We’re turning up the heat again with multi-published Harlequin and Destiny Romance author, Emmie Dark. As a foodie Emmie leaves no stone unturned in her quest for the newest gastronomic tastes and culinary hotspots of Melbourne. Happily she likes my company as we chomp and sip our way around inner Melbourne talking writing, romance and food.
Emmie’s latest release from Destiny Romance is Spellbound a steamy erotic romance novella. I think the cover says it all!
SOME LIKE IT HOT
by Emmie Dark
I’d always thought that I could handle spicy food. Wasabi on my sashimi? Yes, please. A little fresh chilli sprinkled on top of my tom yum soup? Sure! Pizza with hot salami? Bring it on! And I’d always been a little disparaging of those people who couldn’t handle the heat—I was secretly proud to be made of tougher stuff.
That is, until I travelled to Malaysia a few years ago for work. I was running workshops for a group of locals there, and the first thing I learned is that morning tea is not a biscuit and a cup of tea. Nor is lunch a sandwich eaten while you work. In Malaysia—especially in Penang, so famous for its cuisine—food is something to stop for, to savour and appreciate.
Morning tea on my first day was hot food—a selection of noodles, soup, and some absolutely delicious deep-fried little morsels served with sweet chilli sauce.
One of the delegates asked me, “Do you like spicy food?”
“Sure do!” I confidently replied.
He dished me a small plate of noodles. Bringing a forkful of them to my mouth, I still can’t tell you what made me hesitate. But I paused.
“Just how spicy are they?” I asked, suddenly suspicious. Maybe it was something in the steam rising from them that gave it away—something already tickling my nose.
The woman next to me swallowed her mouthful. “Pretty mild,” she said with a shrug.
“Okay.” I munched on the whole forkful. The flavour was salty, with the freshness of coriander, and a good dose of chilli. Actually, I realised as I chewed, a lot of chilli. LOTS of chilli. A HUGE amount of chilli! With a heat that just seemed to grow and expand to fill my mouth, my throat, my whole head . . .
I coughed. Kind of choked. Managed to swallow. But swallowing the noodles did nothing to calm the raging fire in my mouth. The oil from the dish had coated every tooth, every part of my tongue, and I could hardly breathe.
Tears stung my eyes and I could feel myself break out in a sweat. “That’s mild?” I managed to say.
They laughed. And brought me water, bless them. And once I’d recovered my voice, we had a lively debate about what “spicy” actually meant. To them, the noodles were mild. For the rest of the week, I was their pet project. “Try this!” they’d encourage. “Tell us if you think it’s spicy!” I was a bit of a joke, actually, with my seeming inability to handle what they considered the mildest of spicy dishes.
Ever since, I’m not quite as boastful about my ability to handle hot food. I still love it, though. And I’m much more patient with those people who don’t like spice at all, even I do think they might be missing out.
Emmie’s first book with Destiny Romance, Spellbound, is out now. A steamy tale about love and magic gone wrong, it’s definitely one for lovers of hot spice!
Find out more about Emmie at http://www.emmiedark.com
Spellbound is available from: