Monday, April 5, 2010

Burning Similarities

What do March Madness watchers in Chicago and the army of India have in common? Read on for the hot answer.

At Jake Melnick's sports bar, where hoops fans gather in the Windy City, the food of choice is a basket of spicy buffalo wings. At Melnick's, they're sauced with the bhut jolokia (aka ghost chili), which the Guinness Book of Records certified as the hottest pepper on earth. You have to sign a waiver before Melnick's will serve you the nuclear wings. And they arrive alongside a bell - you ring it for a shot of cooling milk, in case the pepper incapacitates your vocal chords.

In northeastern India, where the chili grows, locals have long used it to repel elephants. The Indian army recently announced it would put the pepper in hand grenades to fight terrorists. And, of course, folks use it to spice up their curries.

For reference, the bhut jolokia is 200 times hotter than a jalapeno. Medicinal bonus: some studies say eating super-hot chilis reduces hemorrhoids.

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