Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Great Chili Debacle

Grilling Clip Art On Monday, being Labor Day, and like so many others across our great nation, we had a bar-b-que.  Excited to have finished my first BU assignments and finally have a day to relax, while eating some fabulous food and spending some time on a couple of my favorite hobbies i.e., blogging and crocheting, I had been looking forward to it all weekend, and was ecstatic when the day finally arrived.  However, often what we plan varies greatly from what actually occurs.  This is one of those stories.

Hawaii may have a lot of great food to offer, but one thing you will be hard pressed to find on the island is good Mexican food, especially compared to what we’re used to at home.  Recently while shopping at the Commissary, we found green Green Chili Clip Art chilies in the produce section.  We bought some, roasted them up and OMG they were amazing!  We decided that for our bar-b-que we would not only grill some more to serve with our steak (which is a surprisingly tasty combination), but we’d take it one step further and also throw in a little Pico de Gallo to go with it!  I’d been craving Pico for a while, and happily near the chilies I found jalapenos too!

With the menu decided, the stage is set, and here enters our guests.  (Sorry, I just finished reading Oedipus the King, for my BU class and it’s sort of rubbing off on my writing style.)  Our cast of characters for this particular afternoon, was small but fun.  Besides me and G, there was Reese (our downstairs neighbor and my very good friend, who’s husband is currently deployed) and Carbone (G’s friend from work who lives in the barracks and who’s fiancé lives on the mainland).  It’s like we’re a support group for people whose significant others are more than 6,000 miles away.  :)

Preparing for our fabulous feast was really a group effort.  G, Reese, and I chopped away, while later Cabone helped G grill the steaks.  I inadvertently ended up being responsible for both the chopping and de-seeding of the jalapenos and for the green chilies peeling their roasted skins off and de-seeding them as well, which I didn’t really think too much of at the time.  Unfortunately later, I thought about it a whole lot!  Oh, and I also mixed the Pico ingredients (including the fiery jalapenos) by hand.  I know, I know, but hindsight is always 20/20.

We sat down to eat, and that’s when I first noticed that my hands were burning.  Being from Arizona, I know first handFire Clip Art that chilies can not only burn your mouth, but really anything they touch.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make when chopping jalapenos is to forget and rub your eye.  OUCH!  So knowing this, I sucked it up and continued eating, believing it would go away soon.  Yeah, not so much.

Not only did it not go away, it began to gradually intensify, and honestly it hurt as much as when you burn yourself on the stove or iron.  The only difference was that it hurt ALL OVER my hands.  By this time it’s getting harder and harder to focus on anything because the pain is totally dominating my  senses.  Not to mention, using my hands is virtually impossible because any increase in pressure, like by holding a pen, or pushing the keys on my phone, only made the pain go up a notch. 

So Reese, being the sweet girl that she is, begins to search for remedies online.  At least I can take heart in knowing, that I’m not the only one who has found themselves in this situation.  There were numerous search results when she Googled “chili burn remedies.”  After reading some of the results out loud, I began trying some of them, sure that one would be the ticket to my burn-free salvation.

First though, I should say that what makes chili burn is Chemistry Compound Clip Art 2 something called capsaicin.  It’s a chemical compound that is not water soluble, hence why when you eat something hot, then drink water you get no relief.  It is however, soluble in fats and alcohol.  The first remedy we tried was washing my hands in vegetable oil.  Initially I was like, won’t that just sort of seal in the heat, but I couldn’t argue with the Chemistry of it all, so oil it was.  Too bad it didn’t work.

Next we tried, soaking my hands in milk for about 15 mMilk Black and White Clip Artinutes (the fat in the milk helps breaks down the capsaicin).  While    my hands were in the ice cold milk, they felt great, but shortly after taking them out, the burning started up again. This lead me to believe it wasn’t the milk providing the temporary relief, but the cold instead.

Then we tried rubbing them with salt.  I’m not sure why this one was supposed to work, but several people had success Salt Clip Art with it, and by this point I’m really getting desperate.  My hands, especially my thumbs, were red from the burn.  Reese, poured some good old Morton’s all over my hands, and I rubbed it in.  Again, no relief.  Although, I did notice that between the vegetable oil and the salt, my hands were really soft, so if at all nothing else at least I found a new a cheap home manicure treatment. :)

Through the course of the afternoon, we went on to try soaking my hands in alcohol, pouring lime and lemon juice on top of them (something about the acidity reducing the hold of the capsaicin), rubbing them in Crisco and finally rubbing them with aloe vera.  None of them brought me the relief I was so desperately seeking!  I briefly contemplated going to theFire Devil Clip Art urgent care, but realized I would just end up being in pain while sitting in the waiting room, and if I’m going to be in pain, I’d rather be at home.  So finally, Garret put a bunch of ice cubes in a huge Ziploc bag, a technique used as a last resort by some of the people we found online, and placed it on top of my hands.  While I sat in my recliner, frustrated I wasn’t able to blog or crochet, but instead just watch TV, I seriously realized in that moment, just how much I take my hands for granted. 

Fire Extinguisher Putting Out Fire Clip Art Finally, after hours and hours of pain, the burning began to slowly dissipate.  By nightfall I was able to crochet a little as long as I held my hook gently. 

There has been much debate since about the official cause of the burning.  Reese and I believe it to be a combination of the green chilies and jalapenos both.  Garret believes it was strictly the jalapenos.  Carbone, well, his only theory was that if he had handled either one, his rough, tough man hands, would not have responded the way mine did, and he would have been fine.  Don’t get me wrong Carbone’s a good guy, but the belief that a man could’ve handled it better and wouldn’t have been such a “girl” about it, made me want to run a jalapeño over a distinctly male body part to really test his theory. 

Whatever the cause, I think the reason why the countless remedies we tried didn’t work was because I didn’t begin trying them immediately after the burning began.  Finishing eating first, in the hopes it would just go away, was my biggest mistake.  Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, my advice would be, the second you feel it burn, or even just a tingle, take action! 

Smiley Face Yellow Clip Art

Needless to say, my Labor Day did not go as planned, but the upside is that I did eventually get rid of the burn, I have a new appreciation for my hands, a new respect for chilies, and a new manicure method to utilize.  All things considered, it could’ve been worse.


Anne said...

OWW! sorry about that tourture!

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