Do as I say…

It’s guy night at the Woodlief house. Wife is gone, me and the boys are fending for ourselves. I’m making chili. Caleb stands beside me at the counter as I chop vegetables. He sees me pick up a fat jalapeno pepper.

“Ooo, Dad, don’t make it too spicy.”

I launch into a disquisition, sounding very much like Clark Griswold, about how to regulate the heat from a pepper by carving out the seeds. “You see son, it’s the seeds that carry the heat. So I’ll carve away the insides like this, and there you go. The flavor of the pepper without the burn. But don’t ever, ever, ever put your fingers in your eyes after you’ve been handling a jalapeno. Because that would be just plain foolish.”

“Okay Dad.”

All the vegetables and spices now added, I saunter to the bathroom to wash my face. And promptly put my fingers in my eyes. The pain, the pain, the godawful searing pain.

This is my life as a parent. Trying to remember what to warn them against while there’s still time, and forgetting to follow my own advice.


  1. Marc V

    I believe I heard it from Mexican food guru Bayless, where he claims the heat is actually in the “rib” part holding the seeds to the pepper wall. I have not been brave enough to test that out myself.

    Did you go with a “manly” chili of just meat/beans, or make it fancy with the mushrooms, corn or other vegetable matter? My sister puts corn in her chili and it is a revolting sight. I can see the desire to sneak veggies in for health reasons but it still ends up ruining the pot of chili. Cowboys didn’t even bother with tomato sauce. They just used the grease from the cooked cow bits and mixed it with chili powder to make the sauce.

Comments are closed.