Sunday, May 5, 2013

What We Do For Love

I'm a big fan of pickled sweet cherry peppers.  I love the way they pop open in my mouth, and I love the sweetness and tartness and spiciness all combined.  Simply put, they're wonderful.

There are, to be noted, different kinds of peppers.  There are different kinds of cherry peppers, for that matter.  Some are sweeter than others, while some will downright set your tongue on fire. 

Long ago, I had a girlfriend who was trying to do right by me.  To her credit, she'd paid attention on a visit to a salad bar, and she'd noted my love for pickled sweet cherry peppers.  Unfortunately she'd only caught the "cherry peppers" part of the description--understandable, since that was, in fact, what was listed on the salad bar's label.

When I came to visit the girlfriend (and her parents), then, she was proud to present me with my special gift: cherry peppers.  Fresh cherry peppers, incidentally, that she'd bought in the produce aisle at the grocery store.  They weren't pickled.  They weren't particularly sweet, either.  They were, in fact, rather spicy.

Now, I've also always been a fan of hot peppers when added to particular dishes.  Jalapenos, for example, make a good salsa great.  Habaneros, likewise, when added with extreme care, improve nearly every chili recipe. Eating hot peppers raw, by themselves, though, is something that normally makes me question the eater's sanity.

So, there I was.  I was meeting the girlfriend's parents for the first time.  They were sitting across from me at the dinner table, looking for reasons why I shouldn't be dating their daughter.  Their daughter, pride of their life, apple of their eyes, meanwhile, was overjoyed in her ability to provide me with my favorite food.

Only it wasn't my favorite food.

Seriously, now, what would you do?

I ate the damn peppers.

Ow, ow, and ow ow.  They were hot.  I've eaten a raw jalapeno or two on a sort of dumb-ass college students' bet, but those cherry peppers seemed to burn more, at least as a matter of quantity consumed over time.  I carefully wiped my eyes with my napkin, not my hand, as the tears trickled down.  Meanwhile, I pretended to be a hot cherry pepper connoisseur from way back.




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