Scoville limit

Posted on July 23, 2009 by Steve

Tonight at a Thai place on Cary Street in Richmond I made some good progress in building up my heat tolerance. The menu offered five levels, the highest three were "Hot," "Thai hot" and "Make me cry." Cute, and not as condescending as the usual American/Thai divisions. 

We ordered three dishes for the table, two hot and one was to be Thai hot, but the server talked us down to 3.5 on their scale. My wife's tastes usually make me feel like a wuss, so I was happy to save face by taking his advice.

When the food arrived, I began by tucking into the hottest dish. Despite my hunger, it was unpleasant. Great flavor, but just too hot to enjoy. My nose, in addition to being nearly useless at its olfactory function, has the added disutility of running at the slightest hint of spice. So my usual m.o. at a Thai place is chugging ice water and ruining napkins.

This time I tried a new tack. I didn't drink anything, and kept at the hot food as fast as my chopstick skills would allow. Before long, I had gotten used to it and the other dishes tasted tame. By the end of the meal, even the hot dish was delicious, and at last the melted icewater was a perfect dessert.

I should admit that I was helped a bit by the episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History with which I passed today's commute. The thought of the miserable soldiers languishing on the front during Operation Barbarossa made a little sweat seem pretty bearable. We'll see if that's enough to get me past the ring of fire.