Post # 357 My Niece’s Jalapenos

April 1, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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My niece and I share a bond:  we were born on the same day, 25 years apart.  She was a special little girl right from the start with an amazingly loving heart, and a wicked sense of fun and humor.  The light of her life was her older brother, but when he got on her nerves, she let him know it, even when she was a babe in arms.  And she was never a very fussy eater.

When she was very young, she developed a short-lived allergy to chocolate.  I always felt a little sorry for her over that.  Our family lore was steeped in chocolate.  So every time I made chocolate chip cookies, I pulled out some of the dough and made a dozen cookies just for her.  Her older brother would get so jealous that he’d try to sneak them away from her.  She caught him every time and told on him every time.  I think he got in trouble every time, too.

One time I was baby sitting and it was time for lunch.  I made their favorite lunch (at the time) a peanut butter sandwich cut in half diagonally and some taco chip (as they called them.  Corn chips to us.)  They also had a glass of milk.

“Uncle Joe!” they protested.  “There’s no cookies!”

“You can have the cookies after you finish your lunch,” I replied.

Nodding his head stoically, my nephew started munching away.  My niece ate one half of her sandwich and some chips, but wanted her cookies.

“Uncle Joe, can’t we have the cookies now?” she pleaded.

“You know the rule.  Not till you finish.”

With a merry twinkle in her eye, she jammed the entire half sandwich of peanut butter into her mouth.

I yelled her name and made her spit it out onto her plate, afraid of her choking on the sodden mass in her mouth.  “Stop crying,” I said.  “It’s okay.”

My nephew watched and said dismissively, “That was dumb.”  He was always ready to offer his opinion on the events of the day.

Shaking my head, I left her sobbing quietly while I got a plate of cookies ready for them.  As soon as she saw the cookies, her mood picked up.  I think she was mostly afraid I wouldn’t let them have cookies after her stunt.

Those two kids liked their sweets, but the thinks they loved were mostly savory or sour.  They couldn’t get enough fried chicken.  I once watched my nephew demolish ten chicken legs and still claim to be hungry.  Beef jerky was like candy to them.  They loved it in all its forms, but preferred it homemade.  But their favorite beyond all else were dill pickle spears.

I kinda had to agree with them there.  I love pickles, too.  Mostly dill, but I’ll eat others.  The only pickles I can’t stand are sweet pickles.  Grosses me out.  Them two, too.  Which leads me to my niece’s jalapenos.  I wasn’t there to enjoy this one act play, but I wish I had been.  I can see it in my mind’s eye in every detail.

My brother took his family out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Not only was the food spectacularly good, it was owned and operated by an old classmate of mine from high school.  It was a family restaurant with a comfy atmosphere.

My brother said they were sitting there and the waitress had brought them their drinks.

“You know those bowls of vegetables they put down?” he asked me.  I nodded.

It was a bowl of pickled vegetables, things like cauliflower and carrots and was wonderfully sour and tasty.

“It’s called giardiniera.  It’s good stuff.  They usually serve it hot, but it can be just sour or just sweet.”

“Whatever it is, they brought us two bowl and one of the bowls had jalapenos in it.”

I nodded.  Yep, that would be right.

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“We were eating them and the chips and salsa, when your niece grabbed hold of a jalapeno.”

“Ooops, how bad was it?”

My brother grinned.  “I grabbed her hand and made her stop.  I told her it wasn’t a dill pickle like she thought.  I told her it was a hot pepper and she wouldn’t like it.”

“But Dad,” she said, starting to tear up.  “I want it.”

“You can have it,” my brother replied.  “I just want you to understand that it’s a hot pepper not a dill pickle.  You might not like it.”

They went back and forth like this for a few minutes and my brother said our local sheriff was sitting at another table with a grin watching the whole thing.  The waitress had already left to get a glass of milk.  Several other people at nearby tables were watching and smiling.

“Did she eat it?” I asked.

“Well, not the whole thing.  She took one big bite, spit it out, and started rubbing her tongue and crying.  She tried to grab her water, but I told that wouldn’t help any.  The waitress brought the milk in a hurry and she drank that down to the last drop.”

“Did anyone laugh?”

“No, just her brother.  He got a glare from his mother and stopped pretty quick.”

Poor kid, she always had a mind of her own.  I wonder if she still likes hot peppers?

Enjoy

 

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2 Comments

  1. Oh my, how funny! I can just see her shocked face when she bit into the jalapeno. I think its very interesting how children decide what their favorite flavors are.

    My Japanese daughter in law had never seen nor tasted jalapenos when she came to the US. When our son told her it was spicy and to take a wee nibble only, she was a mite worried. She gamely took a tiny teeny bite and the heat just overwhelmed her causing her eyes and nose to run. Now when we eat nachos, she carefully looks over each bite before putting it in her mouth, no jalapenos for her!

    • It’s funny how tastes change over time. I grew up with the peppers and chilies and never ate them cuz they were too hot. Now I grow them, dry them, grind them, and put them in food as often as I can. But only as an enhancement, never to overpower. A couple of times I’ve cooked a roast of beef with just one half of a dried jalapeno, and it was almost too hot to eat. But so good!


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