Project Gastronome, Day 9: Habanero


So far, all of the foods in Project Gastronome have been merely odd, but tonight we take a turn for the extreme.  Tonight I will be eating a habanero pepper.  Actually, two of them, because that's how many Courtney bought for me at the store.  The nice thing about this one is that it should be easy to write up, since everybody already knows what a habanero is, and getting one doesn't require visiting a store any more exotic than WalMart.  The bad thing about this one is that I expect it's going to hurt a lot.

I'm sure that habaneros have been around for a long time, but the first I remember hearing about them was about ten years ago, when they started being sold and billed as the hottest peppers that were widely available commercially.  Since then, there have been a few peppers that have been rated as hotter, but the habanero is still near the top.

If you're not familiar with the Scoville Scale, it is how they measure the heat of peppers, based on how much capsaicin (the chemical that gives them their heat) is present.  The picture below is too small to see very well, but if you click on it, you'll get a picture of the scale.  A jalapeño is 2,500-8,000 Scoville units.  A habanero: 100,000-350,000.
It's getting a little bit late, and I have to pack for a trip tomorrow, so I'm going to keep this more brief than usual.  I'll just say that I ate the peppers about 3 hours before I wrote this sentence, and my throat still kind of burns.  BUT!  Well, first let me set up some background.

Some of you know this, others probably didn't, but I used to have a few body piercings.  Oh, they're gone now, and they weren't in places you'd have seen if you worked with me, but they were there.  When people found out, one of the most frequently asked questions was, "Didn't that hurt?" to which my favorite answer was a completely stone-faced "Yes."  Here's the thing about the pain, though - it's immediate, it's sharp, and after the initial stab it kind of throbs for a while, but it also brings an immediate rush of adrenaline and endorphins like you've never experienced.

The same thing happened while I was eating the peppers.  It hurt so much, but as I rode through it, my brain went to this really excellent place.  The pain subsided, but the calm remained.  I was breathing easier, thinking clearly, and kind of euphoric.  It hurt, but I would do it again.  Much like the piercings...


Roy B. said...

Best video yet!! I watched it w/ the girls. Meranda and I were dying when you laughed at yourself for mentioning that Jack was not in camera range... Callie was clueless.

We ALL laughed as you ate the peppers. I'd say it was 50/50 between your reaction and Blake's.

I laughed when you told Ava to eat her cookie because I know that's not exactly what you wanted to say!

Without crossing the line into the disgusting, you MUST post something about the effects as those little buggers work their way through, and out of, your system!

Good stuff, Danny!

Matt said...

Yeah, I'm worried about the morning after effects for you as well. You didn't seem to chew them up very much.

Danny said...

I'm driving to Dallas tomorrow. I probably should have thought this through a little better...

Anonymous said...

Definitely the best video yet. Fielding questions from kids while in pain--that's always fun. Totally entertaining, thank you!
--Emily O.

Anonymous said...

My brother bought an ornamental pepper plant one time. The little peppers looked a lot like habanero, except multi-colored and smaller. Well, after a few drinks, we decided to see if they were edible. It was much like habanero, except also waxy and oily. It seemed like it made the burn last even longer. I just tell you this because you said you'd do it again. Might as well up the ante. By the way, I'm still not sure if you're supposed to eat ornamental peppers. Jessica Q (does this count as my food story to get in the door for Project Gastronome's Grand Finale?)

Danny said...

Emily - Ava is my super-sensitive one. I fully expected to have to comfort her during this. "No, sweetheart, Daddy's not angry, he just put something really stupid in his mouth."

Jessica - It counts for me. It's an interesting question you raise, re: ornamental vs. edible. I'm sure that the ornamental purple cabbage you see planted as landscaping filler is probably edible, but it's not exactly bred for deliciousness. I think I could take the heat and oiliness, but the waxiness may bother me.

Anonymous said...


I agree, the "Jack off" comment was hilarious. Doubly considering your kids paid exactly zero attention to it.

Watching that made me think of the Simpsons episode where Homer eats the hot chili. Did you trip?

Finally, I'm reminded of a time at one of the Big Stinkin' festivals when Tyler got a basket of the Jabanero Wings at BW3. I ate one and immediately wanted to shoot my own face off with a shotgun. It was hours before the burning left my lips/mouth.

Danny said...

That's what I thought of, too! (Once I had recovered, that is.) If you look at that Scoville scale I posted, one of the peppers that's even hotter is called the Infinity Chile, which made me think of Insanity Peppers. I did not trip, but maybe I needed to eat more of them.

Ali said...

omg. the video is hysterical, but kyle suggesting that the best remedy for eating a hot pepper would be "immediately [shooting his] my own face off with a shotgun," might have made me pee my pants.

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