Some like it hot, but some are just ridiculous about it
He's just showing off, I though. Any second now he's going to be screaming for water.
Instead, he wanted more mustard. He devoured a second slathered egg roll without blinking an eye.
Later, we went to have tea and then to a movie. He kissed me goodbye - our first - quickly afterward, muttered something about his stomach and disappeared.
Ten years down the road, I've learned that the first-date scenario was nothing unusual. Dad doesn't so much like hot food as he's hopelessly addicted to it. Is there a wing at Betty Ford for that?
Come to think of it, I'm not even so sure that he likes the food all the much. He just likes the heat.
Now, I can handle a pepper or two. If I'm near a Jack In The Box, my car finds the drive-through and insists that I order jalapeno poppers. I like nachos with a little kick, and before I started trying to convince the kids to eat it, my chili was a little fiery, too.
Compared to Dad, though, I am strictly an amateur.
He'll pick up a bottle of Tapatio and take a swig. No cookout is complete without fire-roast jalapenos. The only time I've ever seen him flinch was when I bought a habanero once to use in Jamaican jerk chicken. He actually broke a sweat as he finished it, but then he asked if I had another. No, thank God.
The end, of course, is always the same. A few hours later, there's a frantic search for Tums. A bit after that, stomach clutching and vowing to never eat peppers again - they're like alcoholics that way. The next morning, mad sprints to the bathroom followed by moaning and groaning.
Between my husband and a similarly addicted brother, I thought nothing could shock me anymore. That was until last night, when an innocent pizza dinner deteriorated to debauchery the likes of which I've never seen.
Because wimpy little banana peppers just aren't potent enough, Dad opened a can of jalapenos. A big one - a 27-ouncer. He started out wrapping his pizza around one, but that was too slow. He shoveled straight jalapenos onto his plate - I guess there's something to be said for getting more green in your diet.
I didn't realize how much more green he'd consumed until I was clearing the table afterward and discovered that the can was empty. He'd eaten every one - plus the bonus peppered carrots.
The usual cycle commenced. Tums, vows of pepper celibacy and finally the mad bathroom rush. At least it didn't strike during PT.
Oh, and he wanted tea for breakfast this morning because coffee "always hurts his stomach."
Yes, I'm sure it's coffee that's causing the problem.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.