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The Pak Attack

The other day I was round for lunch at Joel's house, and he'd kindly made a chicken noodle soup. After a hard morning's exfoliating with a cheese grater, a wholesome meaty broth was exactly what I needed. Little did I know that lurking below the surface of this innocent-looking broth was a deathly surprise, in the shape of PAK CHOI.

Oh yeah. Lethal Pak Choi. Whole leaves of the stuff, up to 12 inches long, at a temperature hotter than the sun. I don't know its specific heat capacity, but believe me, those fellows pack some serious joules per kilogram, per kelvin. When they hit the roof of your mouth, they burn, baby, BURN.

And it's not like I can splurge the monstrous leafy menace back into the bowl - I'm a polite chap. The only option is to take the heat, all 1000 degrees of it, in my mouth. It was horrific. It was agony. It decimated every bit of my mouth: I think even my teeth were blistering.

Once I'd got the infernal soup finished (with a cheery, if slightly floppy-lipped, "that was lovely, thanks!") the agony continued, for days. Every baguette I ate and every cup of tea I drank reminded me of the time that salad reduced me to tears. Never, never again.

Interestingly, I did some research on my new brassical nemesis, and the Chinese characters for Pak Choi are 白菜, which translate literally as "Cabbage of Exquisite Pain".