First published on Facebook in November 2017, penned in a post consumption, heat fueled high.
Tonight I decided to create chilli perfection, with a simple flat bread pizza topped with half a Carolina Reaper. Hang on, let me back this up. For those not in the know the Carolina Reaper is considered to be and verified as the hottest chilli in the world at over 2.2 million Scovilles it is not something to be trifled with. Because frankly no-one wants chilli in their trifle.
OK, so with fear and respect well and truly in hand, and bearing some very recently painful memories of pepper in my nasal lavage (don’t ask, click to read story in new link), I tore into the packet.
First I inhaled with my nose inside the bag to get the full aroma, nothing, not a scent of impending doom or of the flames of hell singing my nostril hairs. Nothing, not a thing.
This must be good, thought I, for all the power of the chilli essence remains inside it. Not leaking out and decaying the pure, vicious heat of the mighty Carolina Reaper. I couldn’t wait.
Oh hang on, just back up again… I love chillis, hot sauce, hot spicy foot and generally if it can melt the pan like Alien’s acid blood, count me in. Waggamama’s Firecracker Chicken is one of my faves and I ask for extra sauce (which they do for free) just so I can feel the burn for longer.
OK, so poised with chilli in one hand and knife in the other, I sliced the stalk off. To make this easier the three miscreants in the photo will be named, left to right; Arse Candle, Rasclart and Dick.
So first to face the butchers block was Rasclart, he was the smallest and probably therefore the most potent. Biggest bang for my buck had to be the best bet? Surely? So I sliced Rasclart in twain, lifted the bottom half to my lips and licked the edge. After a beat the familiar chilli warmth spread along my lips and down my tongue reaching into my throat and pulsing with heat and the power of the chilli.
I was over the moon, this was EXACTLY what I wanted, a story to hand down the ages of the day Dad ate (half) a Carolina Reaper. I spread my sauce on the pizza base, added tomatoes, some Quorn Ham, and then sprinkled the thin slices of Reaper across the base. Tiny dots of flavour landmines spread liberally across the whole pizza. Added the vegan cheese on top and then chucked it in the oven, nice!
Whilst I waited a thought flickered across my mind; I was in Waggamamas recently and ordered my usual, firecracker tofu. It came and I dove in as usual, eating the dried chilli garnish, and generally chowing down. However when I got to the end, instead of a healthy glow I was in agony, the power of the spice had made me feel very uncomfortable. It was not good and I had a horrible feeling my immunity to the power of chilli may have seriously dipped. As I pondered the recent chink in my armor the pizza timer pinged and it was done, “Please step this way, the Reaper will see you now”.
A man of simple tastes am I, pizza with a side of Salad Cream. For those who are not UK Working Class and British; there is a yellow/white “sauce” called “Salad Cream” that was the traditional accompaniment to a limp lettuce salad in the 1970s. It fell out of favour in the 80s and 90s but has recently been rediscovered, hallelujah!
I like Salad Cream on my pizza, so shoot me! It’s council estate mayo and reminds me of my roots. The Heinz original Salad Cream was recently replaced in my diet by a vegan alternative but it’s similar enough that I am not bothered.
With pizza and my eating tools in one hand and a bottle of vegan salad cream in the other I sat and got stuck in.
I cut a chunk of pizza off and took my first bite, and in my first bite I must have not had any chilli. So I looked and cut a piece off with several small pieces of the Reaper clearly visible. Nothing, a faint warming in my mouth sure, and…. well nothing. DISAPPOINTEMNT!
I scarfed the whole thing down, lashings of salad cream then sat and waited. A sound of jungle drums pulsed through my body and anticipation grew. The tingling warming sensation on the back of my head expanded into a tight skullcap of irritation. Hangonamin…
Oh lordy, I had underestimated the size of the potential eruption after the first bite. But now, there was trouble in paradise, and “trouble” was a mentally deranged, zombie motorbike gang charged up on PCP hell bent on revenge.
If, and it is a big if, you were ever to consume some plutonium then the fire raging through my torso, leaking into my shoulders, driving up my neck and down my arms would possibly feel the same. Not so much a sharp, intense mouth pain, more like a tsunami of heat raging through my upper body setting fire to all that it touched.
My scalp radioed in for help, the situation was critical, rivers of sweat were running through clumps of hair as my scalp tried to peel itself off my skull. It was like something was crawling under and over my skin covering me in heat prickles and simultaneously delivering a painful icy cold sensation.
Weird was the only word. Very Weird…
However what followed next was pure pleasure as the endorphin truck backed up and dump a metric shit ton of the good stuff direct into my brainium. Badoooofffff!!!
This was an “I was blind but now I see” moment, my entire digestive tract was glowing like a radiator and vibrating with a living energy. I seriously have never experienced anything like it. All previous chilli meals now seem like I could only paint with one colour, brown. Now with a Carolina Reaper in my toolbox I have all the colours of the rainbow.
It is almost spiritual.
As I sat and digested my brain had me stood in the kitchen with another pizza crisping in the oven before any of the protestors had woken, got dressed, put their boots on, painted their placards and got the postcode of where to go to. My brain likey the endorphins and wanted MOH!
My brain figured the Reapers effect must be even more hardcore if we did two chillis on this pizza. Thankfully by the time this thought had crossed my brains, err, mind, the protestors early representatives had arrived and actually made the distinctly wise decision to stop chopping up the largest chilli, and just take the slice of Dick’s flaming hot tip and leave it at that.
So, I then downed the second pizza, complete with 0.8 of a Carolina Reaper.
I became one with the here-ever-after and bathed in universal love.
Eventually the heat, the joy and love receeded and I boiling core of heat, like a red dwarf star, took up angry residence in my stomach.
20 Hours on it is still there, diminished for sure, but the signature note pulse of it as it bides its time can be felt.
Without being TMI about it, I know it obviously has to exit the divine host at some point and for that I am afeared.
As surely as the fat lady sings ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has eventually got to leave the building and that will be a solo flight dear gentle reader. For as much as my culinary shenangians can be the flotsam of the internet my toiletry shenanigans will remain forever between me and my mate Armitage Shanks.
For those about to meet the Reaper, be it for the first time, or 24 hours later for an anal encore I truly do salute you.
P.S. if you have read this far, and own a chilli farm or are in touch with anyone to do with hot sauces and chillis and they want me as a guest I am happy to oblige.