She Who Eats Fire (a.k.a. Mom)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I enjoy a nice plate of spicy food that's got some kick to it. And I'm not just talkings spicy as in spicy hot being flavorful, I mean spicy hot being pure Scoville heat. Rob, not so much. Really, when it comes to spicy food, he's a bit of well... he's a spice pussy. When it comes to heat, be it a sweltering summer day, a mildly hot pan, or chile sauce, he's just a downright wuss.

I can't say I don't relate. I had to learn and build my heat tolerance and I like to think it's pretty damn formidable now. I can put away harissa or salsa you've got pretty well. Still though, I have my limits. There is a certain ethiopian dish, doro wot, that just burns me so bad I simply cannot eat it. I try, God knows, I try. Yet every time it just burns me so bad I just have to start swallowing bread to try to make the tongue-scorching go away.

My mom however, 'Ol Iron Belly, the Eater of Fire, can just put away the spice and make any heat submit. It's spooky and unnatural. I have seen this woman punish a bottle of tobasco sauce. Seriously, she should be dead, her stomach twisted into a Gordian knot and her little heart exploded. I dunno if it's genetic adaptation, acquired tolerance, or witchcraft but somehow she just can.

Take last night for example. She's visiting for Turkey Day so on her first day in we had a delicious little dish with andouille sausage as a main component. This was however, no ordinary sausage. It was made by de' devil. El Diablo Andouille! This thing could burn down Chicago. Rob only did a piece or two after which he threw in the towel. After which I mocked him as I happily shoveled the sausage into my mouth (take a moment and make your jokes). A moment or two later, I was out of the running as well. You know the feeling, the one where you feel the heat and spice swell your belly, and all further ideas of food are wholly unappealing.

Mom just smiled and happily ate like nothing ever happened.


  1. Studies have shown sensitivity to capsaicin to have a genetic component. In fact, one study in particular looked at geographical distributions of sensitivity, and places with spicier cuisines had more people who were less sensitive to capsaicin.

    Your mom sounds like an anomaly, though!

  2. Mom would make a great superhero.

    Iron Belly Mama defeats the evil forces of the Spaminator!

  3. Mom sounds like one tough chick. She and my husband could eat through the fires of hell together.


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