Tell me this, how in the name of Jasus can burning the hole off yourself at the dinner table enhance the dining experience?
Lots of people in my family and a good few of my friends love hot and spicy food. This means that when I go for a meal with them they're all there merrily tucking into dishes like the Flaming Jalapeno Revenge of Ganesh with Extra Chili and there's me sweating in a corner over a namby-pamby Korma. While they all poke me with sticks and laugh at me. Fine, but I really struggle to see the appeal in eating overstrength toothpaste as the highlight of a social occasion.
Seriously, what's it all about? Can someone tell me how dripping sweat into a meal enhances the taste? What's to be gained by having to stop eating to blow your nose every 30 seconds? Why wolfing down the equivalent of a bowl of Deep Heat muscle rub is some people's idea of a good night out? Isn't food supposed to be enjoyable and not an endurance test?
I think it must be a macho thing myself. As in, not only am I richer and have the prettier wife, I shall now bolt down this triple-strength vindaloo without so much as blinking and furthermore, won't even deign to have diarrhoea afterwards. Pah!
I also hear that hot food is actually like a drug. The more you take of it the more you need to take to get the 'effect' next time, whatever the hell that might be, but presumably it's like having someone squirt acid down your throat with a fire hose.
I'm not completely sure this is genuinely true though. Occasionally, I have tried building my tolerance level and opted for the 'mild' dish at Indian restaurants, and despite a few dizzy spells and a glistening brow by the end of it, I came out unscathed at the other end and no incendiary farts escaped to terrorise the neighbourhood. It tricked me into a sort of confidence and next time, sufficiently emboldened, I went for something a little bit stronger. And alas, alas, I wound up up screaming with all my fillings in meltdown as restaurant staff ran to break open the emergency yogurt for me to bury my face in. That finished me with the hot food I'm afraid.
Listen, it's basically like this. Each to their own and all that, so you nutjobs can put salsa and tabasco all over your cornflakes if you like, but I'm having a salad and don't expect me to sympathise when some night you're out and your internal organs shrivel up and drop out your bums, s'all I'm saying. So there.