…piled with handfuls of dried chili and fresh-cut swatches of wild Nootka rose, heavy with ripening hips.
Because of this sentence, I had to burn rose hips and a ghost chili by candle flame and I almost DIED. Why? Because my word slaves wanted to know what it smelled like and I couldn’t just make it up. Actually, I could have (and usually do), but I had the materials on hand, so I went ahead with my ritual sacrifice (the sacrifice? My throat and lungs).
Here be the rose hips and the chili:
Now note that this isn’t just any chili. This is a ghost chili, also known at the Bhut Jolokia, also known as the hottest pepper in existence (except a new hybrid, apparently…so, the hottest, un-genetically mutilated pepper in existence?). It also happened to be the only dried chili I had on hand. So obviously, it had to burn. (The rose hips I had were from the late fall, dried extras from the rose hip tart I’d made at Thanksgiving)
So, first, I burned a rose hip. This went smoothly, and the hip glowed like a red, candle-lit lantern (as you can see).
And then, I burnt the ghost chili.
So, lovely–fire, smoke, pyromania, yay! But, a few words of advice:
DO NOT INHALE THE SMOKE OF THE BHUT JOLOKIA. It’s a little like swallowing molten iron filings and thumb tacks and scorching ash all at once.
I blame my word slave’s curiosity. But apparently curiosity is no long suicidal–it’s homicidal instead.
And so, now the bit about the burning hips and chilis reads like this:
Both were piled with handfuls of dried chili and fresh-cut swatches of wild Nootka rose, heavy with ripening hips. He coughed as he sucked in smoke through his nose; it was like inhaling dried, charred tomatoes and hot, spiced ashes, fine as dust. The scent was thick as smoking meat.