Thomas: Looking forward to flavorful heat

Living in the southwest or, more specifically, New Mexico or, as I like to call it, home has made me, like many others, addicted to hot food.

Now when I say hot I don't mean hot as in ouch that burned me. I mean oh dear God someone get me some iced tea or milk, my mouth is on fire.

It's no surprise to me that when I go out to eat my friends or myself and family are reaching for the hot sauce.

Eggs are not eggs unless you add the green chili or the Tabasco. An omelet, well, isn't an omelet until you pile on the salsa.

Some might say, Thomas your last name is Garcia, you're supposed to like hot and spicy foods. To which I would reply "have you met my friend Johnny Sanchez?"

For those of you how don't know, Johnny doesn't eat hot food. In fact, if Johnny asks me if is hot and I say it was mild, chances are Johnny wont eat it. But that is another story.

My love for the flavorful hotness has resulted in me trying just about every hot food from chili to hot wings.

Now, I'll admit like many other food dare devils, enjoying the heat has resulted in some adverse effects.

Though I am compelled to carry one, always in the search of that next spicy meal. In fact, I plan on growing some Ghost Chili's, which my friend Andy Ricketson gave me for Christmas.

What pray tell is a Ghost Chili you ask? Well the Bhut Jolokia is a hybrid chili pepper cultivated in India. The pepper rates up to 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale, which is a measurement of the spicy heat of chili peppers.

For example a jalapeno ranges from 3,500 to 8,000 and a habanero is 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale.

That's right the chili I am about to grow is near the top at 855,000 to 1,463,700, which means I'll be praying for ice cream at some point in the night.

I was excited because this was the pinnacle of heat, the hottest I could go and live to tell about it, so I thought.

The Ghost Pepper was dethroned and I didn't even know about it. In February 2012, the New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper institute identified the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga as the hottest pepper available commercially.

The pepper is cultivated from the district of Moruga on the Trinidad and Tobago island chain in the Caribbean.

It ranks from 1.5 million to over 2 million on the Scoville scale, which means it would probably be like sticking a red-hot fireplace poker in your mouth.

I know, what you're thinking, "are you mad?" "Two million, you'll boil your insides!" Trust me, I'm thinking the same things.

Though I can't help but wonder, to imagine what it must feel like, does it have a wonderful flavor? See it's not just about the heat. It's the flavor of the chili that drives me. Sure it can be hot, but heat alone doesn't cut it for me.

I want it to be so hot it hurts but so flavorful I can't stop eating it. Sort of a food catch-22, if you know what I mean.

Well, I guess I have little choice but to grow the Ghost Chili and use it as a practice for the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga.

Once I have grown these chilies, I will be looking for someone to take on a spicy food challenge with me.

I won't eat the pepper plain. I will instead make some enchiladas or tamales with this ghost chili and maybe we can do something for charity.

I can take the heat. The question is can you?

Thomas Garcia writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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