Monday, October 25, 2010

Jalapenos and other household hazards

I heard a few weeks ago on NPR that in Mexico, some people put cooking oil on their hands when handling chili peppers in order to protect themselves from the capsaicin. I have had unfortunate run-ins with this nefarious chili component in years past. I love making chili, so this easy remedy sounded like the answer to all of my pepper problems.

In fact, I tried it just after hearing about it. And sure enough, voila! it worked like a charm. I even put it through a truly rigorous trial and handled the peppers as I was cutting them! No burning! Success! That is, at least, until I washed my hands and handled the unwashed-jalapeno-cutting knife. :-(

So anyway, today I decided to make my signature chili. I always make a gigantic batch (8 cans of beans! 3 cans of tomatoes!) and therefore am not shy about adding plenty of jalapenos.

Today I searched the fridge and found only 1. :-( Oh well, it was nice and juicy and I just love that little zing! I neglected to use the oily hand method, and opted instead for a plastic bag. Unfortunately, this gave me less control of the knife, and as mentioned, the pepper was juicy and by the way, did you know that juicy peppers can squirt when cut?
"AUGH! Mr. A.H.! I just got squirted in the eyes with capsaicin!!!"
I ran to the sink and quickly doused myself with water. I could tell that my supportive and very sensitive husband was suppressing a laugh. I then ran to the bathroom sink, because of course that water is much better for this type of emergency. Mr. A.H. quickly followed. I looked up after my curative efforts and *FLASH* Mr. A.H. to the rescue!

Instant karma, however, is still alive and well:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My sweet Gram passed away on October 13.
I'm sure that nothing I could think to write here would come close to expressing how terribly I miss her, or what an amazing woman she is. I find traces of her in most every aspect of my life. She really influenced me tremendously, and I am so grateful for her stalwart example.
Gram passed away one week after her 98th birthday. She was never one that I would refer to as 'old'. That just was not a word that came close to describing her. She was so full of vim, so active and hard working her entire life. She was always actively engaged in some good cause or other. She is so loved by all who know her.
My Gram is such a quick witted, funny person. She has the best memory of anyone I've ever known. She could still recite The Fox and the Crow, in French, that she learned more than 80 years ago in school. Her gems of wisdom continually come to mind as I go throughout the day. It has always been that way, I have always greatly admired her.
She always loved learning. A few nights before she passed away, she had seen a television program about molecular biology and mold and had called up my Mom to warn her that if she ever found mold on a loaf of bread, to throw it out because the whole thing would be contaminated!
I loved walking into her home. She was always so happy to see us, and always made us feel like we made her day just by being there. She would tell us stories about her life, the people she loved and knew, and she could remember the names of all involved! She remembered names of neighborhood figures she knew as a child, the grocer, her teachers, her friends and acquaintances. I am amazed by her brilliant mind!
I have so many stories I love and charish about her. I couldn't have asked her a better grandmother. In deed, she certainly was, and is, the best grandmother ever. I miss you, Gram.