結果、笑っていいのか?はばかられるような惨劇の思い出話になっていますが、翻訳も鬼気迫る感じになっておりますので、気分転換にお読みください(_  _  )



Last night, my wife made a particularly spicy (and delicious) curry that brought to mind a memorable (and funny in retrospect) event that happened when my children were very young.

You may not know that I have a little vegetable garden in my very small backyard.  Generally, I like to grow tomatoes, radishes and various herbs these days, but when I first started the garden, I grew (among other things) habanero peppers.

Peppers have their pungency, or “hotness”, measured on something called the Scoville scale. Generally, the scale is divided into 5 levels of pungency (“hotness” in this context) where SHU are Scoville Heat Units.

Anyway, you have to be very careful with habaneros when you handle them. I’ve never had a problem when picking them, but when cutting them up for cooking, I would wear rubber gloves and use a flattened-out milk carton instead of a cutting board.  This way, I didn’t get the spicy oils from the peppers on the cutting board (you do NOT want the oils to touch your skin), and I could throw it away after I was finished.To give you some perspective, bell peppers rate about 100 SHU and Tabasco sauce is at about 3,000 to 4,000 SHU.  For those of you who do not know, habaneros are one of the hottest of the common hot peppers, and measure at anywhere from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.  I like spicy food.    

Harvest time came and I picked about 20 peppers and placed them in a bowl in the pantry, well out of the reach of small children.

I distinctly remember telling my wife not to use or even touch them.  She may not have been paying attention (or perhaps my vehemence was not as clear as I thought it was) because the next day, thinking they were overripe and diminutive bell peppers (habanero peppers are usually small and bright orange), she decided to use them in making dinner.

My daughter, at the time, was two years old, and loved to help her mommy with the cooking.  My wife would cut some vegetables and my daughter would grab them and put them in the bowl…very cute if not very efficient.  She (my daughter) had also discovered an affinity for tomatoes, and would often sample some of them before transferring the rest to the bowl.  I suspect that the orange color of the habanero peppers was similar enough to tomatoes that my daughter decided they were worth a taste.

I was in the next room spending time with my son (four years old at the time) when I heard an ungodly noise.  I jumped up, ran into the kitchen and saw my daughter screaming, my wife standing with a quizzical look on her face, and a mess of dismembered peppers bleeding out on the cutting board.  Not good.

As anyone who has ever eaten really spicy food knows, there aren’t many things you can do to ameliorate the problem besides drinking milk and waiting it out.  Well, I grabbed my daughter (and she grabbed me) and headed for the bathroom.  I told my wife in no uncertain terms to put down the knife and to wash her hands at least 20 times before she touched anything else.  I also admonished her to not touch the knife, the peppers, the cutting board or the bowl again…I would take care of them.  I washed off my daughter’s face and hands as best I could and prepared a cool bottle of milk to help soothe the heat.  In the meantime, my wife had not been careful enough, and had touched her mouth, nose and eyes while I was in the bathroom with my daughter.

For the next two hours, my wife was struggling with a burning face, my daughter was sobbing through a burning mouth, face and chest (small children drool a lot when they cry), and I was feeling the burn everywhere that my daughter had touched me.  My son just momentarily wondered why everyone else was miserable and then went back to playing.

I don’t grow habanero peppers anymore, and my wife stays away from any peppers that are not green.  My daughter, on the other hand, is the queen of spicy food, and can handle it better than most adults I know….go figure.