But what happens when a mild-mannered journalist goes toe to toe with the spicy behemoth? Not by eating 60, but rather by attempting to consume a single ghost chili in one sitting at the behest of his editor. Said journalist was not me; it was AP writer Tim Sullivan. It all started out innocently enough with a single pepper and the necessary accompaniments of an open beer, a bowl of yogurt and a few slices of bread. For the first few seconds Sullivan felt fine. Sadly his fireproof palate was short-lived.
He describes the "gastronomic mugging" that seared his tongue and sparked a coughing fit. Since Sullivan had to finish the pepper, he soldiered on started chewing quickly and swallowing. As if it needed to pointed out, he notes this is not the way ghost peppers are normally eaten. And with good reason, Sullivan details a sinus clearing, eye-watering, searing heat that none of his coolants seemed to help with except the beer. After 20 minutes he had recovered the ability to speak and lived to tell the tale and called his wife who laughed at him.
What's the hottest thing you've ever eaten? And what are your favorite ways to put out the fire? I'll go first. Once I was in a Peruvian restaurant and ordered my ceviche picante and was not satisfied with the heat level. When I asked for some aji, or hot sauce, and the waiter brought it in the back, I should have known something was wrong.
When he returned the entire plate was covered in little ribbons of hot pepper. In the spirit of he-men, gringos and hot pepper lovers everywhere I knew I had to eat the whole thing. Man was it hot. I felt as if a red-hot poker had been driven into the center of my tongue. My lips burned so much that when I went to the bathroom to splash water on my face and rinse my mouth out they were an angry, inflamed red.