Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hot ChaCha!

Remember Lisa Whelchel from the 1980's TV sitcom "The Facts Of Life?" Me neither. Remember the "hot-saucing" controversy from 2004 involving the same Lisa Whelchel? Me neither, but apparently she's a bit of a religious nut and homeschooling advocate, and has promoted as a punishment for lying to put a drop or two of hot sauce on a child's tongue. Now as cruel as this might seem for most kids, for my son it's a big treat. Because of all of the brain stuff going on with him, he has what is described as Sensory Integration Disorder. His brain doesn't process well all of the various stimuli coming in. For some kids, this means they are hypersensitive to stimuli. Loud noises, harsh light, vigorous movement are all intolerable to them, and can cause them to freak out or just shut down. Sam is the opposite; he's hyposensitive. The way his PT describes it, it's as if every sensation is passing through a layer of cotton before it registers in his brain. So the things that set a hypersensitive kid off are the very things he craves. Flashing lights, loud sounds (he goes apeshit over fireworks), extreme movement (he could ride roller coasters all day long) all delight and excite him.

So back to the hot sauce. Our nanny, who's from El Salvador and has relatives in Mexico, brought some Tapatio to keep at the house for her food. She says that Sam saw her putting some on her food and wanted some too. She figured if she just gave him a little taste, he'd be turned off and quit asking. But like any other extreme stimuli, this was like gustatorial music to his brain, and he was instantly addicted. Well, not addicted exactly, but he asks for hot sauce with just about everything he eats. In the interest of preserving some of his stomach lining, we do limit how much he gets and we try as much as possible to dilute it with something milder.
Back when I lived in San Luis Obispo, I had several friends who were into really hot food. One friend used to say "if it doesn't make your face sweat, it's not worth eating." One night, we went out for Indian food with this same friend. He told the waiter, "make my dish as hot as you can make it." The waiter responded with a raised eyebrow. Three times, the waiter came back out from the kitchen and asked "are you sure you want it that hot?" Finally when the food came out the waiter told my friend, "it's not as hot as they can make it, but it's as hot as I can eat it." My friend ate every bite, mopping his face with his towel the whole time, and drinking 3 beers with dinner. "Wonderful, fabulous!" he said. According to his wife, he was sick all night.


Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I like food hot enough to make my eardrums burn and my eyes water. I once ate something so hot that my lips were chapped by the time I finished it. Heaven. Except that it burned at the other end, and my entire digestive tract was so sensitive that I couldn't even eat cinnamon for four months afterwards. But, oh Gawdess it was good at the time!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Well, you and Sam would have a good old time going out to eat.

Except that it burned at the other end,

My friends and I refer to that as "the Ring of Fire" (from the Johnny Cash song, of course).

11:47 AM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

One of my picante-loving friends also taught me a neat trick: to keep your fingers from burning when chopping up or handling very hot peppers dip your fingers in baking soda first.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I save my fingers with surgeons' gloves. Costco carries a lifetime supply for not much money.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha... hot black snakes!!!

Always a good time post pepper consumption.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Noreen said...

Well written article.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Thanks, Noreen!

5:02 PM  

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