My father fell in love with Cajun cuisine during a business trip to New Orleans when I was about 10. Despite the sweat pouring from his forehead and the tears streaming down his cheeks, he enjoyed every bite of the spicy dishes he was treated to at the business luncheons and dinners. When he stepped off the flight home, his checked baggage was filled with Cajun spice mixes, which instantly converted me as well, despite the shedding of similar tears while eating.
Last night I attempted to recreate a Jambalaya dish for myself and my boyfriend. As I've witnessed the boyfriend eating Jalapeno peppers like candy, I decided this dish needed to be authentically spicy. So I added a quarter-cup of Rooster sauce - that amazing bright-red red pepper sauce you can find on the table or counter at most Asian restaurants.
The dish cooked well, and an enticing scent filled the whole apartment. I took a bite - and the same tears started pouring down my cheeks.
The boyfriend, who loved the dish, told me that a tablespoon would probably have made a dish sufficiently spicy for both of us.
My lesson: when cooking spicy dishes, being thrifty about the spice really does go a long way!