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This blog isn't going to be about music. Oh no. This is something dangerous. Something terrifying and painful. Something that burns with such ferocity even Dante would have trouble describing it. The Bhut Jolokia. We in the U.S. call it "The Ghost Pepper".
For several months now I have been dying to get my hands on one. After seeing countless Youtube videos of people being rendered useless for several hours after only a small bite I knew I had to try it. My grandfather and uncle got me hooked on hot stuff during our annual visits to Bethany Beach where they would douse some wings in an assortment of different incendiary sauces. My first taste of something real hot was "Da Bomb" which tops out at about 50,000 Scoville Units. Scoville units are the units of water it would take to completely dilute the taste of one unit of the heat being measured. So 50,000 S.U. = 50,000 parts water per 1 part hot sauce before the flavor couldn't be detected. Which means really hot.
Jalepenos are about 5,000. A complete joke when compared to the mighty habenero which peaks at about 90,000 - 130,000. Habeneros are still just "really hot stuff 101", however. I have had many habeneros in my lifetime and although they are by no means mild, they are still a manageable pepper for my palette. The ghost pepper, however, is a different story.
It goes like this.
My friends Sean, Brook, Rusty and I meet up at a local Indian place called "Bollywood" which is gaining reputation for its absurdly spicy entrees, many of which the owner wont even allow you to order until you have tried all of the prerequisite dishes which he uses to gauge your ability to handle heat. We are greeted by a distinguished middle aged Indian man with a great sense of humor. I order the "Bollywood Special" (a really hot dish) and some Naan filled with chicken. He says "Get either-or, if you eat the Bolly Special, you will not enjoy anything else." I ask him to make it as hot as possible; the kind of hot where you pass out.
A few minutes later he emerges from the kitchen with a spoon. He says "try". I try. It is a very flavorful, thick curry-like soup with a little heat to it, called "Madras". He carefully watched my face. No grimace or pain. He takes the spoon and disappears back into the kitchen. A few minutes pass and he come out again, with, at first glance, the same thing, but after looking a little harder, this is a much darker red color. I try. He sees a little grimace on my face. This stuff is way hotter. About 2/3 the heat of a habenero. He spices up the dish accordingly and brings it out accompanied by a small sample of what he put into the dish to make it hot. We eat our dinner, and yes it is definitely hot, but I still want something to knock me out.
As we are leaving I ask him if he has anythying special from india to knock me off of my feet. He says "hold on" and goes into the back for a minute. He emerges with a small red pepper. He says "this is called hand-grenade, do not eat inside of here". Awesome.
Sprinting outside with my friends and telling them to get the phones ready for pictures, I pop the whole thing in my mouth, chew as fast as possible and swallow the first half. The grimace on my face grows, as I feel the waves of heat crashing into my mouth , nose and skull, this mother is going to be exactly what I wanted.
My smile soon fades as the waves of heat keep increasing. Soon, it is too much. I literally drop to the ground in pain. My friends, who were laughing, stop, but still continue to record the spectacle. Im laying on sidewalk, families timidly walking by, as I rock back and forth in a pile of mulch, drool cascading out of my mouth and unable to talk. I can hardly see from my eyes tearing up so much. I need to get back to my house where I can recuperate before the gig I have in about an hour. I muster up enough strength to stand and doubled over in pain, slowly walk to seans car. We get in, Rusty wishes me luck has a good laugh and heads home, smiling and shaking his head and Sea and Brooke and I are speeding back to my house. Half of my body is literally hanging out of the car window, drool and snot pouring out of my head. Two state troopers pull up to us at a stop -light, with my head hanging out and facing the ground, very concerned as to what the hell could possibly be wrong with me. I signal for them to roll down the window. They oblige as I explain my dilemma wasn't caused by alcohol, but a ghost pepper. They both start laughing, im guessing they know what they are. One of them goes "I love ghost peppers". Ha, yeah right.
This story will end with me curled up into the fetal position in the back of Seans car, violently puking out of the window like a dragon spewing fire at two lanes of traffic, cars swerving to avoid the fiery puke, horns honking and everyone looking. Not an ounce of embarassment. When you are in pain like that, there is no other feeling. My face was white as a ghost, eyes bloodshot, nose running, stomach in knots. And yes, I will probably do it again.
If someone dares you to do this, Im not going to say don't do it, but consider this blog post, it won't be an enjoyable experience, except maybe those watching. (Unless of course, they have to clean your puke off of their car. Sorry Sean.)