Sitting in the restaurant looking over the menu. I stroke my chin meaningfully as I make a choice, possibly for the first time in my life.
“I’ll have the deep fried liver chitlins with the chicken hearts.”
“Excellent choice, sir. And would sauce would you like? Tangy or spicy?”
“Spicy!” Wow. I’m not usually this decisive.
“How spicy? One, two or three?”
You know the drill. We all like to pretend like we want it hot. And the makers of foods are more than happy to play along.
“The new spicy burger thing,” the TV yells. “It’s fucking hot.” As if that isn’t enough to drive the point home, they show some poor sap paid union rates to eat the bloody thing. The special effects team adds fake fire blowing out of the guy’s mouth like he’s some burger eatin’ Godzilla.
Subtle. We get it. What you’re really saying is that your burger is spicy.
The thing is, though, when you haul your ass to the fast food joint and bite the thing, you can barely detect a mild tang. WTF? They call this spicy? I think I had vanilla ice cream last night with more kick.
And that’s the way the shtick gets played. They fool us and we bite. God forbid it’s as hot as they advertise. Then all the idiots that were dumb enough to order it would bitch their asses off. They don’t want that.
One restaurant I used to visit had the “secret” hot sauce. If you dared order it, you were in for a show. The owner would don a firefighter jacket, put on a firefighter hat complete with rotating red light, and use tongs to grab the bottle and bring it to your table.
Was it hot? Meh.
With all this in mind, I answered the waitress with an emphatic, “Two.”
“Are you sure about that?” she queried, as if I was asking for my own head to be chopped off.
“Bring it on,” I snapped back. Yeah, I got the verbal game.
She shrugged and walked away, her body language screaming, “Whatever. It’s your funeral, pal!”
Now that I think about it, I can’t even remember the dish. Wholly unremarkable, I guess. Just like the hot sauce, it turns out. It was a spicy BBQ sauce that was decidedly neither.
Why all the hubbub? When it turns out to be the exact opposite of spicy how do you think I’m going to feel? I’m going to feel like you thought I was a rube just begging to be fooled. I want a fucking spicy sauce. Not Doug Henning on my plate babbling about the beauty of magic.
Turns out there’s a spicy rating known as the “Scoville scale.” Personally I want something with a rating of 1.5 to 2 million Scovilles. According to Wikipedia that’s known as “law enforcement grade pepper spray.” Excellent. Now we’re talking. To save time please squirt it directly into my eyeballs. And don’t forget the ribs.
They sell a bunch of those super-hot ghost pepper-type plants at our garden center, and I think “Who wants a whole crop of these little death pods?” I guess if you’re not eating/living/pooping the “est” of something, it doesn’t matter.