The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Hot Peppers
& Spicy Foods


Hot? Those things? They are for children. For nursing children. And furias are for growing boys. They'll wake you up all right, and put fire in your blood. But listen, my friend, I'm a hot-pepper man. And when I say hot-pepper man, I mean hot-pepper man. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"  [A little altered. Cordell Hoyle speaking. —tg]

For the true culinary thrill seeker, habaneros are the king of sting. ~“The Gardener’s Year: May,” Rodale’s Gardener to Gardener: Seed-Starting Primer & Almanac, Vicki Mattern, editor, 2001

The U.S. palate now understands spicy. ~Lynn Dornblaser, quoted in "Food Trends," White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, January 2006

They have hot peppers in Louisiana. Little red devils with fire in their skin and hell in their seeds. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"

This is the kind of plant that endears itself to a teenage boy. These weren't vegetables, they were weapons! And it was legal to grow them. ~James Gorman, "A Perk of Our Evolution: Pleasure in Pain of Chilies," New York Times, 2010  [of habaneros, a.k.a. congo peppers —tg]

Ghost peppers are sneaky mothers. There is a fifteen- or twenty-second delay before the burn kicks in — that's why they are called ghosts. ~Eddie Hernandez, "My Mex-American Kitchen: Cranking Up the Heat," Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen, 2018

Mention chili outside the Southwest and conjure up a painfully familiar comedy: an unsuspecting tourist bites into a murderous jalapeño concoction. His ears light up. And, as he strangles, hilarity convulses the ghouls who laid the trap. ~Lee Coe, "Chili Pepper: The Spice that Ate the East," in Arizona Highways, 1983,

No doubt there's been a "global warming" of culinary palates in the United States, in which foods and condiments are getting hotter and hotter. ~Adrian Miller, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, 2013

But they do not eat hot peppers in the United States. Here and there, yes. But hot peppers there are weak peppers here. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"  [Village of Feliz, Tabasco, México, "nine hundred miles from nowhere" —tg]

We don't like spicy food. Once we found red fang-shaped fruit among the cargo of a shipwreck. We ate it and regretted it loud and long! ~Isuna Hasekura, Spice & Wolf, Vol. 1, 2006, translated by Paul Starr

What is not to love about the hot and spicy? There is something alluring in the thrill of the spicy buzz, the zing that travels up and down your tongue, the tingling of the tastebuds when you eat hot and spicy food. ~Mike Hultquist & Patty Hultquist,, 2015

There were green infernos and green terrors, yellow jackets and yellow furies, red torrids and red frenzies. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"

As of today, the hottest chile on record is the Carolina Reaper. I have grown it as well, and let me tell you, if you bite into one, you need to start praying before you start eating. They take your breath away. You will be on fire, sweating, with tears running down your face. ~Eddie Hernandez, "My Mex-American Kitchen: Cranking Up the Heat," Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen, 2018

Spicy food lovers are pyro-gourmaniacs. ~Author unknown, c. 2006

Juliet England... runs the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company, a venerable family chili pepper factory, just down the road from San José de Tumacacori. It is hard to say which is the more irresistible siren — the haunting remains of the old Spanish mission or the chili showroom, the very aroma of which would glow in the dark. Here is the full orchestra of Mexican seasonings and sauces, and a few of their Anglo relations: cayenne pepper, Anaheim peppers, cartillas peppers, jalapeño peppers, cumin, oregano, red salsa, green salsa, jalapeño jelly, jalapeño mustard, and Mrs. Renfro's Hot Chow Chow. It is the best whiff in Arizona. ~Lawrence W. Cheek, "Mexican Cooking," in Arizona Highways, August 1986,

In New Mexico the green chile is more than a simple ingredient — it is a necessity... Everyone I've encountered in Albuquerque seems to have them in bulk stored in their freezer as if an impending green chile shortage is coming... I heard there is talk of reshooting all the episodes of Breaking Bad, but instead of meth Walter and Jesse sell green chiles. ~Jim Gaffigan, "Mexican Foodland," Food: A Love Story, 2014

Habaneros are pure heat. They are a small, orange lantern-shaped chile that should be handled with respect, if not downright suspicion. ~Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, & Helene Siegel, Mesa Mexicana: Bold Flavors from the Border, Coastal Mexico, and Beyond, 1994

I was looking forward to some real Capsicums, fresh from the bush and oozing their pungent piperine. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"  [a little altered —tg]

I'm sorry, was this chicken seasoned with molten lava? ~Psych, "Bollywood Homicide," 2009, written by Steve Franks & Anupam Nigam  [S4, E6, Shawn Spencer]

You know you're an Arizona native, when your lungs don't deflate when you bite a jalapeño pepper. ~Cappy Kirby, quoted in You Know You're an Arizona Native, When…, compiled by Don Dedera, 1993

We run crazy after things that are like the red peppers, — pretty outside, but hot as fire when we get to playing with them. Our lesson is right hard. But a punishment sin brings with it is remembered longer than a hundred warnings. God doesn't push us towards hot peppers — He lets us alone, but we are mighty apt to run to Him after we've got a fair taste. ~Marion Harland (Mary Virginia Terhune), Alone, 1857  [a little altered –tg]

My lips stung and the lining of my mouth was hot with quick and then prickling stings. I had taken two red frenzies, and without sweat, without the hard blowing of the breath. Then a red torrid. My lips had hardened to the sting, but my mouth was ridging inside. Then the tingle was in my throat and deep down. Now a greenish yellow fury. I felt the sweat ooze out on the back of my neck, down under my collar. I was hurting, the numbing burn of piperine, a crystalline alkaloid that tightens the tissues like wet rawhide. Each minute got longer. Next, a green buster. The heat seared down to my belly. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"  [a little altered —tg]

According to my mother, there pretty much wasn’t anything I wouldn’t eat as a child. Not just try, but eat... I was even inclined to dig into stuff she about which she expressed open disgust — lobster and other shellfish, and cheap Chinese food with pepper so hot it made your gums feel like a medieval dentist had been at them. ~Alice Domurat Dreger, "Falling In Love with Calvin Trillin's Wife,", 2012

The MOSQUITO... bites the 1st time as sharp and natural as red pepper does. ~Josh Billings

Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapeños. What you do today might burn your butt tomorrow. ~Larry the Cable Guy, unverified

I was warm inside from the beer and peppers, and felt chipper for the first time in weeks... ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"

Tucson had opened my eyes to the world and given me... a taste for the sensory extravagance of red hot chiles and five-alarm sunsets. ~Barbara Kingsolver, "Called Home," Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, 2007

Chipotles, the dried and smoked version of ripened jalapeños, taste like bacon in a chile. ~Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, & Helene Siegel, Mesa Mexicana: Bold Flavors from the Border, Coastal Mexico, and Beyond, 1994  [a little altered –tg]

I would think wolves would prefer spicy things. It's bears that crave sweets. ~Isuna Hasekura, Spice & Wolf, Vol. 1, 2006, translated by Paul Starr

Novice cooks should be forewarned. Chili can increase in strength under some conditions. A salsa mild in the evening may grow startling by morning, numbing by noon. ~Lee Coe, "Chili Pepper: The Spice that Ate the East," in Arizona Highways, 1983,

Hilario Villareal is the best pepper man in Feliz. He eats furias for breakfast. With beer. He grows his own peppers and has a secret. He wet-rots leaves for his plants and grows them on a south slope that is sheltered on three sides. And in the dry season he waters them from a bucket. I tell you to have respect for his peppers. His soil is very sour and his peppers are very hot. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"  [A little altered. Tio Felipe Ignacio de Fuestes speaking. —tg]

We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout... ~Billy Edd Wheeler & Jerry Leiber, "Jackson," 1963  [This song is most famous for its performance by Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash in 1967. —tg]

We like to cook with all heat levels, from the milder chili peppers with only the tiniest of heat to the crazy superhots that can turn a giant vat of chili or stew into a fiery inferno. ~Michael J. Hultquist & Patty Hultquist,, 2015

Peppers are an ancient food in the Americas, and the remains of wild peppers dating back to 7000 B.C. have been found in human coprolites — fossilized excrement — uncovered 150 miles south of Mexico City. ~Richard Schweid

Amomum melegueta!  I had never seen a whole one before. The spice trade calls them Guinea peppers. Such little nuggets launched armadas in the old days, sails from Spain and Portugal. Men died for those peppers as for gold and glory. They are the hottest things that grow and their seeds are praised as the grains of paradise. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"

Each year on January 16th, International Hot and Spicy Food Day celebrates all the delicious hot and spicy foods around the world... Try a spicy dish that you have never eaten before, or make a recipe with a spice you’ve never used.

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published 2008 Feb 29
revised 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019
last saved 2022 Sep 8