I don’t quite know why I do these things to myself. Maybe my brain has been warped by a lack of fruit and vegetables. Considering these days that produce costs about the same as a Psychology textbook, I wouldn’t be surprised if others were in the same boat. The world needs more vegetables, especially now that Stephen Hawking has passed away.
So, in the pursuit of a healthier diet, what better vegetable to eat than the famous Carolina Reaper? Known far and wide as the hottest chilli in the world, this spicy boi was grown in South Carolina as the result of an unfortunate Tinder matchup between a Red Habanero and a Bhut Jolokia. Peppers are measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), so just to give a sense of how hot this thing is, a jalapeno sits at about 1000 SHU, while the Carolina Reaper sits at about 1.5 million SHU.
You think you’ve braved the spiciest dish at your local Indian restaurant but that’s a easier job than having your face melted off. I happen to have quite a high spice tolerance, I’ve conquered many dishes in southern India, but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I’d heard from a friend that you could get them for fairly cheap online, and I managed to find a nifty online store called Leo’s Pantry. It was quick, painless, only cost me seven dollars, and my Reaper arrived in the mail a few weeks later, ready to claim my soul.
Although I’m very stupid, I’m also not stupid. I knew that there could be health risks involved, so I thoroughly researched the pepper and all of the precautions that one must take when inserting such a lethal plant into one’s orifice.
If you are prone to asthma attacks or anxiety attacks, then this pepper is not for you. You could put yourself in serious danger so stay well away. If you have a low spice tolerance, then give this one a miss. How do you tell? Try eating a handful of Cayenne peppers and see how you feel. If it just tickles, then maybe you have a chance.
I was feeling pretty good about all this, I organised a time to live stream it on Facebook, because I’m a mega attention whore, and got on with my life, ignoring my impending doom lying in wait on the bookshelf. The day arrived, and I made sure I had eaten a large meal of fish and chips. Slow digesting food with lots of fat to prevent me injuring my stomach. I had eclipse mints, Gaviscon, painkillers, and milk. Milk as a cure to spice was always interesting to me. People always say to drink milk as opposed to water, but I never really asked myself why. Luckily, we have Google nowadays to do everything for us. Turns out milk contains casein, the antidote to capsaicin, which is what causes the heat in chillies. Capsaicin latches on to your taste buds and sends signals to your brain, telling it to experience heat and pain. This stops animals from eating the peppers but doesn’t stop foolish young whippersnappers. The casein in milk binds itself to the capsaicin, and tugs it free, neutralising it.
Some of you may have seen the video on my Facebook page, and if you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll have a blast. I had my flat mate time five minutes after I popped it in my mouth, until it ended, I wasn’t allowed to touch any relief.
So now, the part you skipped half this article to read.
At first it was fine, actually kinda tasty. I chewed it thoughtfully, then swallowed. By now it was getting pretty hot as I knew it would. Like having to work in retail, every second it got worse and worse. Your brain can only imagine levels of pain and heat that it has experienced before, so each time the pepper grew hotter I thought to myself, “surely this is it?” Dear God no. Before long I could barely speak. Tears were splurting out of my face, my eyes were a lovely shade of crimson, and I was drawing in ragged breaths like I was giving birth to knuckles the echidna.
I felt like I had just eaten out Satan’s asshole. When my flat mate informed me that I had a minute and thirty seconds to go, I swear I nearly leapt out of my chair and punted him across the room. Not only was it unbearable, it wouldn’t stop growing hotter.
Then, at the peak of my nightmare, the Carolina Reaper reached my stomach. I can’t think of any substance known to man that would cause more heat within a human body other than KJ Apa.
When the timer finally ended after twelve years, I gulped down the milk, but it would only provide a few seconds of relief before the pain returned. I tried the eclipse mints but legitimately couldn’t taste them. I popped a few Gaviscon, hoping it would cure my stomach, but honestly, I was at the stage where if there had happened to be a man made out of ice cream in the room, I would have gladly given him a blowjob.
Ten minutes and one litre of milk later, and my mouth and throat had finally calmed down. My stomach was wrought with red hot chains and would be for the next hour. However, I had done my research well, and eventually it passed, leaving me a shallow husk with only the memory of what a fool I’d been. The next morning in the bathroom I discovered I had turned into some kind of reverse dragon, but that was to be expected, and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.
Conquering the Carolina Reaper was definitely worth the respect I got. If you think you can handle this, I’d highly recommend giving it a try. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, but you feel a strong sense of accomplishment afterwards, which makes up for your failing grades.
Next Issue - Benchin’ It.