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Some Like It Hot

Let me give a little insight into my capacity for heat.

Jalapenos are 2500-5000 Scoville units. Apparently Cayenne Peppers can be 30k-50k Scoville units, but no matter how much cayenne pepper powder I dump in my food, the strongest reaction I have is "This has a teeny little bit of heat to it.." The only thing I actually find hot right now is Dave's Original Insanity Sauce, which is estimated around 180k Scoville units. I love many of Dave's other flavors for their actual flavor (all of which are far more mild), but I use Insanity Sauce very sparingly. A pea-sized drop in a bowl of soup. Three small drops per taco. If I eat tacos all week, I can work my way up to a thin line of Insanity Sauce on each taco. But then my nose is running and my mouth is on fire (and I love it). I'm not saying this makes my particularly tough. Pure capsaicin is 16M Scoville units. There are hot sauces that are sold (and presumably consumed) all the way up to that level. I'm nowhere near that. I doubt I could handle 500K.

What I'm saying is, that a mere 5K Scoville units is very mild to me. There were several months where I ate fresh jalapenos for breakfast every day, and sometimes again later in the day. The only reason I stopped eating them daily is because the associated cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon are not the healthiest options for a daily breakfast. But I still eat them semi-regularly, and it's at the point where I don't even feel the burn on my bottom when it's time to pass them out of my system. My whole body is just totally used to it by now.

It's definitely something a person can work their way up to. There was a time when I thought fresh jalapenos were pretty damned spicy. But if you eat them often enough, your body adapts. I'm sure there's also some genetic component as well, with cultures who regularly eat very spicy food having a built-in tolerance.

About a year ago, I was at a restaurant as part of a work function and they served some mix-it-yourself horseradish sauce to go with a seafood tower. They warned that the horseradish itself was VERY HOT and so to be careful. It was indeed hot, and I made my sauce strong, and every time I put it in my mouth, the roof of my mouth would tingle and burn, all the way up to the top of my head. And I LOVED it. I don't know if you can put horseradish on the Scoville scale, but that stuff was STRONG. And SO GOOD.

Anyway. I just love that feeling of my mouth and lips being on fire. I don't enjoy the sensation anywhere else (like that time I was cutting jalapenos for like four hours, and the oils soaked into my fingers, and they burned like hell for three days). But mmmmm, mouth burn. :D

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