How many of you love Mexican Food? I’ll bet most of you, are either raising your hands or emphatically shaking your heads, yes. I love it too, but I have one question. Is it just me, or is the food incredibly spicy and hot? When you’re finished with your meal, do you sometimes dial 911, report a fire, and spend the next hour being hosed down by the local volunteer fire department?
Hey people of Mexico! What’s with all the peppers? Do you all have mouths lined with concrete? How do you eat this stuff every day? Maybe you’re not even eating any of the peppers. Come to think of it, I don’t remember, ever seeing our good neighbors to the south, dining in their own restaurants. If I went into the kitchens at any Mexican restaurant, I’d probably find the cooks taking their break while eating light salads and finger sandwiches, and washing them down with Evian water with a touch of lime. I might even hear the sound of laughter, as they talk about how all those stupid gringos are out there eating peppers, and sweating like pigs as steam comes out of their ears.
Did you ever wonder, who ever came up with the idea of eating peppers? I guess you had to be pretty hungry. Imagine walking for days through a desolate landscape of stunted dried brush, towering cacti, poisonous snakes, circling buzzards, while under the heat of a merciless and unforgiving sun. Not only are you desperately thirsty, but your hunger is intense. By chance you come upon some wild jalapeño peppers, which you immediately consume. What’s your first thought? Is it,
Madre de Dios; Agua, agua?” Or is it, “Hey, this isn’t too bad. Maybe a little bit spicy. You know something. This might sound like a crazy idea, but I may just open a Mexican restaurant and sell these things to loco Americano’s.”
Do you know there’s even a scientific way to measure how hot a pepper is? It’s called the “Scolville Heat Index.” It goes from zero to over a million heat units. We’ve all heard of jalapeno, serrano, and habanera chili peppers, but the hottest pepper is actually called the “Ghost Chili Pepper.” You know why they call it this? Because if you eat one bite, the next thing you know, you’re dead and the Ghost Whisperer is saying,
“Go into the light, go into the light; and don’t forget to ask for some bottled water.”
The Scolville scale seemed a little complicated, so I came up with my own five-point pepper heat scale, which I think is far more accurate. It includes: Can I have a glass of water please, give me a pitcher of water, now, darn those Mexican people, I think I’m blind, and finally; Ahhhh…..I’m on fire!
I’ll probably continue to visit Mexican restaurants, despite the incredibly hot food. I guess, I just can’t get enough of that salsa. The last time I was at one, a nice, smiling waitress came to our table, put down a huge bowl of tortilla chips, looked at me, held out her hand, and said, “Salsa?” My wife said it was okay, and I have taken dance lessons. The waitress was really light on her feet, and we even had some requests for an encore. I just love that Latin beat.