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Friday, 13 September 2013

The Chilli Day of Reckoning

The Chilli day of reckoning had arrived, and fortuitously ( or not, as it turned out) it was Friday 13th. September 20..13.  Yes, it was a bad plan from the start.

 Jay, from the Clifton Chilli Club turned up to BBC Radio Bristol to present Steve Lefevre and myself with a beautiful second-breakfast plate of chillies which we were to consume, live , on air.

Second breakfast. After a strategic large bowel of milky semolina
Jay is a nutter. He showed us a mean red looking ******* of a chilli, called the Trinidad Scorpion, hottest chilli known to man ( I think?). 1.5 million-2million scovilles. It's top right hand corner, dark red, and you can't quite see that it has a genuine sharp 'tail' on the end.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, yes?...
 Jay, it turns out, had eaten FOUR of these on Saturday and laughed in the face of the Million Scoville Dorset Naga (nuzzling next to the Scorpion on the left, orange) that I had pledged to put through my digestive system in my ridiculous bid to join the 'Million Scoville Club'*


There was a bit of civilised conversation between John Darvall and Jay  and his wife Alice about the flavour and economy of chillis, and suchlike ( the West is an unlikely hub for chilli-gormets and gor-madmen, as it turns out, and the Clifton Chilli Club is a red-hot organisation of which Bristol should be proud). Then there was a break for Bob Marley's One Love, with the ironic (in the circumstances) chorus line "Feel Alright", and Steve LeFevre and I were shoved on air.

It started off quite gormet and posh, talking of 'earthy flavours', with a bit of chilli tasting, then we got to the business. Steve and I had started off competitive but got increasingly more chivalrous as the extent of the pain we were about to put ourselves through became apparent.

In the end, we jointly did the 1 Million Scoville Dorset Naga, and you can hear our restrained reaction, live, on Radio Bristol

..Yes!     -With fellow (also stronger) victor, Steve Lefevre
It was quite an experience. The eating alone was painful enough, then comes the shakes, the sweating, the running eyes and nose ( not great live on air) , and a strange euphoric high breaking through all that discomfort like a sunrise through rainclouds and other poetic stuff like that. That's why Chillies are so addictive; however painful they are, they are strangely exhilarating and make you feel most definitely 'alive'.  I'm very grateful to Radio Bristol for letting us out of the studio shortly after the chilli had gone down however.

The rest of the day was... interesting. My staff, constituents, and constituency businesses ( yes, you know who you are ) were very tolerant of periods of distracted pain, the odd sudden absence and a very contorted speech at the end of the evening. However, I can completely recommend pushing yourself to your capsicum limits ( er, safely!) and eating more chillis. The proven health benefits are numerous, and however much it hurts even if you do it stupidly like this radio presenter and politican, it does make you feel invigorated, purged of any lingering lurgey and re-energised. As my old swimming coach used to say, 'no pain, no gain'.   I'm not sure a Dorset Naga is always necessary, but a nice safe bit of chilli on your meal is proven to do nothing but good. Enjoy!

* Scoville is the unit of heat of a chilli. Tabasco sauce is about 5,000 scovilles. Some zeros short of the 1,000000 I was about to attempt. Just saying.

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