Everybody has a few quirks. This was brought home to me last night at dinner. You see... I don't like to cook. But, I still cook. I like to think that I am a competent cook even though I don't usually take much pleasure in it. Last night I was cooking dinner for my family and my parents (who are visiting for the weekend). I was fixing something easy since time was running short... taco salad. You just brown meat, add seasonings, provide warmed refried beans, chips, cheese and salsa and ta da... dinner is ready! Everything was going well, when I noticed that we were a bit low on salsa. I like to make my life easier by just adding salsa to the meat so I don't have to add a bit of this spice and a bit of that spice. But, I knew that some of those present would like to add salsa to their salads once completed.
Side note: I have a bad habit for a cook. I dislike tasting the food I cook before I sit down at the table to eat it. I'm just not a taster. Usually this isn't a problem.
So, last night I decide to go ahead and add various spices instead of using the salsa. I go into the cupboard and find a bag that looks like chili powder. I bought the spice bulk at our local grocery store and duly noted the ID number so the cashier could type it in properly at check out. However, I didn't ever write the name of the spice on the little tag. I was going to go home and add it to my little spice jar. But, the spice jar had already been thrown out. So it was a mystery spice in the cupboard by this point. I opened the bag and carefully smelled it. It smelled like chili powder. I estimated that it was about a tablespoon worth. Remembering some of the chili powders we sometimes get at the store were a bit on the mild side, I poured the whole thing in. I then added a little cumin, garlic, salt, black pepper, and just a little vinegar. It was smelling lovely.
We served up dinner, said the prayer, and started to eat. I knew a mistake had been made with my first bite. My lips were tingling and my mouth was on fire. I barely had any meat in that bite. What could that mystery spice have been. By a process of elimination we figured out that I had added about a tablespoon of cayenne pepper to a pound of meat.
Fortunately, my husband and dad are fond of spicy foods and Mom and I are tolerant (especially when it so helpfully clears out our problematic sinuses). The kids were eating what they call kid foods and were spared the experience. This hasn't been the first time that I have over spiced something. I've made some extremely hot chilis by mistake. Oddly enough (or reasonably enough) my Mom has done the same thing on occasion and I did learn to cook from her. I usually trust my nose to warn me of a spicing problem, but that won't catch a too much spicy heat issue. Will I learn my lesson and start tasting foods before I set them on the table? Of course not. But, I do think that I will start labeling my bulk goods better.