Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Fire

Today after meeting with my team, we all scattered to the four corners of Portland. I needed to go over to the seminary, so I decided to eat at this little Mexican place just off the highway. The last time I ate there the woman who served me spoke no English, and she felt that I needed a strong cup of coffee and provided it for free with my meal. Then she watched me carefully until I drank it.

Today I had a server who spoke fluent English. I gave him my order, then noticed that I could try "Fried Jalapenos" for only one dollar. I told him that I wanted an order of them. He looked me up and down and then said, "You mean you want some jalapeno poppers, right?"

"No," I said. "I want to try the fried jalapenos."

He shrugged and rang me up.

The fried jalapenos, when they came, were sort of like french fries. The jalapenos has been dropped whole into the boiling fat and then put in a sack. I took a bite off the tip, and it wasn't spicy at all. I took a bite toward the middle and it burned, but not too bad. I know that the seeds are what make it hot, and there are more as you move toward the stem. But I theorized that the frying process had somehow mildified them.

So I popped the rest of it into my mouth.

And it burned like the devil on Judgment Day. It was an eternal fire that followed that pepper all the way down.

My digestive system started sending emergency messages to my brain.

Digestion System: Someone is trying to poison us!

Brain: Remain calm, it's just a jalapeno.

Digestion: It burns like hot oil!

Brain: I admit that the jalapeno is fried.

Digestion: We're going to expel it!

Gag Reflex: Preparing to disgorge in three... two..

Brain: ABORT! ABORT! Do not... REPEAT... do not disgorge. We are in a restaurant. Can you please try to be civilized for once?

Digestion: It burns! It burns!

Brain: Feet and hands, find us something to douse this fire!

We eventually found some sour cream, cheese and water. The burn wore off in about fifteen minutes. My taste returned in under three minutes, so that was a plus. I shoveled Mexican food into my digestive system to keep the peppers down.

All in all, an excellent meal.