Welcome to my quotations about hot peppers, or chili peppers as some call them. Many of these are from a short story I read way back in high school English class, but I didn’t put together this page until the day I tried my first habanero — which numbed my throat but was a fun thing to try with friends. Living in Arizona, it’s a good part of the country to have opportunities to experience all sorts of hot and spicy delights. Please enjoy the fiery quotes!
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.
We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. ~June Carter Cash
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 September 20th [about habaneros
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.”
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
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”
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.
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.
Life is not like a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapeños. What you do today may burn your ass tomorrow. ~Author unknown
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.
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”
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”
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.