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Saturday, October 1, 2011



You know how it is—you get into one of those moods to make something from scratch. It makes you feel like such a homemaker. Happened to me a lot [still does at times] especially in the late summer when friends gave me some hot peppers, banana peppers and tomatoes. Got a recipe for a salsa of sorts [wasn’t called it then] and had everything including onions.

I set in to make this salsa and was just chopping away at the banana and hot peppers, the tomatoes and the onions and feeling oh so great! Yes I had washed the peppers and had also used my hands to take out the seeds prior to all of this.  I then took all the ingredients and added vinegar and some spices; had about four quarts of this mixture. And I felt so good about myself as I put them in the refrigerator—it was such a sense of satisfaction.

This was in September when I did this and it was a Friday night. Every Friday night forever it seemed, I did my lesson plans for the week for I was a teacher. Dinner had already been served earlier, my sons were in bed and not sure what my then-husband was doing. Upstairs I went to work on my lesson plans and while sitting there I felt a horrific hot feeling on my neck. Touched it and that made it worse.

Thinking it was nothing, I went back to writing my lesson plans and then my upper lip felt hot—like really hot. By this time I was getting scared wondering what was going on with me. The hotness intensified on my neck and upper lip and then it went to my hands and arms. I felt like I was on fire! Rushed downstairs to find a box of soda and mixed it with cool water and applied it to the hot places. Didn’t help. And my hands were getting hotter and hotter. Tried cold water and that only made the pain worse! Screamed, hollered and woke everyone up! The pain was that bad.

By four in the morning, I had to call my doctor; explained what was going on with the “on fire” feelings on my back, arms, lip and hands—and yes I told him about the peppers. He told me that no one should ever touch the seeds with bare hands! How was I supposed to know I thought to myself? No one had told me that ever. But I had never asked either. He told me to apply Noxzema to the hot places and to coat my hands it in; he hung up and I ran for the jar of Noxzema!

I sat in a chair for hours just covered in Noxzema [a white cream in a jar] from my mouth to my neck to my arms and hands. The pain was horrific! Can’t remember how long it took for the pain to go away but it was days and not hours.

The next morning in the newspaper was an article about making what I described above. And right there in black and white it said: “Always wear gloves when seeding peppers.” Well, too little too late for me! I never ever touched any kind of pepper [except the normal green ones] ever without wearing gloves and still won’t to this day. If you have never attempted to make what I did in the recipe described above, please get some plastic gloves to wear—or you’ll wind up calling your doctor!! Those seeds burn like the dickens.

Sherry Hill

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