Burn Notice

The other day I wrote about harvesting a garden. Part of that agricultural wonder was a massive amount of hot peppers. Like more peppers than any family—or neighborhood—could possibly consume.

This, predictably, led to me making lots of hot pepper dishes. To the point of pain. Now, I’m not sure what classification of hot peppers these little darlings were, but after a full 48 hours of burning skin I can only assume they were of the Holy-Christ-These-Are-Hot genus.

Here’s the story: last week, we had a friend over for dinner. I started out with homemade salsa (wicked hot), which was followed by seared scallops and roasted shrimp (insane hot) with a roasted potato/corn relish (Hades hot). Not the most balanced of menus, I’ll admit. Separately, everything would have been great—taken together, however, it proved a capsaicin calamity for my fingertips.

I went to bed with my hands ablaze and quickly found myself unable to sleep because of the pain. I’m guessing I was the only person in Manhattan at 1 a.m. pouring half-and-half over my hands. I did this twice more in hopes that it would magically erase what felt like volcanic eruptions emanating from my epidermis (alliteration, how I love thee!).

I awoke the next morning to flashes of phantom pain. Undeterred, I went to the gym, and after a vigorous 8-mile run (read: kinda-respectable 2-mile jog), I hit the steam room. This apparently aggravated whatever dormant capsaicin remained because not only did my hands instantly flare up again, they then proceeded to scream—literally, scream—at me for the remainder of the day. And this is what they screamed:

“Hey, Top Chef, try wearing gloves next time you chop habaneros!”

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