wanted: a food taster

Readers of my blog may recall that I discovered periodic bouts of “stomach flu” or obstructed bowel (requiring hospitalization) were due to an allergic reaction to capsaicin, which is, in the form of red pepper, chilis, and bell peppers, in almost everything: canned, heat and serve, and restaurant fare.  When I restricted my diet, problem went away.

On Wednesday evening, I had dinner at a favorite Japanese-style diner, where I was “careful” to order my made-to-order bowl with the non-spicy sauce.  (I realized later that I watched the employee use the mixing spoon, that had been used previously with a dish made with “poki fire” sauce, mix my bowl.)   Just a tad of indigestion the following morning.  On Thursday however,  at lunch, I had a large bowl of vegetable soup from our work cafeteria.  As is my custom now,  I inspected it for any chunks of green pepper that might have been tossed in “vegetable” soup.  But I should have asked my friend the chef about it. I have learned that soup steeped with bell peppers can be as problematic as actually consuming them.

By evening,  I ate a small dinner at home because I was curiously not hungry.  I took an allergy pill just as a precaution. but it was too late to prevent symptoms.   By midnight and through the morning hours, I was definitely suffering the  technicolor consequences of a capsaicin allergy.   As my wife says, even running the shower doesn’t muffle me hovered over the toilet.

For the last several hours, after dozing most of Friday, I am vertical again.  But only just.   If there is anything darkly amusing about recovering from a food allergy,  I found that I remarked to my wife that at least, I wasn’t obsessing about work,  Then dreamed about work for several hours.  This morning,  I am thinking about the ghost in The Sixth Sense who was slowly poisoned until she died.  And how unpopular leaders in medieval times – and probably some today – employed food tasters to prevent them from being poisoned.  But I am cherished by my family, so this is definitely self-inflicted.   Be very particular when it is food that I have not prepared.

Or I could be smarter, like Comet.  He “knows” that the canned food he was eating with the dry caused him diarrhea and refused to eat it.   Dexter has no such hesitation so his very sensitive sniffer would be no use to me.

If I can only train Comet to sniff out capsaicin.



  1. I am similar to wheat. I craved spaghetti ohs…so I ate way more of them than was sensible especially after I knew the predicted blizzard was a non-event and we wouldn’t lose power or something. Guess who has hives, sore throat and an equally Technicolor response today to her own self-inflicted pain? I’d be your food taster, though. I am your opposite. I don’t perceive capsaicin and my family was genetically the same way. I’m not only not allergic to it, I can eat straight ghost pepper with no issue. I’d taste all your spicy foods…so long as you aren’t a huge wheat eater. I torture myself enough because wheat is delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is odd how we crave something that wars with our respective constitutions. My wife savors all the peppery foods for me. The spicier, the better, I can live vicariously through others. When my organs finally return to harmony, that is!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry you have to be allergic to something so just everywhere. I have a food allergy I’ve developed later in life and it’s a less ubiquitous ingredient but still, it pops the hell up in unexpected places. Not a fun experience at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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