Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jalapeno Hell

Today's Public Service Announcement is brought to you by The Learning Things the Hard Way Corporation:

For the past couple weeks, I've been wanting to make a savory dish using Mango, which is currently in season. I was thinking about a chicken entree utilizing mango in some way. I started collecting recipes long before I ever started cooking. I remembered an early recipe for Mango Salsa that I had hand-written in my first cookbook binder. (I don't know the original source for this recipe, however I did a web search and it seems to be from here.)

It seemed perfect. I scanned the ingredient list:

Red bell pepper
Red wine vinegar
Lime juice
Jalapeno pepper (optional)

I remember looking at the word "optional" when reading. For a split second I considered not using the jalapeno, then I thought, "Nah, I've been liking hot things more as I get older. Plus, I'm a real tough broad and I can handle it."

When I was cutting the infamous jalapeno--uh, sans gloves--I felt pretty brave, thinking only of how the hot pepper would taste. I didn't realize that I would actually be able to feel its heat before the darn thing even got to my mouth. For maybe 1 second I had a mental flash of my mother warning me once to never touch the seeds of a pepper and to use gloves/ utensils when handling one. Then, in the next instant, I told myself that my mother was talking about a scotch bonnet pepper and not a jalapeno. I chortled ignorantly to myself and continued touching that OPTIONAL jalapeno, blissfully unaware of the agony I would feel in the next half hour or so.

It was soon after I had assembled my salsa and refrigerated it for my coveted chicken dinner, that I felt a tingling, burning sensation under my nails. Hmmm. Did I have a splinter under there? Impossible. How could I have splinters under all my nails? Then the tips of my fingers started to burn too. Was it from using cleaning products earlier in the day? No, I didn't use anything I haven't used a million times before. Slowly it began to dawn on was that demonic pepper!

I searched the Web for trusted internet remedies and found a host of people on a website who are as dumb as I am. I'm just grateful that it was only one pepper that I touched. (One person chopped up 40 of them for canning--gloveless. I think she had to go to the hospital for her burns). And I'm also glad that I didn't touch my face, eyes, nose, etc. like a lot of my other fellow dopes.

This recipe is pretty good but it's not exactly worth third-degree burns.

So, here is my advice: 1. Always wear gloves when handling a Jalapeno. 2. Always listen to your mother and when in doubt, call her for clarification. 3. Making a Baking Soda Paste with water seems to provide the most relief for a Jalapeno burn, not that I know from experience or anything...

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