If real Nigerians can handle their pepper, what does that make me?

Although I’m the eldest child in my family, I get no respect and I’m actually considered the wimp.

First off, I’m the shortest of the four of us. It’s so unfair that age and height aren’t directly correlated. I’m not the only eldest child who happens to be shorter than her siblings; I think it’s a deliberate thing, probably meant to keep us from being too full of ourselves: imagine how much bossier and in charge I would be if I was taller than those brothers of mine who drive me nuts, and if I was also stronger than them. It would also really be handy if the elder of my younger brothers couldn’t lift me off the ground. And my sister, two years younger than I, shouldn’t be allowed to be both taller than me and in the habit of wearing heels in my presence, should she? But she is and she does.

But the thing that makes me the butt of family jokes (aside from one of my dance moves that my siblings like to imitate, and not in a flattering way, might I add, or the fact that I’m the sibling most likely to cry at family birthday celebrations) is the fact that I can tolerate the least amount of pepper out of the six of us in my family. I can eat pepper; don’t get me wrong, and I can probably handle more pepper than most if not all my friends. I’ve only once told my mom that something she prepared was too peppery; that I could barely eat it. But more often than I’d like to admit, I do comment that something is peppery, most recently three days ago. Whenever I comment on the topic, my brothers call me oyinbo and my parents just laugh at me. In fact, in response to my most recent comment on the pepper in my dad’s obe efo (vegetable stew), my sister and mother laughed openly, saying that since I moved out, the most spice I had probably used in my cooking was black pepper. Oh, the mockery! I tried to defend myself, saying I also use dried chilli peppers, but I was drowned out by the laughter.

A recent experience with Thai food has me wondering if I’ve gone “soft(er)” with respect to tolerance to pepper. A new takeout Thai place opened near my work and you can order your meal in three levels of spiciness. I tried “hot” at another location some time back and could not even taste the rice since my tongue was completely tortured, so I downgraded to “medium”. But lately with “medium”, after I finish the meal I have a runny nose. I’m actually considering ordering “mild” next time, but I’m not sure I can call myself a Nigerian if I go to that level. So what is happening with me? Perhaps tolerance of “heat” declines with age?

Or, maybe Thai food rivals my parents’ cooking with respect to pepper level? Or (and I don’t want to even consider it): I’m becoming wimpier by the minute.

18 thoughts on “If real Nigerians can handle their pepper, what does that make me?

  1. GNG, I think your pepper level might be decreasing because you don't eat it everyday. Don't mind your famlily, you are even trying! In my house we sometimes make a seperate dish for some of my cousins as they can't even have a teensy weensy bit of spice in their food.

  2. Aww GNG this means you cant eat any of my cooking! me and pepper are best friends..lol! LIke Caramel said, it might be because you dont eat it everyday..:)

  3. Merry Christmas and a happy new year GNG!

    Some of those thai places are no joke though. I know I usually stick to medium at those places.

  4. oooh, that is not good. My pepper tolerance was solidified by my Ondo State aunties who would make me eat hot pepper and follow it with burning coca cola. Once you go there, there is no turning back =)

    Hope all is well with you. You were tagged in the SAY SOMETHING NICE MEME at my blog! Be sure to check it out. Merry Christmas.

  5. It's probably reduced cos you don't eat it everday, LOL. About not being the tallest, in my family, I'm also the smallest but i can lift everyone so no one fit make mouth, LOL.

    Compliments of the season dear.

  6. WHAT?????? I'm sorry but you have to turn in your Naija card…..u no fit chop wetin????? lol, not everyone can handle pepper and yes your pepper tolerance will decrease if you're not eating pepper all the time. I was miserable the first week I returned to Naija because everything in my house is cooked with PEPPER!!!

  7. You are not alone. I am also the shortest (although I'm not quite sure because Joy and I are essentially the same height…gotta measure again) and my Dad is the wimpiest when it comes to pepper. Think of the most mild food with pepper, and my dad can't take it. So, unless someone makes him turn in his Naija card, I think you're safe.

  8. lol i love spicy food o. Abeg it doesn't make you any less nigerian, some people can tolorate it (like 95% of nigerians) and some people can't. You just happen to be the 5%, no big deal jo..lol

    Merry Christmas :)

  9. I can't tolerate pepper in food at all. My nose ALWAYS runs. I just don't do pepper. I bet u r way better than me, so don't feel so bad.

    Merry Christmas.

  10. Nah mehn, don't mind them, you are definitely not alone. I wear the tag "Pepperless" with pride. I can manage some pepper but all that runny nose n sweating cos I'm eating is NOT the bidness.

    You're prob better than a lot of folks sef…I always do mild when I order.

    Have a Merry Christmas!!

  11. Its prolly cos you don't eat it everyday. I am thge first too and quite bossy! LOL but i am tall. thank God for that cos I hae the least amount of strength!

    Don't mind your folks jare.

  12. LOL @ you becoming wimpier by the minute. Most Nigerians can eat really spicy food, but a minority can't. I think I can handle fairly spicy things but some Indian curries scare me *shivers*

    Not to worry, we will still adopt you as a Nigerian even if you go completely mild :)

    Wish you a very Happy New Year in advance!

  13. an unreal Nigerian? lol…well, my tolerance level for pepper is quite low too, but from ur description, it sounds like I may still beat u @ a pepper tolerance competition…happy new yr GNG…

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