Neutralizing Capsaicin and Paying Homage to Tobias Funke

On Saturday evening I decided to make a light, summery recipe for dinner. I had some veggie burgers on hand so I flipped through my veggie burger cookbook (doesn’t everyone have one of those?), and found a recipe for “fire and ice pasta salad”. Little did I know how much fire that was going to entail.

I was so good at preparing my jalapeno pepper, honest. I didn’t touch any seeds, but some of the oil must have lingered on the cutting board. As I finished washing the dishes, I knew the pads of the fingers on my right hand had been compromised. Damnit, capsaicin, I have dinner to finish making!

Quickly googling how to take care of it as my fingers became hotter and hotter, I was dismayed. No rubbing alcohol in the house. No milk. No lemon juice. No vodka. Nothing. Soymilk for 30 minutes didn’t do the trick, so I sat through dinner with my hand on fire.

The pasta salad was pretty good, actually, I just had to eat it with an uncomfortable burning sensation going through my hand.

Going through my supplies one more time, it dawned on me that the closest thing to alcohol was Listerine. That should work, right?

I whipped out another prep dish and filled it with some Listerine. Technically it was generic Target brand, but it still had the same active ingredients.

Fifteen minutes later? Burn. Gone.

Except my fingers were blue. No amount of scrubbing, dish soap, hand soap, hot water or cold water would get the blue off. I panicked. I didn’t want to look like Tobias Funke. I felt like banging my head against the counter ala “stupid, George Michael, you’re so stupid!”

What if my fingers stay like this forever?!?

“Don’t be ridiculous, they won’t,” was the response from the beau that had to deal with me whining and wincing for the last hour.

They didn’t. But for a good 18 hours my fingers were ready to audition for the Blue Man Group. And my nail beds are still a bit blue two days later. Perhaps the entire nails are blue, I don’t know, I have polish on.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you tried so hard not to get burned with jalapeno oil but you do, don’t resort to Listerine. It works, but it will make you blue. Grab some vodka or lemon juice instead.


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