Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe: Tear gas

I assume most of you don't know how to make tear gas out of a few basic kitchen ingredients so that will be our lesson today.

Here is what you need.

Crushed chili flakes........................you know the ones you put on your pizza?
Some fresh, sliced chilis like jalapenos, serrano or any fresh chili will do
A bit of oil

Put a pan on high heat and let it get smoking hot.  When I say hot, I mean HOT!!
Add your chili flakes and some sliced chilis then add just a little bit of oil.  It is important you don't put too much oil or this won't work.  Once you add the oil it will smoke like crazy and anyone within a close distance will be gagging and coughing. 

Before I proceed let me tell you life in a kitchen is full of practical jokes.  People are always messing around with each other.  In some places I have worked it was so bad that I was afraid to go home sometimes because I knew some smart ass was going to do something to my locker, tool box, station or whatever.  Of course, they had to worry about what I was going to do as well.

I first learned this trick in 1997 when I was working at a Spanish restaurant.  One of the Spanish guys I worked with taught me.  What we used to do is just make a very little then put the pan in front of someone's face so they start gagging.  If you only do a little bit it isn't that bad.

Well, me being me I figured if a little bit did the trick then a lot will be even better.  It was about 6:00pm, right as dinner service was starting.  I took a large pan and left it on a high, open flame for like 30 minutes.  It got hot to the point where the bottom was starting to warp and the handle was beginning to glow red at the point of attachment to the pan.  I remember thinking I was going to get that sucker hot as hell.

So the pan is hot as hell and I put a huge handful of those dried chili flakes in there along with about six sliced up serrano chilis.  I then put a bit of oil and that thing smoked like nothing I have ever seen.  Smoke came out of that pan the way a forest fire smokes.  That "culinary tear gas" spread through a kitchen that was about 20 feet by 30 feet in size within about 30 seconds. I had the everyone in the kitchen gagging and coughing and their eyes watering. Once I added the oil I thought, "oh shit, this is going to be bad" and I bolted out of the kitchen leaving the smoking pan on the fire for someone else to deal with.

To help you understand how strong this was, only a little bit will have you coughing an gagging if you inhale it and I had put about 20 times as much this time.  It was so bad that everyone had to leave the kitchen. Trust me, this stuff is just like tear gas.

The problem was that wasn't the worst of it.  This restaurant had an open kitchen so some of the guests started gagging and coughing as well and this stuff permeated the air in the entire restaurant. We couldn't cook orders for the guests because nobody could work in the kitchen until that shit dissipated. We couldn't go back into the kitchen for at least ten minutes. The restaurant manager had to give the guests some kind of lame excuse to explain the delay in their food and what the hell that stuff was in the air.  He certainly couldn't tell them that one of the kitchen guys has a horrible sense of timing when it comes to kitchen jokes.  All the kitchen staff was laughing their asses off.   That stuff was lingering for the rest of the night.  Coughs and gagging provided the soundtrack in the kitchen for the rest of the night as every minute or so someone would cough just like hearing horns in traffic.

Looking back I really don't know why I didn't get fired.  The chef was really pissed off.  Oh yeah, I remember why I didn't get fired, because the chef had no balls.  For the rest of the night I just kept my head down while I worked, looking over at my colleagues, laughing under my breath like a school student who has been scolded by the teacher,  giggling quietly with his classmates.

So now you know how to make tear gas from just a few kitchen ingredients.

Enjoy and don't inhale when you make this


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