Omnivore - Heat, milk and oral jouissance

Eat those chillies and shuttup

I was engaging my addiction — eating at Spoon's eastside location — a few nights ago when a nearby table of five began chanting an annoying mantra I've heard in restaurants for years:

"It's so spicy! Ow, it's so spicy! I didn't know it was going to be this spicy! Ow, it's so spicy! I can't eat it! My mouth burns! It's so spicy!" (Repeat.)

Spoon's staff all but physically examines diners' tongues in order to ascertain tolerance of chili heat. They always explain that they offer dishes with mild, hot and "Thai hot" sauces. Other restaurants do the same thing. But it doesn't seem to matter. People still wave their hands in front of their mouths and guzzle water and then recite the Mantra of the Blistered Tongue.

Over the years, I've dined with many friends who, as we settled into our chairs, announced that they hoped the food was "not too spiiiiiicy."

"Why did you want to come here if you don't like spicy food?" I'd ask.

"Oh," they'd invariably say, "I love spicy food. I just don't like it too spicy."

"Too spicy" of course always turned out to be anything hotter than Taco Bell seasonings.

Anyway, here's what to do, instead of waving your hands and shouting. Ask for a glass of milk. I'm always amazed how many people don't know this. Milk will almost instantly stop the burning. There are other remedies, including increasing the amount of rice you mix with the sauce, but milk works best. Cecil Adams, author of "The Straight Dope" explained why long ago.

But, really, learn to enjoy the pain. It's all about oral jouissance, baby.