough to expect decent food instead of mind numbing noise.

My darling Jayme, on the other hand, opts for the outrageous. He makes it his goal every year to choose a birthday dinner that consists of strange and bizarre food items that have never crossed his lips. There was the dive that served Jamaican food but the chef wasn't there so nothing was available except plantains. Then there was the all you can eat Indian place that would have been decent if I hadn't been 3 months pregnant and suffering from severe nausea. Not a pleasant ride home.

Each year about September 17 he starts planning for the next year's birthday feast. Scouring the internet for the strange and bizarre -- within a short drive from home of course. He found the strange and spicy in Chunky's 4 Horsemen burger. Jayme likes things hot. He makes his own salsa because he's never found a salsa hot enough for his tastes off the shelf. A meal is rarely satisfying to him if he's not sweating at the end. So these people at Chunky's order this pepper from Northern Pakistan that is so hot it's among the hottest peppers ever discovered. It ranks higher than a million on the pepper hotness scale whereas jalapenos rank around 3,000 or so. He decided last fall that he would be eating a ghost pepper by way of this burger on his next birthday.

So we show up at the restaurant and see a banner boasting their visit last fall from that show Man vs. Food. In that episode, the man won. He ate the burger. But he did it with a whole lot of milk.

Inside the restaurant we're greeted with a "wall of flame" where the photos of a couple hundred smiling men -- and a few women as well -- stare back at us with red eyes and haggard smiles. These are the people who were able to eat the 4 horsemen in under 25 minutes and not puke or drink anything for 5 minutes afterwards.

Jayme places his order at the counter, "I'd like a 4 Horsemen please." The waitress stops cold. "Do you know what that is?" she said. There's cold silence from the dining room and the kitchen as the fry-cooks take notice. Somewhere in the distance, a fork drops to the floor.

The waitress pushes a waiver to Jayme as the shock wears off and activity resumes. Jayme signs away his right to sue if he gets sick, has a heart attack, becomes pregnant with a deformed baby or dies. He also agrees to pay a $20 clean up fee if he barfs anywhere other than his designated puke bucket.

When the ghost chili burger is brought out, the first thing one notices is the size. It's huge. The waitress sticks around to watch the show. Others poke their heads out of the kitchen, the heat is on, literally. Jayme takes a bite. He's okay. He takes another bite, still okay. After the third bite the sweat starts. He turns red in the eyes. He sucks down his Pepsi in one slurp. He runs to the fountain for more.

I, of course am capturing the whole episode with my camera and am sharing the images with you here. Happy Birthday dear!

In the end he was only able to finish half the burger. The waitress consoles him by telling him more than 4,000 have attempted to finish one and only a couple of hundred have survived -er - I mean finished it.

I, on the other hand, finished my delightful guacamole burger in excellent time and am now relaxing with a glass of wine. Jayme was unable to drive home and has been popping the antacids like candy.

I have posted a before and after image above as a lesson. Boys and girls ghost chilis are dangerous. And I want you to remember this face before you decide to try one for yourself.

Update: It is now more than 12 hours after the demon burger and poor Jayme is still feeling the effects. He was up every hour last night with dry heaves and severe cramping. His body is trying desperately to reject the toxic chilis. Will he ever be attempting another ghost chili burger -- NO!

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