Sunday, August 22, 2010

man vs. food

We spent last week at rustic Camp Mather in the Sierras, and on our way home, we stopped at Shorty's in Escalon for a late lunch. This was an extravagance on my part, as for the first time I refused to take the bag lunches you can get from Camp Mather for the trip home to San Francisco. I always hate those sandwiches and have bad luck with the fruit and chips, always ending up with a banana and plain potato chips while the children refuse to trade for their barbecue flavored chips and tasty apples.

A group of middle aged male motorcyclists, two of them trailed by young sons, came in and sat near us. I admired their rides, which were all Harleys save for one Indian. One of these fellows regaled the others at top volume. He bragged of creating an event: "It's called 'Man Vs. Food.'" Evidently the participants are dared to eat certain extreme foods. The loudmouth's creation was "a burger, but you know how a burger has a bun? For the bottom part, I use a grilled cheese sandwich, and for the dome, I used a ham and cheese. And in between I have four patties. And roasted vegetables." Mayonnaise figured into this monster as well; Iris thought he said he used an entire pound of mayo on each of these things.

The fellow beamed all around, looking for admiration and awe. Not enough seemed to come, so he went on. A colleague of his created another sandwich for the Man vs. Food boondoggle. This other sandwich was modest in its proportions, but "he puts in a serrano chili, a habanero chili, and a ghost chili." Pause. "A serrano chili has about 50 more scovilles than a regular jalapano pepper, you know, scovilles is the measure of heat. A habanero has about 150 scovilles. The ghost pepper has over a million and a half scovilles! In India they use it to keep elephants away from their crops. They rub it on the fenceposts. He had to send away for it, and when it came, before he opened it, he put on gloves and took some plastic wrap. He put plastic wrap on his face and his arms and on everything the pepper might touch. Then he cut open the package. We put a whole one of those in the sandwich. We have to get them to sign a legal release before they can eat it." At this point his iPhone rang, and we settled our bill.

In the car, the Sober Husband asked me, "Do you believe in that ghost pepper thing?"

"I don't believe anything has over a million scovilles," I said. Back in the day, when fancy hot peppers were all the rage, I subscribed to "Chile Pepper" magazine and took up salsa making, even taking a pilgrimage to a particular restaurant in New Mexico owned by a salsa guru I admired.

"That guy was a loudmouth!" said Iris uber Alles.

Back at home I looked it up, and sad to say the loudmouth knows more about peppers than I do. There is such a thing as a ghost pepper, and at least once a laboratory rated this Indian pepper at just over one million scovilles, although it is more often considered to be nearer 800,000 scovilles. I find it depressing to be reminded of how out-of-date my knowledge is by a random braggart in the middle of nowhere.


NonymousGoatsePants said...

You learn lots of interesting things eating meat! See what you're missing?

robin sher said...

I love your Mather posts - so how was the week? Was the squirrel whisperer on duty??

the Drunken Housewife said...

The squirrel whisperer mostly ignored the squirrels at Camp Mather... because she was all about horses and bats! She rode a horse named Cisco four times and went bat watching (which meant standing between the cabins & the bath house and watching for bats). smooches, c.

Carroll said...

So, this must mean your ankle's doing OK after all, yes? Right on target for the Man!

Claire M. Johnson said...

Take comfort in the fact that this guy will keel over from a heart attack in roughly five years, while you'll probably live until you're ninety. Something tells me you come from a line of people who live into their 100's.

the Drunken Housewife said...

My ankle is on the mend, but still painful & visibly swollen. It improved a LOT at Camp Mather... and then I twisted it when my bike skidded in some deep gravel. So stupid!! And then weirdly the day we came home from Camp Mather, my ankle broke out in a rash. So now the inside hurts & the outside hurts as well. On the other hand, I'm walking without crutches, just taking ibuprofen for pain & icing it occasionally.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Claire, I wish I could be so sanguine. I have such a checkered medical history though --- I should write about my meningitis syndrome sometime here (I have a rare syndrome where I often get aseptic meningitis). On top of that neurological issue, I have cardiac issues: I have an arrhythmia & had a serious infection of the heart once.

On the bright side, I have super fabulous low blood pressure & low cholesterol. So let's hope for the best and aim to be feisty old ladies.