Red Hot Chilli Peppers

It’s got to the point where we could almost put chilli on our breakfast cereal. Jalapeño, Scotch bonnet, bird’s eye, habanero, chipotle, cayenne: all have become everyday objects in our home.

Our love affair with the chilli began in France. This is odd, because the French, on the whole, do not do spicy foods. ‘Are you trying to kill me?’ Henri howled, clutching his throat, when we put before him one day the mildest of all mild kormas.

But on a smallholding near us, a chilli enthusiast, Jean-Phillipe Turpin was busy. He grew mild chillies, medium-hot chillies, and chillies so hot they were off the Scoville scale. We came to call him ‘Mr. Chilli’.

Mr. Chilli at Mirepoix market.

He came to sell his wares every week in summer and autumn at two local markets. Fresh chillies, strings of dried chillies, powdered chillies, chilli plants. We became regular customers, as did other English, from far and wide. The French? Not so much.

Back in England, we still buy different chillies, every week. The dozens of varieties purveyed by Mr. Chilli rarely come our way. The ones we do have are everyday objects in our house. As are jars of spicy pastes and potions.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #111: Everyday Objects

45 thoughts on “Red Hot Chilli Peppers”

  1. Ah, I saw the word almost….so will it happen? I love chilli, but eat less these days….I used to tell people I was addicted to capsaicin.. And shocked an old boy in a restaurant in Romania when I calmly popped a large whole chilli in my mouth and munched it…while he was shaking his head in a vehement gesture of no! I think he thought this little English woman didn’t know what she was eating

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  2. Great idea, Margaret. I love that you had a “chili man” in France. I love the smoky heat of the Serrano chili, but I haven’t ventured into the very hot territory. I admire your fortitude!

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    1. So he’s still there! Wonderful! And has he seduced the French into sharing his obsession yet? If you ever chat to him, tell him his customers from LdO still think fondly of him.

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  3. Your post makes me feel so much better. We are avid spicy food eaters and always have an array of chillies to hand. However last night hubby announced, after polishing off a plate of reasonably fiery satay pork ribs, that it’s time we slowed up on the curry! I do think that a couple of days of boringly mild food should do the trick, don’t you?

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  4. Sorry I missed this one last week Margaret. I’m with you, I do love chilis of all kinds. My husband has begun to enjoy some mild ones but it’s taken me a while to get him there. Loved your images.

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  5. Yes I like chillies – they are widely enjoyed here in South Africa. I gather that what is considered a mild curry here is considered hot in many other places.
    However, I was not impressed when I tried chilli-flavoured dark chocolate. Have you tried that?

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  6. My sweetheart has taught me to like chillis. Before that I was strictly korma. The best oddities I’ve had were tabasco icecream and a chilli cocktail. The last was in a rather expensive American bar – I wanted to be sure of getting a kick for my money!

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    1. Both sound interesting – especially as I initially read the ice cream flavour as ‘tobacco’. Oh yes – you must get value for money in the kicks department.

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      1. Tobacco icecream made me laugh too. No. That would have no allure.

        Bear in mind our Lancashire watering hole would sell us a glass of wine and a pint of (microbrewery) dark ale for £5.50. Back in the days when we dared go in, that is. And when we were on the same continent.

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