Last night I was one hot mess. Literally.

one hot mess

Last night I was one hot mess.  Literally.  Trying a dish from Burkina Faso* called “Riz Gras” had me in the kitchen with bags of ice on my face while Scott googled “what to do when you eat a habanero pepper.”   It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly didn’t feel good.

What I assume happened was that I used my hands to remove the seeds from the peppers.  The oils from the pepper spread to my face and neck as well before the burning action started.  At first it wasn’t so bad, then the pain started building and building.  Once it did, there was no turning back.

We found out that the only thing that works to neutralize the oil are dairy products like milk, yogurt, and sour cream.  Oh yeah, and waiting it out while you’re left feeling like your face is going to burn off.  Scott wanted to take a picture of me with Yoplait Light Red Velvet Cupcake yogurt smeared all over my face but I wouldn’t let him.  I’ll show you my cooking failures, but I won’t let you see me like that.  Call me vain if you wish.

I knew when I started this project that not every dish would turn out the way I wanted it to, but I never imagined a failure like this.  I swore off this crazy project for a couple of hours while I was in a pepper spray-like pain.  Yes, it took at least that long for the pain to subside.  What the hell was I thinking?  Who is stupid enough to work with peppers without checking their rating on the Scoville scale?  That would be me (just in case you’re wondering, a habanero ranks nearly as high as pepper of death, the ghost pepper, as well U.S.-Grade Pepper Spray).   Who knew?!  Silly me for not doing my homework.  NOW I know.

The upside?  Between the capsaicin in the pepper and all the dairy products I smeared in my face to neutralize the oil I think I may have just discovered an inexpensive way to give myself a chemical peel at home.  I should have a fresh glow for quite a while now.  If you see me, let me know how great I look.  I paid dearly for it.

Burkina Faso I will come back to you.  I may be one hot mess, but it’s not your fault. I’ll make a dish that does your country justice.  I don’t want this to be my only memory of you.  But I’ll never touch a habanero pepper again.


*My friend Amy inspired me to try a recipe from Burkina Faso this week.  To celebrate her site’s tenth birthday, she opted to run an online fundraiser to purchase wells in Burkina Faso for clean drinking water.  That’s just one example of how big her heart is.  I want to be like her when I grow up. (I donated a small amount to the cause and you can too: Well of Hope).

chile temperature chart_04


  1. Susie says

    You should wear gloves when handling hot peppers. If it makes you feel better, I’ve heard a similar story involving feminine products…

  2. mary says

    I learned the hard way myself that you definitely need to use gloves when handling hot peppers. I cut up a bunch of fresh jalapenos for home made poppers. My hands burned for days afterwards. I can’t imagine how painful it was on your face.

  3. Mandi says

    Just his past week, I handled a ghost pepper and forgot to wash my hands. Not thinking, I rubbed my right eye. Pure fiery hell for several minutes. The closest I hope to ever get pepper spray in my eyes!

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