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One birthday, my DH rented me a ride in a gyro-copter, or some such thing. It sat two people, didn’t have doors, and the propeller on top ran from motion through the air rather than engine driven gears. It was light-weight and fast and the most thrilling ride I’d ever taken! We flew around the bird refuge areas of Utah Lake, and other places of wonder. I began to notice that every time we changed direction, the pilot banked left, giving himself the wide open view below—remember, no doors. I asked if we could bank right and he said, “Sure. Most people just don’t want to.” I absolutely loved it! There was nothing between me and the wet-lands far beneath but wide-open space and a seat-belt. I wanted to stay up all day flying right-handed circles and watching for geese and swans.

I tell this story to illustrate that I am an adventurous person at heart. I like trying new things. [See Staring Back at Sardines.] However, when it comes to spicy food, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being mild and 10 being fire-breathing dragon food, I’m a negative five. I stay away from Indian cuisine and Szechuan dishes. For me, it’s not how many jalapeños (considered by many as a mild pepper!) will I eat, it’s how many banana peppers can I endure? Habeneros and Serranos never get near my mouth.

I was given a bunch of jalapeños one fall, and unsure what to do with them, I pickled them. They are in my pantry over a year later, and I haven’t yet found a good reason to open a jar up. Maybe I’ll host a party and serve hoagies in the backyard. Every weekend. Or give them away as door-prizes.

My neighbor gave me a string of chili peppers a couple of years ago that hung from my pantry door looking pretty until I felt bad that I never used them and stashed them away to suppress my guilt.

And yet, I keep planting peppers. At least the sweet variety. I love red bell peppers—I can’t grow enough of these. I roast them in my toaster oven (a grill would be fantastic) and then when they are covered in charred black spots, I toss them in a paper sack and let them cool. Then I peel them (it washes right off), cut them open, scoop out the insides, and slice them into julienne strips before freezing them. Roasted red peppers are YUMMY in almost everything!

I also grow and chop up the harvest of green bell peppers to freeze for convenience when a recipe calls for them. I never have enough of those.

And my daughter-in-law has gotten me to eat a (to her mild, to me intensely hot) variety of pepper. I’m not sure what they are—something between a hot banana pepper and an Anaheim. I slice them up in thin circles (wear gloves!!!) and pickle them. They add a nice zip to sandwiches and the red, orange and yellow colors are beautiful.

So this spring, while planning my garden, I have left plenty of room for peppers—the wimpy varieties though. And the 6-pack of Mariachi peppers I got for mother’s day? ? ? I will be harvesting them early while “the flavor is delicate.” And next summer we will serve sandwiches on the patio. To large groups.

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