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Old 10-19-2018, 12:17 PM
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A Friend Has Challenged Me To Eat A Raw Carolina Reaper - Surely I Can Game This And Do It Safely?

As you can see by reading the thread title, a friend is offering me a very generous reward* if I'll eat one of his Carolina Reaper peppers raw. I figure that, using the collective resources of the Straight Dope's medicine, chemistry, and botany communities, there has to be a way that I can game this to my advantage and do it safely**.

Here's what I'm thinking: spray Chloraseptic throat spray all over every square micrometer of my mouth and even as far down my throat as I can comfortably get it. Then, cut the pepper in half, coat it with KY Jelly, and down each half in one go. I figure between the numbing agent in my mouth and the lubricant on the pepper, I should be able to get it down with minimal capsaicin getting a chance to bind to my mucus membranes. Then, wash it all down with a shot of Vodka - capsaicin being akin to an oil, and alcohol being a solvent.

Am I on the right track here? Or is my plan a one-way ticket to pain and misery?

*My friend is the Dungeon Master, and he's offering me unlimited Fire Breath potions for the remainder of my character's life.

** "Safely" here being relative, as capsaicin won't kill me, but it will likely make me wish I was dead. So here "safely" means "in a way that won't make me wish I was dead."

Last edited by HeyHomie; 10-19-2018 at 12:18 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-19-2018, 12:23 PM
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Since this must remain speculative without making the experiment, let's move this to IMHO.

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Old 10-19-2018, 12:23 PM
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I'm thinking that getting it in is only half the battle. I'll bet that getting it back out is gonna be quite the experience.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:27 PM
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I'm thinking that getting it in is only half the battle. I'll bet that getting it back out is gonna be quite the experience.
But that too shall pass?
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:29 PM
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I don't know if your strategy will work for ingesting the peppers, but don't forget the effects at the other end. Not all the capsaicin will be digested, so you may wish you were dead the next day.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:31 PM
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Do the conditions of the challenge allow you to modify the pepper in any way you want so long as it is still raw? If so, I can think of things more effective than coating it in KY jelly.

Seems like dissolving the capsaicin with alcohol seems like a bad call. You don't want to spread it out more, do you? Instead, I think there are chemical reactions you can cause with acids, sugars, and detergents that help, which is why sour cream is so popular (acidic and detergent, apparently).
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:34 PM
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I came across this recently... The title tells you most of what you need to know. It might be a fluke - but still a painful possible consequence!
An unusual cause of thunderclap headache after eating the hottest pepper in the world – “The Carolina Reaper”
http://casereports.bmj.com/content/2...17-224085.full

Last edited by Snowcarpet; 10-19-2018 at 12:35 PM. Reason: ete title of article
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:40 PM
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No, NO!

The game on that Firesign album is "Beat the Reaper," not "Eat the Reaper"!

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Old 10-19-2018, 12:42 PM
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Do the conditions of the challenge allow you to modify the pepper in any way you want so long as it is still raw? If so, I can think of things more effective than coating it in KY jelly.
You have my attention.

And no, AFAIK as long as it's raw, DM doesn't care.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:42 PM
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I've heard that it's possible to overload your TRPV1 receptor so they just stop working temporarily, at which point you can eat hot peppers with impunity; however, trying to google it is just getting me medical journal articles about capsaicin as an analgesic. If you're feeling experimental, you could start eating the hottest pepper you can eat without wanting to die and see if it stops tasting hot in a reasonable amount of time. If so, repeat just before the Carolina Reaper attempt.

Last edited by Hapax Legomenon; 10-19-2018 at 12:43 PM.
  #11  
Old 10-19-2018, 12:46 PM
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** "Safely" here being relative, as capsaicin won't kill me, but it will likely make me wish I was dead. So here "safely" means "in a way that won't make me wish I was dead."
It's gonna hurt. Period. I doubt there is much you can do to avoid it.

As you noted capsaicin won't hurt you (in amounts you will find in a pepper). Indeed, while it will feel like your mouth is melting, capsaicin actually does no damage whatsoever. It simply triggers those pain receptors so you think something awful is happening.

You can go on YouTube and find plenty of videos of people doing this. Almost always they are very unhappy shortly after eating the pepper.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:47 PM
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A few years ago a local brewery sponsored an event at a bar. Along with their usual beers, they'd brought a ghost-pepper stout, which they offered tastes of, maybe 1/4 of a shot glass. Most people smelled it, coughed, then threw it out. I drank mine. It was unpleasant. Then I went back for more. I ended up drinking several shot glasses of the beer. I had vile diarrhea for 48 hours.

In St Martin, I was at Yvette's, a small, family owned place in the French Quarter. An American tourist questioned a waiter about the little dish of peppers locals were given, but tourists were not. She insisted on trying it. After a small taste she began coughing, eventually collapsing to the floor and struggling a bit to breath. It took a while, but she was eventually OK. After they left, the waiter told me they go through that once or twice a month.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:52 PM
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Does it have to be whole? Because my way of gaming the challenge would be to slice the pepper into quarters, stick each piece into a big spoonful of yogurt and swallow whole. The dairy removes/negates any of the capsaicin on the way down. Then stock up on Tucks/Preparation H suppositories for the next day.
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:52 PM
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Do the conditions of the challenge allow you to modify the pepper in any way you want so long as it is still raw? If so, I can think of things more effective than coating it in KY jelly.
Yeah, are you allowed to just chemically destroy the whole pepper? (Something like, extreme blending, then adding hydrogen peroxide until you've got very-small-organic-molecule soup). It's not treated with heat, so arguably not 'cooked' and therefore still 'raw'. [The argument may or may not work, but worth a try right?]
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:53 PM
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As you noted capsaicin won't hurt you (in amounts you will find in a pepper). Indeed, while it will feel like your mouth is melting, capsaicin actually does no damage whatsoever. It simply triggers those pain receptors so you think something awful is happening.
That's not a safe assumption. There's no direct harm, but the acute stress can lead to indirect health effects.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:03 PM
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That's not a safe assumption. There's no direct harm, but the acute stress can lead to indirect health effects.
Yes, it will stress the person doing it as a knock-on effect. If that person is susceptible to stress-related problems that could be an issue.

Also, possibly some digestive problems...not sure.

My main point is capsaicin itself does not do physical damage to you. It just feels like it is. Indirect problems are something else.

IANADoctor. So understand this is internet advice and not expert advice. You listen to it at your own risk.
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Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 10-19-2018 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:09 PM
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It's not treated with heat, so arguably not 'cooked' and therefore still 'raw'. [The argument may or may not work, but worth a try right?]
A friend of mine threw a whole ghost pepper in a big pot of chili. Thing cooked for hours. Didn't matter. Whole big pot of chili was unpleasantly hot (to say the least...it was ruined really for all but the most diehard of people who can tolerate that much heat...I like spicy and tolerate it more than most people I know and this was way past what I could deal with).

A little goes a long way.
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Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 10-19-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:14 PM
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There is a documentary on YouTube that demonstrates how to handle this.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:19 PM
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Eat it with a Bluepoint oyster. It's a cult thing.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:32 PM
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From what I've seen on YT, getting it in is the easy part. The peppers don't just burn coming out your asshole. It burns as it slowly moves throughout your entire digestive tract. The stomach, the intestines... all the way through you will be in pain.

Just YT: "Reaper challenge + emergency room". And THEN decide if you want to do this.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:33 PM
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Is it just me or does someone who would like to see you suffer sound like not much of a friend?
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:42 PM
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Is it just me or does someone who would like to see you suffer sound like not much of a friend?
My friends and I, when at a bar, will usually bet a shot of Malort that the *loser* has to drink. Not because we hate each other but so the bet has some consequence without being too much.

Not sure you can get Malort outside of Chicago though. It has a taste something like bug spray. Nasty stuff but at least it is not (literally) painful.

Some fan created taglines for Malort:

- Malort, kick your mouth in the balls!
- Malort, when you need to unfriend someone IN PERSON.
- Malort, tonight's the night you fight your dad.
- Malort, the Champagne of pain.
- Malort, turning taste-buds into taste-foes for generations.
- Drink Malort, it's easier than telling people you have nothing to live for.
- Malort, what soap washes its mouth out with.
- Malort, these pants aren't going to sh** themselves.

Yes, we are all still friends but we are very careful about betting now.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:43 PM
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I've done this, although with a Trinidad Scorpion. At this level, it doesn't make a difference which one holds the world's hottest pepper crown, as they're all insanely hot, and my scorpion might be hotter than your reaper (or vice versa.)

If you're used to hot peppers like habaneros and hotter, then the only advice I have for you is don't do it on an empty stomach like I did. I mention my story here, but I'll cut and paste it for you in a spoiler box so as not to take up too much thread space:

SPOILER:

The trinidad scorpions I grew come with an amusing anecdote. I had been nursing the damned things, growing them from seed, and was so excited when one summer morning I went out into the backyward and finally saw one of the peppers had ripened. I just needed to have a taste right then and there, on an empty stomach. So I pick one off the plant. It's a tiny pepper, maybe the size of a dime or so. I carefully bite the tip. I wait. I only notice a mild warmth. I carefully take another bite. Hot, I feel something around habanero level, but nothing unbearable. So I just eat the rest. Ah...ok...now I feel a good bit of sharp, intense heat, but nothing a habanero eater is not used to. It's just that for about half the size the Scorpion packed as much or just a little more punch than a standard habanero.

Then I feel the pepper making its way down my esophagus and drawing a line of heat from my throat to my empty stomach. My stomach is not happy and begins to cramp a little. I drive my wife to the subway and remark that perhaps what I had done was not such a good idea. About a half hour later, my stomach is upset, so I eat some bread and drink some milk, and all is good.

Another half or or so later, my stomach acts up again and feels like it's full of angry fire ants. There is this concentrated feeling of pain and warmth emanating from my stomach. I run upstairs to bed and lie down. The pain got so bad that I couldn't even use the laptop to distract me. All I could do is lie on my back, eyes closed, listening to NPR, and wondering whether a trip to the ER was in order. Maybe this was some sort of violent allergic reaction? I get a little light headed and nauseated. I realize that I need to vomit and begin to wonder whether that's a good idea or whether it's just going to be fire all the way back up. Eventually, I can't hold it in anymore, so I run to the toilet and vomit. Thankfully, it wasn't bad coming back up. I lay my belly on the tile floor to cool it off. After about five minutes, I find the energy to get back up and haul myself back into bed. This time, the fire ant feeling comes back, and I begin to worry, but it subsides after about a half hour. Lesson learned. No ultrahots on a an empty stomach from now on.

This is the only time I've ever vomited from eating a hot pepper, and no other pepper has given me this reaction. That said, I blame it on eating it plain on an empty stomach, as I've had the Scorpion peppers many times since without incident or any of the same sensations. I just find their flavor (or at least the ones I grew) to be insipid and chemically.


So the moral of the story: don't eat it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Bad things are likely to happen.

As for stuff on the other end? I had no effect that I remember. Peppers have long not affected me in that way, though.

If you can do a raw habanero, I think you can do a raw reaper, if you want to. The actual sting of it goes away quickly, in my experience, like ten minutes. But if you're not used to peppers in this level, do be careful.
  #24  
Old 10-19-2018, 01:50 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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My friends and I, when at a bar, will usually bet a shot of Malort that the *loser* has to drink. Not because we hate each other but so the bet has some consequence without being too much.
So what if your friends are like me, who unironically actually like Malort? I introduced the stuff to my Buffalo-born wife about twelve years ago, just before really hit the hipster mainstream, simply as an old-man Chicago drink. I was just kind of introducing her to some of the lore of the city. I wait in eager anticipation as she throws a shot back. Nothing. No reaction. Just a "hmm...not that bad." And it wasn't even a purposefully restrained response. She really did not mind it in the least bit.

Quote:
Not sure you can get Malort outside of Chicago though. It has a taste something like bug spray. Nasty stuff but at least it is not (literally) painful. .
There's actually craft distillery versions of malort out there, too. Pretty sure I've seen one made by a NY distillery years ago. Right now, Jeppson's malort is being made in Florida, I believe, but I think it's almost heavily biased towards the Chicago-area market. And I read a blurb within the last few weeks that they're talking about coming back to Chicago.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:57 PM
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You may get it past your mouth without incident, but if you're like this guy, you'll soon be in such pain that you feel compelled to visit the emergency room. Not sure if you'll wish you were dead, but you may want to ask the creator of that video if that's how he felt.

A reaper challenge gone wrong. Once girl screams in agony, later reporting that she thought she was going to die; the other girl vomits blood (sign of a Mallory-Weiss tear in the esophagus from extremely violent vomiting). Even if you protect your mouth, my guess is you won't be able to stop your stomach from rejecting its contents, especially if you're chasing it with large volumes of liquid.

Bottom line, eating a Carolina Reaper pepper seems like an acutely bad idea, sure to cause severe pain and likely to cause physical injury.

What is the monetary value of the payout that's being offered? And what is your financial status that brings you to consider accepting his challenge?

Last edited by Machine Elf; 10-19-2018 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:04 PM
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Warning - distasteful

Personally I avoid these challenges - but here's two stories for those who relish them.

1. A stockbroker acquaintance of mine was challenged to fit a hamburger in his mouth whole.
He sort of managed it - and of course when it finally came out it was covered with his saliva.
Then he challenged someone else to eat it.

2. Another challenge was to fit a pool ball in their mouth.
It finally went in - but they couldn't get it out without removing an entire row of teeth.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:06 PM
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Oh PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make and post a video if you decide to take the challenge.

I used to manage a bar/cafe where we had a "Ghost Pepper Wing" challenge. The challenge could only be done on the patio, with a trash can right next to you. 95% of ALL contestants used the trashcan. There was ONE and only ONE guy who did the challenge a few times and nailed it. I got to now him well. He stated that he was totally blind to the heat. He also stated that his wife would not kiss him for at least 24-48 hours after each challenge.

Good Luck....Post Video!
  #28  
Old 10-19-2018, 02:12 PM
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Yes, it will stress the person doing it as a knock-on effect. If that person is susceptible to stress-related problems that could be an issue.
So....bring a "emotional support animal" along while he eats it (the pepper...not the emotional support animal)?

Last edited by msmith537; 10-19-2018 at 02:12 PM.
  #29  
Old 10-19-2018, 02:18 PM
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So what if your friends are like me, who unironically actually like Malort? I introduced the stuff to my Buffalo-born wife about twelve years ago, just before really hit the hipster mainstream, simply as an old-man Chicago drink. I was just kind of introducing her to some of the lore of the city. I wait in eager anticipation as she throws a shot back. Nothing. No reaction. Just a "hmm...not that bad." And it wasn't even a purposefully restrained response. She really did not mind it in the least bit.
Clearly some people do like it. IIRC Malort used to have a little thing hanging around the neck of the bottle that proudly claimed 49 of 50 people who try Malort never try it again. So, in theory, 1-in-50 people actually like the stuff which means there are somewhere around 50,000 people in Chicago alone who like it.

And if it was clear a friend liked the stuff obviously we'd have to substitute something he didn't like.

I hope it does come back to Chicago.

And FTR I am not a Millennial (Gen-X).
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Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 10-19-2018 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:19 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Clearly some people do like it. IIRC Malort used to have a little thing hanging around the neck of the bottle that proudly claimed 49 of 50 people who try Malort never try it again. So, in theory, 1-in-50 people actually like the stuff which means there are somewhere around 50,000 people in Chicago alone who like it.

And FTR I am not a Millennial (Gen-X).
Gen X here, too, though I’m missing the reference I guess.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:33 PM
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Gen X here, too, though I’m missing the reference I guess.
Just noting I am not part of the hipster crowd you mentioned.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:40 PM
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I think your best bet is to find an edible dish soap and take a swig with it.

I'd test it out with a habanero or something first.

Vomiting dish soap is going to be better than tearing your esophagus trying to vomit out an oil that has bonded to your stomach lining.

Get sciency. Mix a few soaps with blended habanero in small dishes and taste each to see which did the best job breaking up the capsaicin.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 10-19-2018 at 02:42 PM.
  #33  
Old 10-19-2018, 02:45 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Just noting I am not part of the hipster crowd you mentioned.
Ah. I didn’t mean “your friends” as in you personally. Irony I find more a Gen X trait, anyway.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:47 PM
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Eat it with a Bluepoint oyster. It's a cult thing.
Eat the Reaper, Beat the Reaper, Don't Fear the Reaper...what's next in this sequence?
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:48 PM
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Just noting I am not part of the hipster crowd you mentioned.
These aren't my people
these aren't my friends
  #36  
Old 10-19-2018, 02:50 PM
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Are you allowed to cut up the pepper? Most people have been told that "the seeds are the seat of the heat." But that's not really true. The worst of it is in the white "membrane" (probably not the right word) that surrounds the seed and grows along the ribs of the pepper. So if you can scrape that out you'll have an easier time of it. Still not easy, mind you, just easier.

If you have a small enough pepper that you can just swallow it whole, that's your goal. But you need to prepare your stomach to digest as much of it as possible. Happily, 151 rum is an excellent choice. Also a big bowl of oatmeal to dilute the stuff that doesn't break down as it moves through your system. And a few Tums chewed up and swallowed with whole milk beforehand will protect your tooth enamel from any ensuing barf.

If you have to chew it then be ready with some cold, strong alcohol to rinse your mouth with. Rinse twice with that and gargle with whipping cream.

Have a bucket and a stack of towels ready for the inevitable barf and drool. If your hair is long consider cutting it or at least tying it back.

Preparation "H" is, as it says, preparatory. Use it before you need it.

Here is some advice from the true experts:

https://firstwefeast.com/features/20...om-spicy-foods
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Clearly some people do like it. IIRC Malort used to have a little thing hanging around the neck of the bottle that proudly claimed 49 of 50 people who try Malort never try it again. So, in theory, 1-in-50 people actually like the stuff which means there are somewhere around 50,000 people in Chicago alone who like it.

And if it was clear a friend liked the stuff obviously we'd have to substitute something he didn't like.

I hope it does come back to Chicago.

And FTR I am not a Millennial (Gen-X).
Your prayers are answered
http://fortune.com/2018/10/05/malort...go-distillery/
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:02 PM
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Bon Appetite magazine says soaking a chopped hab in vodka for 2 hours will render it quite mild. You wouldn't want to drink the vodka though (well some of you crazies would).
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:04 PM
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zoid zoid is online now
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Found the article
https://www.bonappetit.com/story/how...5itao1vleYnSN0
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:29 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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If you can get hold of some Cytotec (misoprostol) beforehand, that might be a good thing. It was included in a combination NSAID I took a few years back - to protect the stomach against the effects of the NSAID (diclofenac a.k.a. Voltaren, I believe).

The side effect, for me, was farts-from-hell. You did not want to be a small room with me.

Of course, it's prescription only, which would require a compliant MD to write a scrip for a couple doses.

I wonder: would antacids be of any help with this sort of thing? People with GERD are advised to avoid spicy foods as those can trigger acid production - so while the acid reducers won't do anything the napalm itself, it might reduce your body's unfriendly response.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:34 PM
filmore filmore is offline
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I don't think you should use alcohol. That typically does not subdue the heat. Milk products are what typically kill the heat. Maybe drink some whole milk or keifer before eating the pepper to coat everything up to your stomach. But then after your stomach, it might not help.

I don't think you should do this at all. It sounds like you're not accustomed to eating very hot foods, so this is going to be very shocking to your system. I don't think you can just have it pass through without effect. Before you even attempt this, you should work up through a few of the lower peppers to see how you tolerate them. Try your techniques on them to see what works best. Jalapenos would probably be okay to start with. If you can get up to habanero peppers, then maybe you have a chance. But whatever you do, don't just start with the Reaper. If you can't handle the weaker peppers, then the Reaper could have health risks.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
I think your best bet is to find an edible dish soap and take a swig with it.

You shop at entirely different stores than I do!


I don't have tolerance for much more than jalapeños so I have to ask you if you really, really think hours of agony is worth the payoff? If you really, really do, then I wish you louch and look forward to hearing your results.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
I think your best bet is to find an edible dish soap...

You shop at entirely different stores than I do!


I don't have tolerance for much more than jalapeños so I have to ask you if you really, really think hours of agony is worth the payoff? If you really, really do, then I wish you louch and look forward to hearing your results.
  #44  
Old 10-19-2018, 03:58 PM
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Only suggestion I can think of is lots of milk and sour cream to help neutralize it. But again, as the others have said, even if it getting past your mouth isn't so tough, it's going to hurt really bad as it progresses throughout your whole digestive system.


That friend better be offering you a LOT of money, and you get that contract in writing.
  #45  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:11 PM
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I don't think you should do this at all...
OP has not mentioned anything about his general health, but possible health consequences shouldn't be taken lightly if he has high blood pressure or heart issues, for example. It's not doing the direct damage it feels like its doing, but the stress response is real. Not to get too hyperbolic, but expertly conducted waterboarding does no direct physiological damage either!
  #46  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:15 PM
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I mean, I wish you luck. Stupid auto-correct.
  #47  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:22 PM
Merneith Merneith is offline
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*My friend is the Dungeon Master, and he's offering me unlimited Fire Breath potions for the remainder of my character's life.
You mean the Dungeon Master who can personally choose to stock your adventures with Fire immune monsters for the rest of your natural existence?

I think you're gaming the wrong thing.
  #48  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:41 PM
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You mean the Dungeon Master who can personally choose to stock your adventures with Fire immune monsters for the rest of your natural existence?

I think you're gaming the wrong thing.
Beat me to it. Your DM...who has complete control over how long your character continues to exist.
  #49  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:44 PM
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Johanna Johanna is offline
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Capsaicin plus alcohol multiplies the mouth pain severalfold. There's a reason beer instead of wine is recommended for accompanying spicy Mexican and Indian dishes. Yogurt, butter, and whole milk are the best antidotes.

If you get a walloping dose past your mouth very quickly, prepare for your stomach to unleash hiccups of doom within a minute or two.
  #50  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:55 PM
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Why do people grow these things? Sounds like they're just too hot to use in cooking.
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