Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am guilty of being in love with all things spicy.   I love cracked red pepper, I love Tabasco, I love Tapatio, I love salsa, I love Pick-A-Peppa sauce, I love peppers, I love jalapenos, I love habaneros, I love birds eye peppers, I love ancho chillies, I love serrano chillies, I love my pepper mill, I love Korean kochu-caru, I love cayenne, I love it all.  I am famous for making a delicious dinner or arriving at a delicious dinner and heading straight for the cupboard and pulling out the chilli flakes and dousing the dinner with them.  I know where the hot sauce is in my mother in law's house and I know she keeps it only for me. 

I can remember being 11 and eating a late lunch with my brother in our school uniforms in Jamaica and having hot sauce eating contests where we poured the sauce into teaspoons and just ate that until we could not handle it anymore.  I remember working with groups of Mexican ladies and having them douse anything crunchy with lots of tapatio sauce and then eating the salty, now soggy chips until my mouth burned.  I can tell you that the smell of Korean hot sauce will make my mouth start to salivate.  That combination of hot from the fire and hot from spice is something I crave.

I'm sure part of this love is that I am  half Korean.  I love all food items Korean. (except for that blood sausage crap)  I love the spicy broth and stews that warm everything going down.  I love the pickles that are tart, crunchy and fiery hot at the very end.   I love the red pepper paste that can be added to just about anything to give it a little kick.  I can tell you that as a child the sight of Korean food complete with the spicy side dishes was the most wonderful sight in the world.  While most of my cousins were passing on the food of their parents and opting out for a PBnJ, I was asking for more rice and side dishes and savoring each spicy bite.

Here is my moment of sadness.  My body does not handle the digestion of spicy food very well.  I don't know if I need to spell this out but for those of you can love spicy food, you know what I'm talking about.  It means that several hours after a meal of spicy food you may be spending more time hanging out around the bathroom than you would like.  And while that might seem like a deterrent to spicy food it is more like a call to prayer for me.  To me, it means that the food was doing its job and now I can rest a few hours until it is time to bring on more spicy food.  

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