Friday, June 8, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Spicy

Three Mile Island

My good friend and golfing partner, Ramesh, is from India. If you picked that up from his name, you are paying attention and are probably quite worldly. I have been to his home for lunch or dinner several times. Having been all over the world, I am pretty open to trying anything that is considered food by other cultures. If you don’t know, much of the food of India tends to be quite spicy. Knowing that I am a bit of a wimp in that area, he and his wife Leela (also from India) advise me on the intensity level of each dish. While I find many of the foods delicious, I have stayed away from those of which the aroma made my sinuses begin to drain and my eyes tear worse than from viewing the end of “Old Yeller.”
I recently won a free, all you can eat, wing party at Hooters on a radio trivia contest. Yes, I know a lot of useless information. There were to be ten of us at the party. I arrived early to select our first order of wings. Hooters has several different levels of intensity for their chicken wings. I ordered an assortment ranging from Medium (I am not even wimp enough to order mild from a scantly dressed hostess) all the way up to their hottest, one named “Three Mile Island”, which I specifically selected for my Indian friends. I am sure it was on the high end of the Scoville Scale, since the hostess shuddered when I ordered it. I am pretty sure that the cook needed protective gear to even prepare this coating. My timing was great, as the order came out shortly after my party had arrived. The hostess pointed out the different plates of wings as to their piquancy (she did not know that word, I do). The party began with most of us reaching for the medium and hot versions and avoiding the plate with the haze hovering over it, like a runway in the summer. I pushed the plate of biohazard wings toward Ramesh and Leela. They tried them and it was immediately obvious from the blisters raised on their lips and the inability to breath that the “Three Mile Island” recipe was not popular in India. Mike, one of the other participants, a Caucasian from New Hampshire elected to try them. We all watched in awe as he devoured the entire plate with no visual side effects. Whether he actually enjoyed them or was posturing for the hostess, I was impressed. I have a hunch that the next morning, Mike would regret stepping up to that plate. Ramesh later said that he had eaten spicy food his entire life and had never tasted anything to rival “Three Mile Island”. Hooters should come up with an ad campaign, “Try our hot wings, they would make Gandhi swear.”

19 comments:

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Poor Ghandi! (Do Indians eat chicken?)

We had a couple who lived below us in Married student housing at UI who was from India - or somewhere in that part of the world. Twice the lady cooked a dish that wafted up around our kitchen pipes and filled our apt with a spicy aroma that made our eyes and noses weep and cry for mercy. The second time I asked my husband to see what she was making, because we couldn't rid our apt of the smell with open windows and the fan going full blast. I was afraid our oldest child, who was still a baby, was suffering far worse than we.

The Hunk went downstairs, knocked on the door and asked the lady - in an exasperated manner - "What are you cooking? It is burning our eyes and we can hardly breathe upstairs." "Beans." She replied with a heavy accent. "Yust beans."
(We both felt badly after that, but she never made "beans" again while we were living upstairs.)

Side note: Is "piquant" the word from which we get the phrase "To pique someone's interest?" New word for me, okay. Do you accent the first or last syllable when you say it. (There are 3 possible pronounciations given, and I will likely accent both.)

myrtle beached whale said...

piquant can refer to taste or even language. It essentially means spicy. In my pronounciation, the accent is on the first syllable. But I am a moron.

gautami tripathy said...

"..the aroma made my sinuses begin to drain and my eyes tear worse than from viewing the end of “Old Yeller."

That is out India food is all about!

Please do let pinehurst know that Indian do eat chicken and it is GANDHI not Ghandi!

Liza's Eyeview said...

I like Hot and spicy food too.
visiting from Sunday Scribbling :)

Kerstin said...

Great story, you certainly piqued my interest throughout! Having spent many years in London I love Indian food and your story brings back fond memories of the cookouts that my friends Meera & Ramesh invited me to. Somehow spice is a lot more tolerable in exotic dishes than on chicken wings!

myrtle beached whale said...

I enjoy spice that adds flavor, not just hot for the sake of being hot.

sundaycynce said...

Great story. Fun post. Thanks for sharing.

I never thought about it, but I bet that to pique someone's interest, i.e. "spark" their interest, did indeed come from piquant. Thanks also for the mini vocabulary lesson.

myrtle beached whale said...

Another funny spicy story came to mind. John Knutson, a friend of mine when I was living in Wyoming, had a penchant for extremely spicy food. The hotter the better for him. Again, in my opinion, part of this is machismo. I, fortunately, can live with the fact that I cannot comfortably chew on habaneros. If I lose my mancard, so be it. One day John was working behind the bar at our country club (yes, they have them in Wyoming, complete with hitching rail). He was making himself a roast beef sandwich and found a container in the refrigerator marked "Horseradish". He applied a huge dollop of this condiment on his sandwich. When he bit into the sandwich, he immediately lost his breath, began choking, and fell to his knees on the floor. It took him some minutes and a drink of everything within reach for him to regain his senses. What John failed to realize was that this container was pure horseradish which must be diluted into a sauce for human consumption. Evidentally, he had enough on his sandwich to make a half gallon of horse radish sauce (which would still have been to piquant for me).

Regina Clare Jane said...

That's a great story... but what good is having something so spicy that you can't even eat it?
And the title intrigued me as I am from PA and Three Mile Island hapened when I was in college... it was scary. I think I would have taken the chicken wings over the real thing anytime!

myrtle beached whale said...

Regina:
I think your observation was pretty much the crux of my story. Indian food is highly spiced for flavor. It is not just to see how hot you can make it.
I am guessing the name "Three Mile Island" was stolen from the nuclear meltdown by Hooters as a widely known identifier for the wing sauce to give the customer a forewarning that it was rather piquant (how I love that word).
I can't imagine there will ever be a situation where you will be forced to choose between hot chicken wings and a core meltdown. It is good, though, that you have already made that decision should it come up.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Sorry for misspelling Gandhi.

myrtle beached whale said...

I cannot express how disappointed I am. You have desecrated my blog.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Great story told with an engaging style.

lisrobbe said...

Great post and great story! Indian food is delicious. It is second favorite of mine next to Thai!

Rob Kistner said...

MBW - Fun post -- thanks...

My wife won't let me go into Hooters, but she and her girlfreinds have a small golf league (more like a social club) -- and as a 'hoot', they have their season-end banquet (beer & burgers) at our local Hooters.

I am trying to convince her that I should be invited to read some poetry at their get-together the end of this season... ;)

myrtle beached whale said...

Rob:
Tell her that you need to go to Hooters because seeing all those scantilly clad girls that don't appeal to you in the least will make you appreciate her even more. If she buys that, tell her you need a new set of golf clubs.
Your wife plays golf? My condolences. My girlfriend and I have an understanding: She doesn't play golf and I don't go shopping. Wow, that sounds like a good prompt for a blog. More to follow.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

I can't even imagine trying that stuff. After having grown up in the white bread, potatoes and gravy, no weird food house of Pert Woolum I never acquired a taste for it. I guess the Smelter Smoke burned enough.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

So funny! You did a mini-headline from my comments. . .HA HA. I thought you were just kidding!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

No new smirky poems or stories???? How unlike you!