WHEN I WAS A KID, MY DAD WOULD POP HABANERO AFTER HABANERO INTO HIS MOUTH without so much as a grimace. He explained that he’d eaten so much hot sauce that his taste buds had been burned clean off. It scared me away from spicy foods for my entire childhood, not realizing that he could taste every bit of it and was, in fact, in agony.
I tried to imagine what my dad found so funny about the joke that he would put himself through that pain. But with a mouth full of Naga Vipers, recently the World Record Holder for the spiciest pepper in existence, I couldn’t exactly judge him.