“Is that all I am?” The ghost pepper asks as she fumbles for a cigarette, standing in the alley behind a grocery store after yet another competition between the stockers to decide which pepper has the most punch. “Just something to be consumed by young men as a way to show off to their friends, while they chant ‘Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!’? Surely there is more to a vegetable’s life than this casual reduction to the searing sum of my spicy seeds. Shit. Gotta light?”
With the arrival of the ‘Dragon’s Breath’ pepper on the scene, the ongoing mutations of the Scotch bonnet, and the concerted efforts by bad hombres to make even badder habaneros, the culinary world finds itself once again grappling with its conflicted relationship to the pepper family.
“That is so fucking hot,” celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay says, as he licks his lips and wipes the sweat from his brow after sampling one of an array of sliced peppers laid out on a chopping board in front of him. Asked if he minds the fact that these peppers would probably rather be known for their flavour than their toxic ability to recreate a nuclear explosion in your mouth, Ramsay snorts.
“It’s a bloody pepper mate, don’t overthink it.”