Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Real Life
In Real Life, there are generally three classes of spice substances that can be considered in the realm of Blazing Inferno (each links to the Other Wiki
Unlike the latter two, capsaicin is virtually insoluble in water, so washing your mouth with water, soda, or tea after you bite more than you can chew is rather ineffective. It is, however, readily dissolved in fats or ethanol, so a glass of non-skim milk or a shot of liquor would make you feel better almost instantly.
There are several real-life "hot sauces" that aren't actually sauces at all. They're either novelty bottles of pure capsaicin in a vegetable oil carrier, or they're "Food-Service Grade capsaicin", intended for use only as an ingredient, not a condiment. Such "sauces" can be lethally toxic when consumed at condiment levels. Don't just take our word for it. Here's the MSDS for the stuff.
It bears noting that while there are innumerable brands of hot sauce out there with names like Torch, Hell's Breath, and the like, many are actually the same sauce - as in "made at the same time, using the same recipe, by the same manufacturer, just put into bottles with different labels". This naturally hasn't stopped hot sauce aficionados from getting into huge fights over which is the best.
It's also worth noting that Capsaicin and Allyl isothiocyanate have very different chemical mechanisms and very different results when consumed. Capsaicin produces a burning sensation on the surfaces it touches (lips, tongue, skin); Allyl isothiocyanate instead produces a vapor that attacks the nasal passages and sinuses and is a lachrymator note
. A person who is adapted to capsaicin may find themselves overwhelmed by a relatively mild dose of Allyl isothiocyanate, and vice versa.
Allyl isothiocyanate (Horseradish, Wasabi, Mustard)
- A restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida, was once shut down by the Leon County Health Department on charges of toxic chemical contamination (and the owner cited for Reckless Endangerment) after they began featuring food that had been spiced up with one of the pure capsaicin "sauces"
- Enjoy this profanity-laden anecdote about food allegedly including some of that sauce.
- In Minneapolis, there's a place called Marla's Caribbean. It serves Ghost Pepper Wings - buffalo wings made with ghost pepper sauce. Bear in mind, ghost pepper is usually applied with an eyedropper.
- The phaal, a British speciality whose selling point is that it's basically chicken in Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce.
- Most curry houses don't actually list it on the menu but will serve it if you specifically ask for it; the staff will look on warily as you eat. If it's anything to go by, it's hotter than the vindaloo, and even that's overpowered to the tongues of many. According to Jasper Carrott, the phaal is so called because the usual response after eating it is "FFFFFFFFFFFFFF... I'll be all right...". The Geordies attempted to one-up it with the even hotter 'magmaloo', which according to Carrott comes in a bowl made of Space Shuttle re-entry tiles, comes with a side order of Savlon, and has a tendency to melt spoons. And fillings.
- Another legend is that "phaal" is a Bengali word meaning "stupid drunk white man".
- There's a curry house in Edinburgh that held a phaal-eating contest that ended up hospitalising several of its contestants. Said curry house has clippings of the newapaper story in its window as advertising. Possibly the only time "our food induces vomiting" has been cited as a positive quality.
- Jeremy Clarkson once wrote a blog article called Help, quick - I've unscrewed the top on a ticking time bomb in which he ingested one of these and rapidly realized his error.
Burns victims often say that when they are actually on fire, there is no pain. It has something to do with the body pumping out adrenaline in such vast quantities that the nerve endings stop working. Well, it wasn’t like that for me. The pain started out mildly, but I knew from past experience that this would build to a delightful fiery sensation. I was even looking forward to it. But the moment soon passed. In a matter of seconds I was in agony. After maybe a minute I was frightened that I might die. After five I was frightened that I might not.
- Certain parts of Africa cover up the low quality of their beef by cooking it in a concoction known as "pepper soup" using small wild peppers which seem to only be used for that purpose. It is successful in covering the taste of the beef, as well as everything else for the next week.
- Korean kimchi. Several varieties are just painful to even smell, let alone eat. South Korea has very low rates of intestinal parasite infection and tooth decay, but also high rates of stomach cancer. Coincidence?
- Mapo Doufu, a Chinese course, which That Other Wiki describes as "powerfully spicy" (using those exact words).
- It's popular enough in Japan to show up as the go-to example for hotly spiced food in anime, manga and visual novels, such as in Angel Beats!! and Fate/stay night.
- Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, who specializes in Sichuan cooking, usually toned down his mapo doufu when he made it to better suit the palates of the (mostly Japanese) judges. In the King of Iron Chefs tournament, when he took on Kobe in Battle Tokyo X (a type of crossbred pork), he decided that since it might be his final battle, he'd go all out and make his mapo doufu how how he'd have it, i.e. extra spicy. One of the cameramen who stood too close to it started coughing just from the fumes and had to pull away. Sumo yokozuna Akebono (who, perhaps significantly, is American—he's from Hawaii) enjoyed it though.
- Sichuan cuisine is infamous and a local joke says the people there essentially worry that a dish isn't spicy enough, though the peppers responsible for the heat (and the blood red color of dishes that use lots of it) also have a numbing effect — this has to do with the liberal use of Sichuan pepper, which has small black hot seeds in a deep red leathery shell that has a numbing effect on the palate.
- One traditional variant of "Chinese Chili Chicken" requires you to heat a pot of peppers to boiling point, then cook the chickens in it. It basically fries the chicken in chili oil, with little else seasoning it. Diners are expected to eat only the chicken, but most people eat the peppers anyways.
- Hunan cuisine is related, if differing slightly in the fine details; Sichuan's numbing heat involves the use of Sichuan peppercorns, whereas Hunan cuisine has no compunctions about constantly reminding its consumers of its spiciness by virtue of pure chili volume.
- In 2007, part of central London was evacuated when fumes from a Thai restaurant cooking up a large batch of chilli sauce sparked fears of a chemical weapon attack.
- A few manufacturers of overtly spicy sauces:
- Blair's, who created the one that illustrates the main page (and the maker of the sauce described in the anecdote linked near the top). Best part? It's not even their strongest. They even made a limited edition product with pure capsaicin, reaching 16 million Scoville units - several times hotter than pepper spray, which usually tops at 5 million, because it dilutes pure cap for the ease of use.
- Maitland, Florida restaurant Tijuana Flats, whose hottest sauce (Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally - Chet's Gone Mad) is about 1.5 million Scoville units, more than enough to actually feel burning on your skin if you placed some on there.
- Nicko McBrain's restaurant Rock N' Roll Ribs (also in Florida). The escalation even uses songs from Nicko's band to lampshade: it started with Mild, Medium, Hot, Run to the Hills. Then it became Mild, Medium, Hot, Die with your Boots On (which replaced RTTH after one complained it wasn't hot enough), and Heaven Can't Wait.
- Many restaurants specializing in hot wings will offer some sort of challenge to anyone who can eat a certain number of their hottest wings in a fixed amount of time. Some up the ante by saying that the customer is not allowed to consume anything else within five minutes that would counter the burn.
- Wasabi sauce is another notable variant. A Japanese team won the 2011 Ig-Nobel prize for chemistry for patenting a fire alarm for the deaf that sprays out aerosolized wasabi. The smell of wasabi can wake up sleepers in under 10 seconds. While clever, such an invention is sadly kneecapped by wasabi's notoriously short shelf-life.
- Horseradish, western cousin of wasabi. Especially one sauce used in Ukraine - it is mixed with Russian Mustard, which is damn hot already and an extra helping of salt. It does taste good with borscht, if you apply it in a thin layer on bread.
- Mustards usually don't go as hot as pepper-based sauces, but Russian mustard takes the cake. Even in small quantities it's a fine (but not nice) cure for snuffle. It is because Russian mustard is a) made with brown (AKA Indian) mustard seed, which is more potent, and b) because it is traditionally brewed with boiling water, which extracts much more of the active compound. A half-teaspoon of a good Russian mustard will make your eyes pop out.
- To unsuspecting continentals, especially Germans and Frenchmen, English mustard can do this. Americans raised on that bright yellow concoction hot dogs are slathered in are also susceptible. Those that aren't warned off by the vivid yellow color tend to sorely regret applying the same quantities of English mustard as they would of their native blends.