Straight shooters of the world, Rejoice! The days of not showering for 72 hours to get that elusive adrenaline rush are over. With any luck, the thrill of the century awaits right in your very own kitchen without that embarrassing side effect of stinking your date out of the car.
My 18 month old daughter has been excessively clingy lately and won't let me stray more than an inch from her side so I had her sitting on the kitchen counter while I prepared dinner tonight. Being the curious monkey that she is, Pixie went straight for the spice rack and asked for help to open the jars. What the heck, why not? I opened the dill weed and put it under her nose to smell. She was unimpressed. Wanting to wow her with the aromatic wonders of the world, I opened the rosemary jar for her to smell. That got a little smile. She reached for another. Red Pepper. I opened the bottle and held it a cautious distance from her nose not wanting to cauterize her inexperienced nostrils. But before I could stop her, she grabbed the bottle and tipped a few fiery flakes into her mouth.
I could only stare with horror. I was sure she would either explode or implode and it wouldn't be pretty. The bottle fell from her hands, her face went blank and her tounge slowly sagged from the corner of her mouth. Then my darling angel baby starting laughing like a maniac and rubbing her mouth furiously inside and out with her fists. I snapped out of my shock and gave her an enormous glass of water which she eagerly drank. Then she pointed to the jar of red pepper and enthusiastically made her ASL sign for more. I sniffed the jar to verify that it was as spicy as I had remembered and was overpowered by the vengeful aroma. But Pixie was digging it. Huh. In the next few minutes I scoured my cabinets trying to find all my biggest baddest spices, sure that I had something nasty enough to wipe that grin off her face. Each one she expertly sniffed and gave hearty approval of with screaming laughter and running eyes. Relax, I didn't let her eat anything else.
Here's the official summary of SmellFest 2006:
Red Pepper: The smell will char your nostrils like the perfect s'mores marshmallow but resist licking it unless you've got a fire hose close at hand.
Whole Black Peppercorns: You can take one deep breath just fine. Try taking two in a row and you're in BIG trouble.
Rosemary Flakes: We found this to be a nice palate cleanser.
Allspice: This is the bunny slope version of sensory experience. Sweet, easy, boring.
Lemon Pepper: Like a whole generation of lemons died in your nose. Impossible not to go cross eyed.
Fajita Seasoning: Surprisingly tame. Disappointing. Which Senator should I complain to about this?
Chives: Dry and dusty field smell. I think mine are over 10 years old so maybe it's not their fault.
Cayenne Pepper: Ivan the Terrible of the spice rack. If you inhale to vigorously and get some of this fine power up your nose, you'll be hating life for a good hour. Or in Pixie's case, laughing like loon. This is our top pick for Hard Core Smells.
Garlic Powder: Again, disappointingly tame. Vampires are wusses.
Parsley: Here we had a surprise. On the inhale, it's blah. But the "aftersmell" is like Old MacDonald's farm the morning after the cows' slumber party. Disgustingly sensational.
Ground Mustard: The "huh?" of the night. Absolutely no smell at all. If there is such a thing as a black hole for smell, it's ground mustard. I had to taste it to make sure that it hadn't been replaced with yellow talc. Big mistake. My tounge is still throbbing.
The rest of the spices merit no comment. We'll be sticking to the hard stuff. I'm not going to raise no namby-pamby basil sniffing kid. She's cayenne or she's dead to me.
So next time you're sitting at home on a Friday night feeling sorry for yourself because all your "cool" friends are out getting smashed and driving irresponsibly, head for your spice cabinet and create some excitement of your own. But please remember to sniff responsibly. And for heaven's sake, don't eat the mustard powder.