Spicy Hands

As a father and “exchange” dad of 2 to 4 daughters (depending on how you want to count them—presently, there is a very strong case to be made for the 4), I don’t make it a habit of smacking their bottoms.  (The teenage years are challenging years as the “new” father/daughter dynamics emerge, but it certainly is not as often as it used to be.)  After some events of this weekend, I find out the kids (I am hoping it does not cross gender boundaries.) play a game called “hot hand”.  (Maybe “kids” is throwing the net out there too widely…it might just be my daughters or whatever other girls are inhabiting our house at the moment…)  Apparently, the winner in hot hand is the one who is capable of using their hands to smack some one in the rear and have in sting significantly.

The whole “hot hand” thing only came to my attention when I heard the girls talking about “spicy hands”.  Our Korean exchange student claims this is what they call someone who has the American equivalent  of a “hot hand”.  (After dinner last night, the 4 girls were in the family room together trying to come up with “girl” stuff to talk about.  Once they got started and spicy was mentioned, three or four more spicy body parts were mentioned including spicy foot, spicy elbow and I know I definitely heard “spicy toe”. )  It is worth mentioning at this point what “hot hand” meant in my youth.  A hot hand was the star basketball player who was having a difficult time missing the basket.  (Rarely me…although I am pretty good at killing flies. The key to killing flies with your hands is not swinging where they are at, it is swinging where they will be.  Flies typically spring backwards a little before taking off.  So, my fly killing success comes from clapping my hands about an inch above the surface they are sitting on.  I don’t always get them, but since I am such a good clapper and have my eyes clouded w/ fly blood, I often have a “hot hand” after either an attempt or a success.)  And, when boiled down, “hot hand” was just someone with a good streak of luck going.  Regardless, our Korean exchange student was going to get her definition of “spicy hand” broadened…..

(I am sorry this is another blog post that mentions carnitas.  They will not be the star; they are only a necessary evil to justify the “spice” for the broadened “spicy hand”.)

When we go to Sams and buy pork shoulder butt (it is the carnita meat of choice), it comes in a two pack.  With one of the butts being quickly spoken for, the second one is too expensive a cut of meat to sit too long in the frig.  So, we make another batch of carnitas and freeze it.  A key ingredient in our carnitas is the jalapenos.  Since our Chinese student cut the jalapenos last time, I felt it was fair for me to ask our Korean student.  (They already have both told me they will not cut onions, so I have to find something for them to do in the kitchen.)  Fortunately, she jumped right in.  There was 15 or so jalapenos, but I only showed her 6 of them before revealing the rest of them.  I showed her “my” technique of cutting off the ends before slitting them up the middle.  A spoon is used to clean out the seeds so the contact with the juices can be minimized.  It is not a completely pepper juice free experience, but it makes it pretty safe.

As she slogged her way through the peppers, she decided to try some cream cheese icing my daughter was mixing.  As she dipped her finger in the icing and licked her finger, she said, ” Cream cheese icing is hot.”  I let her know it was the pepper juice on her hand, but she complained no more and finished up all of the peppers.  She easily transitioned into cookie icer/decorator without making any more mention of the peppers. (At this point, I had chopped all of the jalapenos and onions up in the food processor.  The crockpot was set up for a long cooking on “low”.  As I went to bed, my brain was completely “spicy hand” free.

As everyone assembling in the kitchen to eat breakfast before church, I heard those fateful words, “I will never cut jalapenos again.  My hands were so spicy.  I touch my face and hands, and I could not sleep. I like to eat carnitas, but I cannot cut the peppers again.  I do not like spicy hands, Sam-I am.”

With the exception of the Dr. Seuss reference, this is pretty much all true.  I wanted to be a fiction writer once, but decided I did not have the imagination for it.  I have found a much happier marriage when my mind takes reality and warps or twists it into some sort of sausage.  It closely resembles the meat I started with but with a couple of extra spices and a casing that holds it all together.

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