British radiologist Dr. Ian Rothwell recently consumed a bowl of curry –named “The Widower” – containing 20 Naga Infinity chilis, among the hottest peppers on the face of the planet. You’ll notice I said “consumed.” That’s because it is the opinion of this humble writer that eating is a thing one does for sustenance, of to find joy among friends, or sometimes, in our darkest hours, in the depths of sorrow and self-loathing. (I’m looking at you, pint of pistachio Haagen Dazs. I’m looking at you and I’m already getting a shame tummy-ache.) If you’re only eating something for the potential it has to cause you pain, that susbstance is by defintion no longer food. You’re not eating food anymore. You’re doing a thing that involves putting something into your body through your mouth-hole, and I’ll meet you more than half way and say it is impressive, if not wise. But it is not eating.
Before you shout me down for an idiot, I’d ask you, dear reader, to consider some of the facts concerning Rothwell’s dish:
It was prepared in the restaurant by cooks wearing googles and face masks. Speaking as someone who cooks regularly and well, I assure you — this is not the attire of a cook, unless the thing they are cooking is meth (Fun Fact: meth is also not food). It is the apparel sported by organic chemists and other people who spend their days working with hazardous compounds that would kill you if you gave them even the briefest chance. Not food.
Rothwell was required to sign a release form. When is the last time you had to sign a release before you ate food? How about never, because eating food is a thing you do to stay alive, not because it might kill you. Not food.
Rothwell began hallucinating from the pain midway through his meal. Naturally, this terrified his wife and the owner of the restaurant because hallucinating is not something a person does when they are alright. It is something done on a spirit quest, a whole lot of drugs, or your deathbed — not at dinner. Not food.
You have a meal — you do not survive it. As to the argument that Rothwell was living up to some challenge — nope. Being something very important to keeping us alive, eating food is very, very easy to do. It is by it’s nature not challenging. No one would have been cheering this guy if he entered the restaurant and said “Hey, guys, look how much heroin I can do!” while his wife and dealer looked on in mortal terror. There is no certificate of achievement for spraying yourself in the face with a can of mace — the only reasonable behavioral analog for this culinary trainwreck — because that’s not a challenge you overcame. It’s just a poor decision that you made and got through. Not food.
What about the things that weren’t peppers? Certainly they count as food! Wrong. Any element of food that became implicated in this travesty ceased to be food as it is commonly understood. If I balanced a football on a golf tee and swung a baseball bat at it, would you say to yourself “There is a man who is doing sports?” I hope you would not, because you would be wrong. True, I would be participating in an activity that uses the same raw materials involved in sports. I would even be doing something rather impressive, as balancing a football on a golf tee would be really hard. But there is no sports there, because what I’m doing is ludicrous and makes no sense. Not food.
So while we congratulate Dr. Rothwell on consuming a thing — as we’ve said, it is a most impressive feat, as it would be if he had consumed a bag of wood screws or a telephone book. We politely decline, however, to call that thing food.
(via Daily Mail)
- This curry is no more food than a bowl of cockroaches is food
- Mealworms might be food one day, a thought that fills us with terror
- Raw fish, though? Delicious food. Gollum had that about right.